Sunday, October 04, 2009

Education: an institutional failure

Your humble Devil tends to get more angry about the piss-poor state of our education system than anything else. Why?

Quite simply because if you give someone a good education then they have—regardless of social background—the tools to better their life. You cannot get a good job if you are unable to read or write, or even speak, at least your own language properly.

If people choose not to take advantage of this potential... well... we shouldn't have to support their laziness. But if they have never been given the most basic equipment, then it becomes far more difficult to blame them when they cannot make a life beyond the dole.

In our modern world, education makes a life: it's that simple.

And no matter what the tractor statistics say, our education system is failing appallingly. One only has to read To Miss With Love on a regular basis to get the personal stories of how and why this is happening; to gain a wider perspective, articles like this are depressingly common.
The analysis of final year work produced at Imperial College London found that UK students made almost three times as many errors in English compared to their foreign counterparts from China, Singapore and Indonesia.

Bernard Lamb, Emeritus reader in genetics at Imperial and president of the Queen's English Society, found that his 18 home grown students had an average of 52.2 errors in two pieces of assessed course work and the final degree exam, while the 10 overseas students averaged only 18.8 errors.

The UK students, attending one of the best universities in the world, all had excellent A-level results, or equivalents, yet all their written work had to be corrected for English.

"Overseas students were much better in avoiding word confusions and errors with apostrophes, other punctuation, grammar and spelling," he said. "We need to raise the very poor standards of UK students by introducing more demanding syllabuses and exams, more explicit teaching and examining of English and by consistent and constructive correction of errors by teachers of all subjects," he said.

As Tom Paine points out, this is because of a systematic failure in our education policy.
As someone trying to learn Chinese, I know the height of the language barrier those Chinese students have crossed. If they can write better English than a native speaker with "good" A levels then, trust me, something is rotten in the state of British education. I do not hesitate to name that rottenness for you. British educationalists are more concerned about agitprop than truth. They are interested, not in opening minds, but in closing them.

As someone who had an excellent education, your humble Devil is often excoriated as being out of touch with the concerns of ordinary people. This is not the case: as an Etonian, I know what good education looks like.

Further, unlike those who continually and tediously advocate the return to legitimacy of grammar schools, I am more interested in policies that will deliver a good education to everyone—not just a select few.

Having compared the outcomes from our education system with others, I firmly believe that the Swedish-style voucher model is the way to go.

This model was profiled by the Economist some time ago; unfortunately that article has disappeared behind a pay-wall, but the introduction there can be combined with a quote from the article that I put in one of my older posts.
Introduction:
FEW ideas in education are more controversial than vouchers—letting parents choose to educate their children wherever they wish at the taxpayer's expense. First suggested by Milton Friedman, an economist, in 1955, the principle is compellingly simple. The state pays; parents choose; schools compete; standards rise; everybody gains.

Simple, perhaps, but it has aroused predictable—and often fatal—opposition from the educational establishment. Letting parents choose where to educate their children is a silly idea; professionals know best. Co-operation, not competition, is the way to improve education for all. Vouchers would increase inequality because children who are hardest to teach would be left behind.

Quote from older post.
The strongest evidence against this criticism comes from Sweden, where parents are freer than those in almost any other country to spend as they wish the money the government allocates to educating their children. Sweeping education reforms in 1992 not only relaxed enrolment rules in the state sector, allowing students to attend schools outside their own municipality, but also let them take their state funding to private schools, including religious ones and those operating for profit. The only real restrictions imposed on private schools were that they must run their admissions on a first-come-first-served basis and promise not to charge top-up fees (most American voucher schemes impose similar conditions).

The result has been burgeoning variety and a breakneck expansion of the private sector. At the time of the reforms only around 1% of Swedish students were educated privately; now 10% are, and growth in private schooling continues unabated.

