Sunday, August 09, 2009

Quote of the Day...

... comes from Miss Snuffleupagus, who has been on a fact-finding trip to India and, inevitably, has been comparing the life and aspirations of the children there with those of the "students" here.
And therein lies the devastating irony: the welfare state does save millions from a life of financial poverty, but in doing so, it necessarily subjects people to a life devoid of value.

Snuffy's India posts are all worth reading, as they point out—extraordinarily starkly—the difference between pecuniary and moral poverty.
  1. Aberration
    My heart sinks. I want to disappear under my chair in embarrassment. Not all education in Britain is like this! I want to shout. Not all of us are morons! Not all of our children waste their precious learning time recording with their phones (a skill they all know backwards) and then posting evidence of their wasted lives on a social networking site on which they all spend several hours everyday. And most importantly, not all of us teachers believe in this stupidity.

  2. Are We To Blame?
    All I’m thinking is, something doesn’t quite fit here. I mean, I know what Indian kids are like in England. And so do all my fellow teachers, but somehow for the simplicity of today’s argument, they’ve conveniently forgotten what they know to be FACT. And then I also know, as do all my colleagues, that all of the Indians we’ve met over the last few days, in shops, at organized events, in schools, have been remarkably polite and well-brought up. What this man is saying, simply doesn’t make sense.

  3. Being Brainwashed
    Because this is precisely the nonsense that is shoved down our throats in British schools everyday. Why do our children misbehave? Because they are poor. Why do we have chaos in our classrooms? Because our teachers are not good enough. This is the mantra. This is what we are constantly told. And only teachers who are brave enough will question it.

  4. The Necessity Of Poverty
    Without poverty, real poverty, there can be no fear, no climb, no fight for survival. And without that, there can be no appreciation. The question is which is better? A country with starving uneducated children who cannot make a living and others who are given the opportunity to make that living, or a country where everyone is able to make a living, but few, if any, really live?

  5. Government Schools
    The man with the two sons at university in the UK pipes up.

    "Look, why would any critically-minded person want to work for the government unless they had to? It is the state! This means that everything has to be uniform across the country. All teachers must teach the same things in the same way. Mrs Green wants her freedom."

  6. Having A Heart Of Stone
    As an Indian man told me today, when the rich man looks at the poor man, presumes he is unhappy in his poverty and cries for him, all he is doing is revealing his own unhappiness as he is in fact crying for himself.

  7. Good vs. Evil
    For the first time my intellectual capacities are stretched by the curiosity of children in a school. In England, I have to think all of the time, but it is about how to overcome bad behaviour, how to engage children in lessons, how to inpsire other teachers, how to reject government policy, how to keep our school afloat. The children in England never make me use my brain through their curiosity to learn.

  8. The Privilege Of Poverty
    I feel sorry for these boys. I feel sorry for them because they likely want to be footballers when they grow up. Their goals in life are likely to be utterly empty: to be rich, to have lots of gorgeous girlfriends, to be famous and to drive a very expensive car. I feel sorry for them because words like 'values', 'self-respect' and 'kindness' live in a foreign land, in a place they have never known.

  9. A Rose By Any Other Name
    Isn't it funny that in a school where children are not only in control of their learning, but are desperate to learn, that they are called children, but in UK schools, where chaos reigns, where children utterly reject the privilege of having an education, we insist on calling them students?

One of the things that parents used to say was that we didn't realise how lucky we are in this country: it is true—we are lucky to be born into such a wealthy society. But all too many people take that luck for granted, and refuse to capitalise on it by actually, personally making an effort to make things even better—both for themselves and for others.

To a very great extent, this is down to the evil machinations of the politicos who now control such large swathes of our lives. The state does not provide us "cradle to grave" care, but "cradle to grave" oppression.

Nowhere is this more marketly evil than in the utter destruction of our education system. How dare any bastard politico wank on about how wonderful our education system is when a fifth of our pupils leave school—after nearly 12 years of formal state education—being unable to read or write?

