Friday, June 22, 2007

Education: F

There is a shocking story in the Telegraph today.
A quarter of teenagers are leaving school with practically nothing to show for 11 years of compulsory education, a report discloses today.

Last year, about 147,000 pupils failed to get any GCSEs higher than a grade D. This included 28,000 - almost one in 20 - who failed to gain a qualification of any kind.

What the fuck? 147,000 children were unable to get a C or above in even one GCSE. Not even one. Some of my readers will have taken O Levels and will be unable to appreciate just how incredibly easy GCSEs were, even when I took mine in 1992 and 1993.

My youngest brother is still at school, and took his GCSEs in 2006 and they have become even easier, even more woolly. The Combined Sciences course, in particular, is destroying achievement and understanding in these vital fields.

When I moved on to Chemistry A Level, the first thing that I was told was that I should "forget everything that you learned at GCSE: it is so simplified that it is wrong." Today's exams are even more imprecise, putting emphasis on political opinion rather than scientific accuracy, as this open letter from a Physics teacher testifies.

James Bartholomew comments on this appalling fucking failure.
But this is truly important and should be stuck on the computer screens of every education journalist: 147,000 children each year fail to get a single grade C or above in their GCSEs.

It is shocking. It is a dreadful failure of state education. It should be a scandal which reverberates year after year, as the scandal of NHS waiting lists used to do. I do not blame the present Labour government in particular for this - though it has probably made its contribution to the lower of achievement. It is the fault of having education supplied by a state monopoly. State monopolies tend to be incompetent. They tend to put in the wrong incentives for many of those involved including parents and children as well as heads, teachers and the vast, uncounted army of non-teachers employed in education by central government, quangos and local authorities.

Anyone who cares about education in general and particularly the life chances of those in the lowest quarter of society, should be demanding the abolition of state education as we know it. It condemns thousands of children to illiteracy and makes them more likely to become alienated delinquents as they are forced to stay in education despite having lost all interest in it.

I cannot stress enough how angry this makes me. As James points out, the failure to educate our children is a life-long failure; it ruins lives, destroys ambition and keeps the most vulnerable in the gutter. And the proposal that children should stay in school, to be not educated until they are 18, is an absolute fucking scandal.

If NuLabour should be ashamed of one thing only, then their acceleration of the dumbing down of education should be a thought that makes every MP deeply ashamed. With any luck, they will be so mortified that they will all hang themselves tonight, but I fear—alas!—that it will not happen.

I am so rampagingly livid that I cannot even be bothered to swear with my usual fluidity so I shall quote from an earlier post.
It is wrong and it is indecent to play politics with children's lives, for that is what you do when you remove the opportunity of a good education [...] more children will fail to be well-educated; more children will leave school without basic, necessary skills; more children will be condemned to dead-end jobs or a life on benefits; more childrens' lives will be ruined and the underclass, those trapped in poverty and hopelessness, will continue to grow.

And all to appease a bunch of bitter, avaricious, superannuated Champagne socialists whose sole solution to the problems that they themselves have engendered is to ruin the lives of yet more innocent people.

But politicians love examinations and qualifications because, you see, exams are easy to manipulate; whether the children are learning anything useful is irrelevent to politicians. As long as they can point to the exam statistics and show that the targets have been improved, who the fuck cares if people are leaving with no actual knowledge? Why should the politicians give a fuck? And the Education Secretary couldn't care less; once the blighters leave school they are no longer his responsibility: they become the Work and Pensions Secretary's problem, or the Home Secretary's problem. Fuck, what a bunch of corrupt, irresponsible cunts we are ruled by; what a gaggle of venal, incompetent arseholes.

Politicians: go. Now. Hang yourselves before the sun goes down, you prating fucking shithawks, you scumbag bastards. You have destroyed and blighted, irrevocably, many thousands of young lives and those chains of responsibility will, I sincerely hope, weigh heavily upon your souls. You are despicable fucktards and I loathe each and every one of you.

8 comments:

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Spot on DK. I've commented on Graham Jones's comments about this. At least we have the internet where the "uneducated" can catch up.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Where's Bob B with his George Orwell quote when you need him?

Sir Henry Morgan said...

In 1996, just for something to do (I have no television, and didn't then have a computer) I took three GCSEs - Physics, Maths, Biology, one evening class each per week. I attended about half the classes, did the homework, but did no studying at all.

The courses were all aimed at the "Intermediate" level, which means the aim was to get a grade C, and that is the level at which they were taught.

I asked to be put in for the "Higher" exam regardless of the level the course was taught to. Got two As and a B. These exams were far too ridiculously easy.I left school at 15 with no qualifications (never sat any exams - enlisted at 15) back in the 1960s.

I don't think the GCSE deserves the status of "examination" or "qualification". I could have passed those GCSEs when I was 11 (I used to do a lot of my own reading).

I also think it is a deliberate dumbing down of large sections of the population; to be precise, the deliberate dumbing down of poor people. Makes them easier to gull.

When someone pisses down your neck and tells you it's raining, you know damn well you're having your neck pissed down. Today's youngsters leaving school believe the raining story. I think that's what it's really about - because they don't know jack shit they believe anything they're told. Like "mass immigration enriches our society", "Islam is a religion of peace", for examples.

UKIP Youth Council said...

The real obstacle to providing a decent education for children has been state intervention in the form of the absolutely ludicrous National Curriculum.
I speak from personal experience, my mother teachers Key Stage 1 & is forever being bogged down by paperwork & an unrealistic emphasis on tangential approaches towards learning.
Because of a handful of New Labourites personal grievances against selective schools we're left with a completely screwed up attitude towards education in which competitiveness and aptitude are discouraged and mediocrity is celebrated.

UKIP Youth Council said...

Oh dear, my mother wouldn't be pleased with some of those typing errors...

Fidothedog said...

Well said DK, I recently spent some time helping out a friend who works in a collage dealing with the EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance) payments.

The number of students who are unable to even fill in a basic timesheet, something they have to do to each week in order to get the EMA payment is staggering.

A chat with many of the tutors also showed a large number who have been pushed onto EMA, yet lack even the basic skills to complete the coursework.

As for the exams being easier, well I don't know about that. My days of exams are long in the past, but it would not suprise me in the least to find that was indeed the case.

Grey said...

Thanks for linking to my site. I've set up a petition with the government over this that you can sign: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/physicsedu/

flashgordonnz said...

A backlash is looming, but what of the lives fucked-up in the meantime?