Anders Hultin of Kunskapsskolan, a chain of 26 Swedish schools founded by a venture capitalist in 1999 and now running at a profit, says its schools only rarely have to invoke the first-come-first-served rule—the chain has responded to demand by expanding so fast that parents keen to send their children to its schools usually get a place. So the private sector, by increasing the total number of places available, can ease the mad scramble for the best schools in the state sector (bureaucrats, by contrast, dislike paying for extra places in popular schools if there are vacancies in bad ones).

More evidence that choice can raise standards for all comes from Caroline Hoxby, an economist at Harvard University, who has shown that when American public schools must compete for their students with schools that accept vouchers, their performance improves. Swedish researchers say the same. It seems that those who work in state schools are just like everybody else: they do better when confronted by a bit of competition.

Schools must be entirely freed from government control—no national pay deal for teachers, no national curriculum, abolition of catchment areas, and no pen-pushing Local Education Authorities stealing a third of the money.

Almost unbelievably, Cameron and his merry men seem to be stutteringly edging towards such a policy. In the Telegraph, Dave writes that he will address our educational failure.
Take school reform. In today's top-down system, all too often parents have to take whatever school they're given. We're going to put meaningful choice in their hands by smashing open the state education monopoly so that any qualified organisation can set up a new state school. This will help raise standards across the board.

What some of these changes might entail were viewed by your humble Devil on Channel 4 News last night. Although Michael Gove might be one of the creepiest-looking men on the planet, he might actually be pushing the Conservatives down a positive route.
The Conservatives are threatening a cull of teachers in poorly-performing schools if they are elected to government.

They plan to get rid of what they call bad teachers and put the poorest performing schools in England into the hands of independent organisations. Based on what has happened with academies taking over failing schools, senior Tories expect a quarter to a third of staff in these schools would be removed as part of their plans to improve standards.

It is part of what Conservative strategists plan as an assault on teaching standards in the classroom which would also see the end of national pay awards and a massive switch from traditional teacher training.

Good. National Pay Awards are one of the stupidest things ever devised—a £2000 pay rise quite obviously buys you more in the depths of Yorkshire than it does in Surrey.
Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove believes that academy schools like the Harris Academy in Norwood, south London show the way.

Since the new team took over the old failing school half the staff have gone. The academy thinks that was central to turning around results.
...

A basic minimum for teachers' pay, currently just over £20,000 a year, would be set but individual headteachers would be free to spread around their own budgets in salary and bonuses.

This is entirely sensible—it gives schools the facility to control their own spending, to set their priorities. Oh, and it'll piss the unions right off—something that was imediately obvious when some bitch from the NUT popped up on the programme, making the usual veiled and not-so-veiled threats.
However, some argue that such a plan would not be effective.

Fuck the teaching unions: as I have consistently argued—most recently in the case of the Royal Mail—the public services are not supposed to be run for the benefit of those who work in them.
On top of all that, Mr Gove wants to parachute thousands of new teaching recruits straight into schools, bypassing the established courses and traditional teacher training and replacing what he believes is a seam of underperforming staff.

This is another good thing: if you want good people to go into teaching, then you need to lower the barriers to entry. Making people do pointless shit like the PGCE simply discourage them from entering the teaching profession in the first place.

All of these things are good measures, but they are meaningless without the crucial element of customer choice.

If a school wants to pay bonuses to good teachers, where is the money going to come from?

If a business provides a good product, then it grows because more people will buy that product: there is a reward.

Under a voucher system, good schools would gain more pupils and, thus, more funding through the vouchers. If there is no reward for the school through increased funding, then how will that school reward teachers? Or gain more money for investment?

It can only be through artificial assessments by bueaucrats, and that brings us back to the central, box-ticking problem.

The Tories are stumbling in the right direction, but they are still missing the central point of setting school free: that these schools do, indeed, compete for customers. If they cannot, there will be no incentive for improvement, and no way to measure it that does not include tractor statistic-style bureaucracy.

As such, I find myself moved to repeat what I wrote the last time that Cameron announced something of this sort.
Yes, Dave, you are quite correct in all of that but as usual you are totally unable to understand what makes these systems work. For fuck's sake, get the state out of schooling!