How dare they harp on about the ever-increasing grades when we know—and they know—that children are leaving school more poorly educated than at any time in the last century? How dare they try to use the Charity Commission to destroy the last bastion of decent education in this country—to sacrifice the private schools on the altar of socialist dogma? How very dare they?

Schooling should not be about grades, or about politicos' egos: it should not be an achievement which some disgusting little cunt like Ed Balls can hang his tattered reputation off. It is about the children—about preparing them for life and giving them the ability to learn and the knowledge to know where to start.

All that we are equipping a huge number of these children for is a life of mental confusion and moral famine.

Those bastards in Westminster have the ruin of generations on their consciences—I hope that it is a weight that they can bear.

34 comments:

The Filthy Smoker said...

Schooling should not be about grades

It won't be about grades at all, if the Dark Knight gets his way. It will be about class:

Lord Mandelson to favour poor pupils

Lord Mandelson is drawing up plans to overhaul university entry that could see applicants from poor families awarded a two-grade “head start” over better-off candidates.

One of the effects would be to “bump out” many middle-class candidates at high-performing independent and grammar schools from popular courses at leading universities.

Mandelson, the first secretary of state, has told his officials to report back to him on schemes run by Leeds University and two London medical schools that give lower A-level offers to candidates from disadvantaged families.

He sees such changes not as positive discrimination but as a policy at the heart of Labour’s drive to improve social mobility in Britain.

Anonymous said...

Any university teacher - particularly in the Russell Group - can tell you that educational standards have collapsed over the last decade. A student entering university today is a different animal from a atudent who entered as recently as 1999.

Proof of this can be found in the numbers of Russell Group universities, the so-called elite of British higher education, who have to create remedial reading and writing programmes for freshers. Even DK's alma mater, Edinburgh, has not escaped this blight.

Undergraduates are now attending university where they are taught things that should have been taught as school. The Master's degree is now covering work that was undergraduate material ten years ago. The PhD is swiftly going the American route of being an idiot-centric exercisein hand-holding that practically cannot be failed so long as you obey the instructions given by your supervisor and examiners.

But the issue must be viewed in a holistic fashion: it is not simply the welfare state qua welfare state that has caused this; it is also Labour's hostility to merit, the government's desire that children who are brought up on benefits should never be able to leave benefits, that they should be born into a dependence they never leave. Labour fears opportunity. Labour fears meritocracy. Labour fears that some kid born to a single mother in Liverpool or Glasgow or the East End of London could one day attend a good school, get a good education and make something of himself. Why does Labour fear this? Because the ideology of class remains central to Labour's worldview even now and they cannot abide the thought that someone born to the underclass should ever leave it or even aspire to leave it.

Labour: a place for everyone and everyone in their place.

Anonymous said...

Life is an, "educashun".
You learn from those who came before.
Then you maybe find an improvement .
Human knowledge and progress ,(now a dirty word),is by nature cumulative.
Morons do not understand this.
As for "Balls",moron by name moron by nature.
A balls up.
I'm sure I could find a translation in human lingueistics where Balsh's translates into ,"moron".
Educashun, yeh.
Spelhinge 'n' that.
Skills are earned not given.
LOL

Pat said...

I hope it is a weight that crushes them.

Think This said...

"Apathy their stepping stone
So unfeeling
Hidden deep animosity
So deceiving
Through your eyes their light burns
Hoping to find
Inquisition sinking you
With prying minds

The ultimate in vanity
Exploiting their supremacy
I can't believe the things you say
I can't believe
I can't believe the price you pay
Nothing can save you"

Anonymous said...

"Those bastards in Westminster have the ruin of generations on their consciences—I hope that it is a weight that they can bear."

Like Pat I hope it's a weight they cannot bear...

Z.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for bringing Miss Snuffle-whateveritis to my attention - Blimey, I think I'm falling in love!

