For far too long our wonderful young people have been the victims of scandalous prejudice on the part of the educational establishment which inexplicably favours students who are intelligent, knowledgeable and industrious. This reactionary policy constantly discriminates against those of our wonderful young people who are ignorant, idle and thick. I have been gathering first-hand testimonies from some of these casualties: those vulnerable oiks and morons who, through no fault of their own, are being denied the opportunity to spend three years hanging around getting innocently pissed and stoned as a prelude to their achieving a pretty piece of parchment and years of debt.
I went to speak with some of our wonderful young people. Dallas was clearly disappointed: “So absolutely, I was like hoping for a place at the Harry Potter Academy to do like telly soaps with rap and hairdressing, Then I was like downgraded right and I had to settle for particle physics and logical positivism at Trinity College Cambridge innit?”
Then there was Landry who was looking forward to three years at The John Lennon School of Nasal Noises leading to an honours degree in make-up with prosthetics for performance fashion but, “I could only get in St Andrew’s wiv’ English littrichur. I mean like it’s not fair not no how. We azter read books like what wiv words in ‘em and that.”
But the rot starts even before our wonderful young people even leave school where they are obliged to do maths. Orion was hopping mad because he had been awarded a D. “So I mean like absolutely I said 7+ 5 = 41. An’ d’you know what they sed? They sed it’s 12. Well, it’s like it might be 12 for some people but uvvers cum from a community wot ‘as a different culture like and they ‘as their own like ideas dunt they?”
Orion’s teacher shared his disappointment: “The rigid system is class-based, sexist and racist. Underprivileged and vulnerable wonderful young people are being denied self-expression and their human right to say that 7 + 5 = whatever they say it is in their community and ethnic group. Cultural relativism. Know what I mean?”
The careers teacher at St Polyphemus’ Secondary added their voice to the collective outrage: “It’s like it’s so elitist. Incredible. Whatever happened to mediocrity? Why do we have to put up with this incredible intolerance towards genuine stupidity? Everybody has like a right to their own opinion. The exam boards are like Fascists. Incredible!”
Then I met Clotho crying into her bean salad after her history exam: “S’not fair! I’ve done lots and lots and lots and lots of work on all the reelly reelly important people in history, like Gloria Steinem, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Madonna. Then like we got Napoleon, Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great. Dunno wot was great about him. Not even a question about Diana. Incredible!
Clotho was sitting next to her friend Vyella straight out of the RE exam: “It was horrible and my sister Ammonia was like well I’m gone, Clotho. I mean Ammonia’s a neo-vegan Zoroastrian with only slight cannibalistic tendencies. Then we got all this about God saying there’s stuff we shouldn’t do, commandments and that. Why is God so judgemental? And so up Himself with this like no other gods but me. Has He never like heard of diversity? He’s probably a She anyway. So Sexist. Incredible
STOP PRESS The Education Secretary has been put in detention.
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Fr Mullen might be the equal of Juvenal if he wrote Latin hexameters. As it is, he’s merely the superior by far of the establishment toadies who write for Private Eye and speak on Radio 4.
But even Fr Mullen doesn’t hit all possible targets with complete accuracy: the idea that “the educational establishment … favours students who are intelligent, knowledgeable and industrious” applies more to the 1920s than to the 2020s. In 2020, almost exactly the opposite is true. The truth in 2020 is that the teachers, the inspectors, the examiners and a funny little man named Williamson all agree with the whining schoolchildren that they have a right to whatever exam results they want.
You go too far in your comment on our kids PJR. Their demonstrations, placards and demands were polite, often witty and accurately focused. Have we not all said for decades that the bloated quangocracy needed culling but done nothing whatever about it? They’ve shown Eff Offqual up for what it is: a bunch of mediocrities who can’t manage Year 6 algebra. One of many of their idiocies: Jessica Johnson won a national essay award but had her teacher-assessed A dropped to a B by a man with an orange face. Help from the Royal Statistical Society was turned down. Can you believe it?
When Evelyn Waugh wrote Handful of Dust he was drawing on universities of the 1920s. Wrong there PJ. When Adam Smith spent a spell in Oxford 150 years earlier he told David Hume that anyone who perished from overwork there would only have himself to blame. Lost universal university excellence is a myth.