Abolish the hugely wasteful LEAs, pen-pushing institutions which gobble up huge amounts of money—money that should be going to the schools—and produce precisely fuck-all of any use (apart from keeping large numbers of extraordinarily lazy people in work).

Issue school vouchers to children so that they and their parents can make the choice of school for themselves. If a school is failing to educate the child properly, then the child can move to a better one. This sustains competition between schools which, as we have seen, raises the quality of almost all establishments.

Privatise all schools and colleges, and allow any two teachers to start one. Do not interfere in teaching methods and do not interfere in disciplinary procedures. Just measure the results at the end: ensure that schools publish their results and allow the parents to choose where to send their children.

Half of the problem with our "broken society" is that people do not feel that they have enough choice. And remove choice and consequence from people and you infantilise them: this is the legacy of 60 years of the Welfare State. If you start to give people a choice in their future and the future of their children—which is pretty much what education is: their future—then you will be a good way along the road to fixing the problems that we have.

In the name of fuck, Dave, you have a working system in front of you. You have cited the Swedish model and yet you seem determined to subvert the system because you do not seem to understand why it works.

OK, that's fine: you are too stupid to understand. In that case, don't try to understand it: just accept that it does work and implement the fucking system!

And, in the name of all that's unholy, get the state out of education.

Right now, we have an education system in which 50.4%—yes, that's over fifty fucking percent—of adults have low literacy levels.

Get the state out of the education system and give people their future back.

And if the NUT get in the fucking way, hang the cunts. I'm fucking sick of these bastards destroying the future of thousands—nay, millions—of people.

Here's an idea, in fact: let us calculate the difference in life-time earnings between a literate and non-literate person, multiply that by 30 million and then bill the fucking teaching unions.

That ought to shut them up, the evil fucks that they are.

25 comments:

Rob said...

"On top of all that, Mr Gove wants to parachute thousands of new teaching recruits straight into schools, bypassing the established courses and traditional teacher training"

Which has an additional benefit - teacher training colleges are stuffed full of Marxist lunatics. Get new teachers away from these freaks and we have a chance of having kids taught by people who haven't been brainwashed with all the shit ideas of the past thirty years.

Independent schools and no national pay bargaining reduces or even breaks the power of the teaching unions. Schools under pressure from parents can fire shit teachers and if a few of the mad beardies go as well, that's a benefit.

Northampton Saint said...

You seem to be almost intune with Hannan and Carswell on this, DK

Roue le Jour said...

Fully behind you on the importance education, DK. You've got to move quickly, too, if you want to see even the suggestion of results by 14/15.

There are two problems facing children trying to get a secondary education, and the quality of education is only one of them. The other is all the other children who don't want to be there who have an enormous negative effect on the children that do.

As for the teaching unions, the solution is simple in theory, difficult in practice. State employees shouldn't be allowed to be in FUCKING union. Their only purpose is to screw more money out of taxpayers and fund the political party that does the screwing. I would argue that, to all intents and purposes, Gordon Brown is an employee of Unison, doing his best to protect the interests of his employers. Every time he says 'hard working families' I hear 'hard working (in the public sector) families'. Bastard.

Devil's Kitchen said...

"You seem to be almost intune with Hannan and Carswell on this, DK"

I agree with Hannan and Carswell on quite a lot, really (I like the both of them personally, too).

A good deal of my local tax policy comes from a conversation with Carswell in a taxi after an episode of 18DoughtyStreet.

DK

Paul said...

The only problem with this is the Academies bit in the middle.

Some Academies are successful where old schools failed, but this is almost invariably because they are allowed to chuck out the children they don't want. For example, a local "academy" round here has been accused of poaching children. It is bringing back defacto selection.

This may well be a good thing, but you then have an issue of who will educate all the ones no-one else wants.

These are in two groups ; firstly the grotty yobs and yobettes with grotty parents which no independently run school will want because they will drive away the children they do want, and secondly children with Special Needs (real SEN, not ADHD bollocks) who are expensive to school (whether you do education, life and social skills, or some mixture thereof)

The problem with "marketising" education (and I agree with almost everything you say btw !) is that education - in some form - is not optional.