Anonymous said...

Once again, the Devil is right.

And expresses it well.

Aided by Miss Snuffles, who is/does both.

vervet said...

Thank you for introducing me to this blog - Ms. Snuffleupagus talks more sense than I have read in a very long time.

JonnyN said...

To the Anonymous chap above who mentions meritocracy. I don't think Labour are particularly averse to meritocracy. After all, what they seek is a levelling of standards and opportunity (usually it turns out that this levelling is downwards).

But whether Labour is pro-meritocracy or not, the real problem is that they are profoundly anti-pluralistic. They refuse to accept that it is legitimate for other institutions in society (e.g. Universities) to have independence in pursuing goals that may not be the goals of the ruling elite.

From within a university I can say that some people find the attitude of the government to us insulting; after all by claiming the right to dictate our admissions on moral grounds they are attacking the morality of our current admissions policy (and so claiming that we, as people, are immoral).

Sadly, too many academics have accepted the governments right to dictate the goals which non-state organizations should follow. The outrage which there should be just isn't there.

Elby the Beserk said...

What's the problem? They are all twice as likely now to get first class degree as they were twenty years ago. So what if they are illiterate in every sense of the word.

My ex, clearing up her late Mum's bits and bobs, came across some of her 'o' level papers, from the mid-60s. Showed them to our children, themselves at 'O' level age from 1989 to 1997; they all said that they were way beyond what they had to learn for their GCSE equivalents.

We're fucked. This will take generations to fix. My proposal for starting the education revolution? Take Ed Balls out, tie him to stake, and shoot him; he will not be able to do any more damage, at least.

bewick said...

Elby and others
So so right. I'm so old that my O levels were in 1960 and I know exactly what you are saying. I though, from a poor background, won a place in Grammar school (and even a free public school scholarship which I rejected). That ladder has been well and truly pulled up.
My nephew graduated in about 1995 and became a 2ndary school maths teacher.I remember him telling me in about 2001 that the GCSE maths papers were of a far lower standard even than those he had to sit only 11 years earlier. What happened in the meantime? Labour happened. Miss snufflepagus reminds me a little of my A level botany teacher. When we took him to task for covering items not in the syllabus he gave us all a severe dressing down. HIS job, he said, was to educate, impart knowledge,and create a thirst for learning and NOT just to make us pass exams.Well said that man as I eventually realised.
I must say that in my consultancy role I have met many graduates, with apparently good degrees, who were both thick and arrogant. The world, they reckoned,owed them a living. They were superconfident but not very bright.I even had to show one how to work out percentages!

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

When I did my Process Engineering degree back in ‘85, they had started to remove some of the complex mathematical content from some of the courses under the banner of “modernisation”.

True, some of the older maths was fairly arcane but it missed the point: it is the mindset of understanding, application, knowledge and pattern recognition that was important.

Some of the modern content was fairly banal and unchallenging although seemed more relevant because of the familiarity with more modern processing plants for instance. In hindsight, this was no more relevant than modern day GCSE questions that talk about global warming or any other subject given popularity in modern parlance.

However, what was frightening to see was the contrast to past papers written in the 70’s to the hideously dumb downed rubbish of the 90’s. Forget the O/A/GCSE debacle, this was an engineering degree.

Anonymous said...

So the libertarians are now in favour (at least theoretically) of reducing Britain's inner city estates to the standards of third world slums (in the interests of people living there of course ho ho)?

You dumb fucking wingnut fruitloop arseholes are the thickest, least clued up, most vile specimins of life on the planet - you don't have a fucking clue about anything. Trust me - Norwich North will be highlight of your political careers you thick, clueless cunts.

David Davis (Libertarian Alliance) said...

The disgusting little c***s like "Ed" "Balls" have, as I keep on keeping on saying, done this thing to our children on purpose.