You do know that the exams, little artificial exercises, are set by, um, schoolteachers who lack the advantage of knowing the kids they assess. Why would you want an exam to be the only marker for pupil quality? Compared to others, teaching is an honourable profession unlike law, for example, which is corrupt from our high court to our low-life compensationists; and you will have heard of ‘business ethics’.
The kids have exercised a little democracy and won their point. HMG has antagonised kids, parents, grandparents, neighbours and friends in the process of further insulting teachers. Quite a political coup if Boris and Gavin were labour party agents. Crass stupidity otherwise.
Let’s be proud of our kids and hope they go on to inject decency and justice where it is entirely lacking.
Be proud and express hope, but verify.
And, to understand and assess propensities to constructive/destructive behaviour and the achievements/failures of groups of people, one requires the facility of perceiving and judging by way of distributions -not by “averages” and “typicals”.
How looks the distribution curve?
And how does that curve differ across groups and vary across time.
They didn’t need to be that smart to realise that downgrading 40% of the predictions was going to hit the fan. The least we might have expected from them, if they’d ever met a child or been in a school, would have been to tweak that 40%.
Yes, no contest Michael.
I was making a wider observation.
And wider still:
It is clear that the challenges of organisation, effective use of resources and conflicts in views in what is “good and desireable” has for some time exceeded the capabilities of the people who hold positions in elective politics and in the various institutions that comprise our nominally democratic and vastly multi-cultural society.
And actually, there is no group of people who could do a better job than is being done by the incumbents.
It’s all too much.
What is keeping the show going, for now, is the production of extraordinary economic surplus by the technology-fueled system of (partial) free enterprise and the banking/financial system that supports it-
-as flawed and accident-prone as those institutions are.
Like Beethovan’s dad I’ve managed to maintain a semblance of pride .
Despite the efforts of the two great powers, Sparta and Athens, to keep the peace, irritating local conflicts brought about the end of a glorious Athenian civilisation. The Roman Empire went the same way with hardly a whimper.
We are all born in infancy and most of us stay there. Observers on here can see what is happening but our lotus-eating government and ruling class can’t. No one has any remedy as far as I’ve seen and we await a saviour to end this misery.
A large asteroid flew close to earth a few days ago, undetected till after it had passed. Maybe that’s all we can look forward to.
Why learn how to make one’s own way in life when one needs not?
And certainly, there is no need to learn how to make oneself a nett contributor to the material abundance and civil security of the community, when there are no incentives to do so-
-indeed, when the incentives are in the opposite direction.
And far too many of the adults amused themselves making sagacious and humorous statements.
And far too few adults put their intellects, the products of their education, their life experiences creatively and productively to work.
And the civilisation dissolved.
I was at a birthday/dinner party a couple of weeks back and a rather tedious and smug woman said that her daughter was taking Sociology and Humanities at university to which I could not resist with saying “Well, she should help along the economy no end”.
Fair enough, you couldn’t have responded in a more tedious and smug way. I hope she pushed a bowl of trifle into your sarky face.
HMG seems to have stopped by the island of the lotus-eaters.
The kids, on the other hand, lively, witty, polite and disciplined have caused our sleepwalking government and suspiciously orange-coloured Eff Offqual chair to abandon a cretinous policy involving half-baked Year 6 algebra. Perhaps the kids, if they can spare 20 minutes more, could reform the House of Lords before starting their zoom degrees, attractively priced at £50k.
Yes, good article, very funny, and tells the awful truth of the matter.
Now if we are to squeak through this New Dark Age, we must ensure there is proper education provided for the precious few who are both educable and eager to be educated.
This sort of thing has always been done, all over the world since the earliest of days.
Even now, it is practiced in certain institutions, in certain walks and stations of life, esp in certain countries.
Volunteers among certain elites -of the good kind- take it on themselves to club together and help young persons who show promise and talent.
Mass education was and remains a useful gesture.
But the main event, in preparing a critical number among the rising generations for high responsibility, is elsewhere.