Paul said...

PS: Taking the point about Sweden, which I misread, there are two problems.

1. We aren't Sweden. There is, I think, a much bigger amount of rubbish to distribute than is the case in Sweden.

2. If you enforce first come first served then fair enough, but unless you ban exclusions, if the 'first come' are difficult, they will get chucked.

Edgar said...

Everybody knows how to reform the education system.

Yawn.

Southerner said...

As far as exclusions (known as expulsions here) go, I've always thought that the way to deal with it would be to have a process in which the parents have to re-enroll their out-of-control kiddie in a new school in a process that takes two or three solid days of going to this school and that school, and this and that office, getting five signatures from different office drones, etc. The parents who can't be bothered about their child's school behavior might be more motivated to impose some discipline at home if they knew that THEY were going to be inconvenienced each time little Johnny behaved outrageously at school.

The new idea over here is that it is racist to have different rates of expulsion for different races. School principals are under huge pressure to suspend (temporary) and expel (usually permanent or at least long-term) the same percentage of each ethnic group. So, if your school is 7% black, and 7% Japanese, there should be just as many Japanese kids being thrown out as there are black kids.

There are now widespread stories of whites getting thrown out of school for relatively minor incidents while more serious misbehavior by blacks and hispanics is studiously ignored.

Most kids over here are about 18 years old when they graduate from high school. MANY kids have lost all interest long before that, often because they have such extreme academic deficits by the time they are 12 or so that advancing them further is a waste of everybody's time.

Anonymous said...

"This may well be a good thing, but you then have an issue of who will educate all the ones no-one else wants."

Which demonstrates one of the fundamental problems with compulsory schooling: education isn't something that happens to kids, it's something that kids do. You can't force kids to learn.

Back in the bad old days, that didn't much matter, because kids who didn't want to be stuck in school had other options which allowed them to go out and do something useful instead. Today with the worship of 'childhood', they're prevented by law from quitting school for something they would actually like to do, and hence spend their time causing trouble for those who would like to learn something.

"The problem with "marketising" education (and I agree with almost everything you say btw !) is that education - in some form - is not optional."

Learning the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic is easy; only a hugely bloated, unionised, public-sector bureaucracy could make it look hard. For the rest, a good library and uncensored Internet access will allow kids to educate themselves much faster than being bored out of their skull at school.

the a&e charge nurse said...

"Get the state out of the education system and give people their future back".
"50.4%—yes, that's over fifty fucking percent—of adults have low literacy levels".

Devil - I have highlighted x2 of your sound-bites.
I would ask you, or indeed any responsible parent, if a child is unable to read or write whose fault is it, the parents or the state?

Why should ANY parent not see it is part of their job to make regular visits to the library (where a range of children's books are available, gratis) or spend a bit of time each day going over spellings or basic numeracy - in other word, giving their children the building blocks from which all else follows?

Let's face it education is little more than state sponsored baby sitting, at least in the early years.
How does any teacher stay sane with x30 kids in a cramped classroom, many of whom speak English as a second language (if they speak much English at all)?

My oldest wants to teach - she is working x1 day per week on a voluntary basis (pre-Uni )and her stories are most revealing - bullying (amongst kids) from a surprisingly early age, teachers ground down by policing/containing a disruptive minority (usually from chav families).

These 'naughty' kids are sometimes 'rewarded' by the teacher simply for behaving themselves for more than 5 minutes - what message does this send to their more co-operative classmates?

You are mistaken if you think sacking a few underperforming staff is either a meaningful, or lasting solution -but if we accept the principle perhaps we should extend it to under performers in ALL job sectors.
A national sacking-fest - what a fun idea that would be, eh?

Actually, I have grown very bored of hearing about schools which turf out a few dinosaurs before attaining a transient upturn in fortunes - this pattern is never reflected NATIONALLY and nor will it be once we lose sight of the fact education is a family responsibility, not just the States (a concept I thought Libertarians might have favoured?).