They hate Western liberal culture, historiography and civilisation,and they want it dead: really, really dead. And they are especially vindictive and inimucal to Britain, the country that shouted which way the Door Out Of Hell was, and Pointed To It, yelling.

Many of the slaves did get out.

But most of our own are left behind as the door is slammed shut, irrevocably, by the GramscoFabianNazis.

Meanwhile, the narcotic slime of "popular culture" and "New Britain" goos and slides oevr their stilling forms....

JuliaM said...

"..dumb fucking wingnut fruitloop arseholes.."

..would be a great name for a band!

Anonymous said...

Interestingly research from the University of Warwick suggests that the more parents pay in school fees, the less chance their children have of getting a good degree. Now, maybe its all just ZaNuLIARbore funded commie lies, but is it really that unbelievable? I mean, I understand our very own humble devil attended Eton, the most expensive fee paying school in the country and he didn’t even manage to scrape a third at uni. Forgive me if I piss myself laughing at the idea you clowns have anything to say about education whatsofuckingever.

p.s seeing as you muppets think that living in abject squalor with no running water, electricity, sewage services or paved roads is some sort of “privilege” then I suggest you all treat yourselves to a nice long holiday in your nearest overcrowded slum. See how fucking long you can last and how long you can sustain your reactionary horseshit. xxx

Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

I dropped out of university quite deliberately—it's hardly as though I failed it.

I regarded myself as talented enough to make a career—in something that was entirely different from the degree that I was taking—without needing some pointless piece of paper. It turns out I was right.

Further, if you seriously think that education is only about grades, you are even more of a moron than you come across as.

DK

Devil's Kitchen said...

P.S. May I suggest that you go and look up the actual meaning of "reactionary"? Because (in the words of Inigo Montoya) I do not think it means what you think it means.

Either that, or you do know what it means and simply haven't been paying attention.

DK

Miss Snuffleupagus said...

DK
Thank you...
x

Anonymous said...

"I dropped out of university quite deliberately—it's hardly as though I failed it."

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that dear.

No, I don't think that education is just about grades but degree classifications (and indeed the ability to complete a degree) are one indicator of educational success. In that sense it’s interesting that state school kids on the whole do better at uni than private school preps. Personally, I put it down to the fact that you frat boys never have to use self discipline – you’re forced to work. I’ve seen so many frats go off the rails at uni, they just can’t cope with the unrestricted freedom from deprived prefects and strict parents, you’re not alone in that respect DK.

p.s perfectly understand what reactionary means ta. I know you right lib types like to style yourselves as revolutionaries but given that your entire political and economic philosophy is drawn from Locke, Mill and a (one-sided reading of) Smith with zero development or awareness of critique than I think the reactionary cap fits. Hell, in this post your pimping the idea that living in squalor is a character building experience for the poor. Fucksake, you’d have to go back to pre-1830 to find any political figure who’dve come up with that sort of crap.

p.p.s ms snuffles - you are disgusting hag, you make me physically wrench.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

"I dropped out of university quite deliberately—it's hardly as though I failed it."

Yeah, you keep telling yourself that dear.


Well, I don't really have to, to be honest.

I really don't know how much more crudely I can put it: microbiology bored me, the way the course was run bored me, I started doing graphic design and I decided to leave university and go and get a job. Do you see?

"In that sense it’s interesting that state school kids on the whole do better at uni than private school preps. Personally, I put it down to the fact that you frat boys never have to use self discipline – you’re forced to work."

Well, that may be true in the US but, in this country, private school pupils (well, Eton pupils at least) are left to manage their own time as much as possible.

"I’ve seen so many frats go off the rails at uni, they just can’t cope with the unrestricted freedom from deprived prefects and strict parents, you’re not alone in that respect DK."

Are you for real?

Watch out, guys: we've got a live one...