I am presently assisting the middle child with a comparative essay on 'Rebecca' and 'Jane Eyre' - I learn from her, she learns from me - all good stuff.

Even though you have been to a top Toff-school you fail to understand these simple dynamics- your endorsement of the Tory slap-head proves my point?

Devil's Kitchen said...

So, I take it that you favour the total abolition of any formal education, A&E?

No doubt you favour just letting the parents do it all, yes?

"I would ask you, or indeed any responsible parent, if a child is unable to read or write whose fault is it, the parents or the state?"

Both.

"Why should ANY parent not see it is part of their job to make regular visits to the library (where a range of children's books are available, gratis) or spend a bit of time each day going over spellings or basic numeracy - in other word, giving their children the building blocks from which all else follows?"

I don't know, A&E, but this is, alas the case—as your eldest is no doubt finding out.

Those kids who misbehave in school—do you think that they are playing up because their parents have already taught them everything that they need to know? No.

After 60 wonderful fucking years of the Welfare State, 50.4% of the adult population have low literacy levels: how the hell are they going to teach their children to be any less illiterate?

"You are mistaken if you think sacking a few underperforming staff is either a meaningful, or lasting solution -but if we accept the principle perhaps we should extend it to under performers in ALL job sectors."

Absolutely, A&E. This does actually happen all the time in the private sector—but I'll admit that the idea of sacking poorly-performing staff may not be something that you're familiar with.

The point really is that, in setting schools free from state control, you are also allowing them to set their own agenda—both in terms of what they teach and how they teach it.

That means that they can set their own disciplinary standards—and enact those standards.

Further, without a National Curriculum, schools could, for instance, teach practical things to less cerebral kids and more academic things to those others.

All I am looking for, as a bare fucking minimum, is for every single person who leaves school to be able to read and write English, and to do basic arithmetic.

If this is too much to demand of state schooling, then we should abolish it and just save ourselves the £70 billion that it costs. And then the parents can just go to the library with their kiddie-winks and teach 'em that way, eh?

DK

the a&e charge nurse said...

Devil - lets start again.

I think you make some fine suggestions.
I agree with this;
"The point really is that, in setting schools free from state control, you are also allowing them to set their own agenda—both in terms of what they teach and how they teach it".
And this;
"Further, without a National Curriculum, schools could, for instance, teach practical things to less cerebral kids and more academic things to those others".

My objection is not with your post, which as usual is both funny and insightful, but the fact schools are generally ill-equipped to deal with the fall out from dysfunctional families (probably less of an issue in the rarified atmosphere of places like Eton), not to mention the absolute divide (in some parent's mind) that the responsibility 'education' falls to anybody else but them.

A final point that you and the delightful Mrs Devil may discover for yourselves one day - going to the library is NOT just about books (although books are one the great gifts we can give each other) no, it's significance has far more to do with the focussed attention that a nurturing parent can offer their child.
These transactions have a positive transgenerational effect (since it instills a sense of worth in the child who is more likely to adhere to similar patterns when it's their turn as a parent) as well as modeling an experience that can be generalised amongst peers and throughout later life.

Sadly, this type of quality interaction can be rather thin on the ground in the institutional setting, not least because the poor teacher has to spend so much time and energy pacifying tomorrow's gang-banger.

Teachers are important - I still remember most of the ones who taught me at Grammar school although the red scorch marks across my arse have faded somewhat.

Devil's Kitchen said...

A&E,

"My objection is ... the fact schools are generally ill-equipped to deal with the fall out from dysfunctional families ... , not to mention the absolute divide (in some parent's mind) that the responsibility 'education' falls to anybody else but them."

I agree, A&E. The trouble is that parents do have these divides at present, and the ones who end up suffering are the children (and, all too often, the rest of society).

You have often said that libertarianism is unworkable because people are twats (if I may paraphrase somewhat): this is more of the same.

I have always talked about managing a transition from our current situation towards a more libertarian ideal (much as the laissez faire society has morphed into a environment of entitlement).

Without doubt, the only way in which society can improve—by which I mean safer, and able to unlock people's potential—is to ensure that the children can at least try to realise their potential.

Their parents are, all too often, currently lost and, effectively, written off; we can do little other than ensure thar they don't starve.

However, we need to work very hard to ensure that their children do not end up in the same state—that is why I am prepared to boost educational spending in a very unlibertarian manner!

Ach, I'm rambling but I hope that you get my point: unless we say, at some point, we must try to improve things now, then we never will. Because it will take time.

DK

Roue le Jour said...

"However, we need to work very hard to ensure that their children do not end up in the same state—that is why I am prepared to boost educational spending in a very unlibertarian manner!"

You might have mentioned that earlier.

In exactly the the same way that if we care about the poor we should be tough on crime because it is overwhelmingly the poor who are victims of it, so if we care about the child from the deprived background, we should be ruthless with disruptive children because it is the poor little sod trying to learn against the odds that is paying the price.

Discipline is the foundation of education, and it is the lack of discipline, not the lack of education, that makes so many young people unemployable.

the a&e charge nurse said...

Oh, I know it is the Mail, so make of this article what you will
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1218202/Teacher-carried-pupil-classroom-telling-racist-joke-guilty-assault.html

When I went to school it was only the more sensitive teachers that would have treated the little shit so leniently - nowadays teachers face a criminal record and professional ruin for considering the needs of the wider group (if we take the teachers version at face value).

I'm sure Frank Chalk will have something to say about?
http://frankchalk.blogspot.com/

Paul said...

"Absolutely, A&E. This does actually happen all the time in the private sector—but I'll admit that the idea of sacking poorly-performing staff may not be something that you're familiar with."

That's not the problem. The problem is how you measure it effectively (any system will be gamed, of course, as happens now).

In any school, everyone knows who the useless, the skivers are etc etc but it's almost impossible to quantify this in a way comparable with current employment law. If you were to say "chuck a lot of employment law" I'd agree btw ; at present it's a fucking nightmare.

As an example. I used to deal with ill staff as follows. The skivers got sick pay. Those who you knew would drag themselves in if they lost a leg got normal pay. But now you can't do this because it "isn't fair" (not quantifiable). So you either pay everyone sick pay or full pay (in the latter case you then get public sector behaviour, of course).

"That means that they can set their own disciplinary standards—and enact those standards."

No they can't. It is not lack of desire to set standards behaviourally that is the problem.

It is the lack of any sort of tools to do it with, combined with the threat of permanent unemployability at best, prison at worst, on the unsupported say-so of a child.

A lot of teachers, including many natural Labour ones, hate it as much as rightie I do. Some real lefties would quite happily strangle some obnoxiously smug "you can't touch me" children with their bare hands I suspect, and this may well be the best solution for them.

But it is the current reality, and if you don't change this, the only option you have is exclusion - and you have to do *something* with this group, *and* it will be pretty large.

"Further, without a National Curriculum, schools could, for instance, teach practical things to less cerebral kids and more academic things to those others."

Yes, 100% in favour of this. It needs some overview so the courses do actually have some use (and aren't just an excuse for cheap labour for example), but minimal ; rather like HMI used to do with schools.

A problem with this short term is there is an expectation amongst children that school should be entertaining always. When I was at school we knew the physics practical "fun" had a physics theory "not fun". Now the expectation of entertainment is 100%.

You have to chuck all this crap before you start tinkering with the system on a large scale or a small scale, otherwise nothing will change.

"All I am looking for, as a bare fucking minimum, is for every single person who leaves school to be able to read and write English, and to do basic arithmetic."

Not actually possible, as some will be unable to speak :) Should be achievable about 99%. OUGHT to be achievable at about 99%.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, I know it is the Mail, so make of this article what you will
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1218202/Teacher-carried-pupil-classroom-telling-racist-joke-guilty-assault.html"

This is exactly the problem. The current definition of "minimum force" demands hindsight and/or psychic powers.

A true story. A colleague of mine was censured by Social Services for stopping a boy jumping out of a window (onto concrete, upstairs). At the point of the 'grab' the boy was 2/3 of the way out.