"p.s perfectly understand what reactionary means ta. I know you right lib types like to style yourselves as revolutionaries but given that your entire political and economic philosophy is drawn from Locke, Mill and a (one-sided reading of) Smith with zero development or awareness of critique than I think the reactionary cap fits."

Since I have never read any of these people—or any other political works—I don't think that it does fit me, actually.

"Hell, in this post your pimping the idea that living in squalor is a character building experience for the poor."

Would you like to prove to me that it is not?

Surely the whole point of your comment is that living in luxury—the "frats" that you cite—does not lead to achievement?

"p.p.s ms snuffles - you are disgusting hag, you make me physically wrench."

I think that you mean "you make me physically retch". You trolling moron.

DK

Anonymous said...

I know you haven’t read any of them DK, a cursory reading of your blog reveals that you haven’t even the slightest understanding of political theory, but those writers are the influence behind the political philosophy which you defend, i.e. classical liberalism. That you don’t even know where your ideas come from (alongside the ideas of other neo-classicals like Hayek and Freidman) means you can’t assess whether your ideas are reactionary or not. They are. They are the guiding principles of a failed 19th model. Throwing "crazy" stuff about drugs and prostitution into the mix doesn’t sufficiently alter that fact.

Sweet dreams.

Miss Snuffleupagus said...

Anon
I'm sorry? Wherever did you learn your manners? I'm sorry that once again we teachers have failed to enlighten. I only hope that in spite of our failure, you might reach enlightenment on your own.

Fabian the Fabulous said...

JuliaM said... "..dumb fucking wingnut fruitloop arseholes.."

..would be a great name for a band!


Wouldn't be a bad name for the 'anon' poster who said it. Has he got Tourette's syndrome?

Must go, I'm going to dig out my 1968 "a-level" certficates - apparently they're equivalent to a PhD now!

Dave said...

Two quotes from Ghandi
"The Seven Deadly Sins are wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, business without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice and politics without principle"
And
"Those who know how to think need no teachers."

We are teaching our kids to be blind, docile, consumers

Anonymous said...

Irony stands disarmed in the face of accusations of tourettes and rudeness coming from DK groupies.

As for manners Miss Snuffles – you can shove them up your snooty chimney. If you take inspiration from witnessing children living in cramped, squalid conditions with no access to basic facilities like drinking water and sanitation then you shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near children. I hope you get fired from your job or alternatively next time you come across those feral youths they pop a cap in yo ass.

Seriously “libertarians”, if you love extreme poverty so much why don’t you all piss off and become slum dogs. Sure you’ll face illnesses like diarrhoea, dysentery, malaria, typhoid, brain fever, may experience communal violence, malnutrition and work long monotonous days for very little money (plus face uncertain future for your children – who may be forced into bonded labour or prostitution) and so forth, but at least there’ll be no nanny state to mooch off and control your lives and you’ll be totally free of “moral poverty”.

Clowns.

Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

"Seriously “libertarians”, if you love extreme poverty so much why don’t you all piss off and become slum dogs."

You really are a pig-ignorant piece of crap, aren't you?

Libertarians don't "love extreme poverty": most libertarians that I know are extremely generous.

But libertarians like to be generous with their own cash; cunts like you tend to prefer to be generous with other people's cash.

Furthermore, we tend to argue that less tax and lower costs of employment make everybody richer and people get to choose their own destiny.

Now, if you would prefer to rot away on benefits, then that's great: just don't ask me to pay for your lifestyle choice.

Do us all a favour and piss off, you fucking troll.

DK

Anonymous said...

"Libertarians don't "love extreme poverty": most libertarians that I know are extremely generous."

Yeah, I know that old one well – the invisible hand of captain capitalism jerks off all sailors as the rising tide floats all their boats to a bright, prosperous future. All very lovely I’m sure but given the manifold increase of poverty and extreme poverty (check the UN Development Program reports) after 30 years + of global deregulation, denationalisation and decentralisation it’s tended to strike me as basically wheeze by the corps to justify their personal enrichment at the expense of everyone else: “Hey little dingys, we promise to toss you all life boats if the tide gets too choppy. Oh what’s that, you’ve all drowned? Never mind, it was all in the cause of capital accumulation”.