The argument was, in all seriousness, that he didn't KNOW the child would jump out. Of course, the only time you definitely know this is when they've jumped, at which point you can't stop it.

The further problem is that if you didn't stop him, you will get "why didn't you stop him !"

Anonymous said...

"The boy denied being repeatedly told not to tell the joke and claimed Becker had dangled him by the ankle on the way to the cupboard."

It's this kind of thing that fucks your head in. Unless Becker is superhumanly strong, or the child is incredibly small, this is a really obvious lie.

But then who fucking cares eh ?

the a&e charge nurse said...

No doubt the boy presented at the hearing (flanked by a social worker and solicitor) with the eyes of a baby seal that is just about to be clubbed to death.

At least this is the impression Inspector Gadget creates after dealing with some of the youngsters on the swamp - not to mention more serious offenders who are adept at playing the system like a harp?
http://inspectorgadget.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/two-years-for-jon-harper-killer/

bella gerens said...

A&E:

A final point that you and the delightful Mrs Devil may discover for yourselves one day - going to the library is NOT just about books (although books are one the great gifts we can give each other) no, it's significance has far more to do with the focussed attention that a nurturing parent can offer their child.

Forgive me for seeming tetchy, but it might be nice if you left our possible future offspring out of your arguments. Whilst I don't think either of us is opposed to playing a role in a child's education (I'm a teacher, for heaven's sake) or taking such a child to the library, I must repeat that you will not provoke a change in principles by appealing to feelings for human beings who do not, as yet, exist.

If we spawn and change our minds, then you may feel free to gloat.

the a&e charge nurse said...

I'm afraid you have misunderstood, Bella.

I hope you will accept that I was not actually speculating about the specifics of any future marital configuration in the Devil household, rather I was commenting on a perspective that arises due to certain parent/child interactions, the significance of which MIGHT not be fully appreciated until somebody moves from a state of childlessness to parenthood?

Obviously everybody must have a say about education since the ramifications of good or bad schooling affect the entire community, while childless couples have the privilege of paying for the children of other parents to be taught - but as you know principles sometimes change in the light of new experiences?

Put another way - during your adolescence I'm sure your parents might have told you to do certain things on the basis of their greater experience?
If I'd said to my Dad "you will not provoke a change in principle by appealing to" ........ (fill in whatever gap in life experience applied at that moment) then I'd have got a clip around the ear.

Of course, in the current climate when my teenagers daughters adopt similar tactics I have to clip and myself round the ear.

bella gerens said...

A&E:

I certainly appreciate that having children might change one's perspective, and I'm fully aware that's what you meant. If you want to say that, in your experience, [insert claim here], go ahead.

What I requested you do, on the other hand, was to leave our personal life out of your discussions.

Anonymous said...

DK : "[..] if you want good people to go into teaching, then you need to lower the barriers to entry. Making people do pointless shit like the PGCE simply discourage them from entering the teaching profession in the first place."

I think this could be a huge mistake.
The main problem isn't a lack of teachers but is the low quality of the education. Lowering the barriers of entry won't help this problem. In fact, we should raise the barriers to entry eg. Finland has one of the best education systems in the world - almost all schools are state schools, and because the state schools are so good there's very little market for private schools.

Finland's recruitment policy for their teachers is simple: only hire very good teachers.

Also, teachers have more powers to discipline students.

http://www.edu.fi/english/SubPage.asp?path=500,4699

"# Competent teachers
On all school levels, teachers are highly qualified and committed. Master’s degree is a requirement, and teacher education includes teaching practice. Teaching profession is very popular in Finland, and hence universities can select the most motivated and talented applicants. Teachers work independently and enjoy full autonomy in the classroom. "

oneuniverse said...

Er, last 'anonymous' post was mine, and was my first post on this thread.

Anonymous said...

As an Etonian, of course you got a good education, DK. The sad thing is, as the child of immigrants who came to the country penniless, I also got an excellent state education. Enough to excel at one of the country's top universities, which at the time provided world class degrees. This is the measure of what we have lost.