Where’s the trickle down effect for the children in the Indian slums Mr Devil? Where’s the benefit for the 600 million children worldwide who live in extreme poverty Mr Devil? You see Mr Devil, there was me thinking that you actually believed your own invisible hand rhetoric, baseless and daft as it may be, but I thought you actually believed it. But this post disabused me of that illusion, this post actually celebrates extreme poverty in and of itself – describing it as “necessary” and a “privilege” and argued that it would be a good thing if Britain had a healthy dose of such poverty itself as some sort of necessary antidote to the evil welfare state. Of course, you guys don’t want to live it poverty yourselves, it’s “necessary” for other people. Why? So you don’t have to pay taxes.

"Now, if you would prefer to rot away on benefits, then that's great: just don't ask me to pay for your lifestyle choice."

Ah yes, that must be the famous “libertarian” generous spirit you were talking about earlier.

Anonymous said...

"Ah yes, that must be the famous “libertarian” generous spirit you were talking about earlier."

What is generous about being forced, under threat of violence, of giving money to be used as benefits?

Don't forget that only half the money taxed actually gets spent on anything. the rest is absorbed by the government bureaucracy. So for every £1 in benefit, £2 in tax is required. I would much rather have less tax and give the £1 directly to the claimant.

JohnW

Anonymous said...

wonder why you all are getting angry and yourselves. The truth is Britain is a Failing country, and if not much is not done to save this country, I am really worried for what the future of britain holds.
it seems the so called bastard law makers are just a bunch of spliff smoking ignorant fools.

britain has got so much assets, its unbelievable but it still cant make good use of it.

it was in the paper recently how students given visa to study in the uk from abroad are failing to turn up at their various universitys, but its funny how you still go to this universitys study rooms or hostels, and you can hardly find any full white british students, only 2 out of every 10 students are full white british. isnt that disturbing.

funny how they say illegal immigrants are taking all british jobs, Yes they are because they are willing to work. duhh , instead of sit at home, on a 20pack of cigarrete each day, and wait for every tuesday to go and sign on. Dont get me wrong, there are loads of british nationals that are very hard working with good ambitions. but if the scum bags citizens choose to work or have been working, then there wouldnt have been positions for the so called migrants.

They all want to work for good money, but they refuse to complete their education, You cant drop out of education at the age of 14 and expect to be employed later in life by a company that will pay you 20k per annum.

Thinking of raising children in this country is very disturbing.

Chalcedon said...

They have no concience regarding the children and their terrible education. They don't care. They have destroyed much, but not all of the excellence in teaching. Now they want to destroy the public schools. Ironic considering nhow many Labour hypocrites send their children to one.

thefrollickingmole said...

Anonymouse has beclowned himself nicely.

You want to use India as your battleground of how capitalism has failed then fine.
"Over the next two decades, the country’s middle class will grow from about 5 percent of the population to more than 40 percent and create the world’s fifth-largest consumer market."

http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Tracking_the_growth_of_Indias_middle_class_2032
You might try and read that article first.
Strong commitment to education appears to be a keystone of the new prosperity.
All those new middle class have to come from somewhere, geez Id be guessing the lower classes?

In addition for many years India was growing slowly, and had a basicly command economy. Its only in the last decade or so that they moved to a more mixed economy, and the result has been a massive lowering of poverty (when you consider the high birth rates, even more remarkable)

You sir are a poltroon, one who even gets the facts wrong on his chosen battleground. Thats makes you "special"....

happyuk07 said...

Excellent post.

The sad reality is that our government needs a generation of thickos in order to stay in power.

They want mindless buying machines with no critical thinking skills: the ability to deal with things like logic or differentiate between good and bad in any situation.