A nice article by Niall Ferguson on the devastating effects of the `no child left unturned' policies of the last twenty five years in the UK. Having commented on the 18% needed for a C grade at GCSE Maths (and only about 40% get it) he goes on:
Sir Digby described the British secondary school system as having been "dumbed down to the lowest common denominator" (a term which I don't suppose you need to know to get a C in Maths these days).
...The more that has been spent on British secondary education, the worse the outcomes have been. According to an OECD study published in 2005, fully a quarter of the UK population aged between 25 and 34 are "low-skilled" in terms of their educational attainment — five times the proportion in Japan.
This, then, is the single biggest problem that Gordon Brown is going to inherit when he finally becomes prime minister: an uneducated and unemployable underclass, whose only hope of upward mobility is one day, like Jade Goody, to make it onto Big Brother. If Mr Brown has a credible answer to this problem, it is strange that he has kept it secret for — just count them, if you can — 10 wasted years.
It's well-written, but what's stunning is the comments. Please read them. Here are just a few:
One of the sad things, to this former working
class grammar school boy, is that I have had
cognitive dissonance thrust upon me by
successive governments. They have robbed me
of the ability to match my firm advocacy of
quality state education with a decision to put my
children where my beliefs lie.
State education in the UK is clearly for those who
either do not understand the stakes in life -
whether vocational or cultural - or do not care.
Having been educated via a comprehensive school system, the real reason for failure are the children and their ignorant parents. In my experience, any hint of wanting to study was sneered at and the ability to disrupt the class and disrespect the teacher was a sign of honour. In turn, parents of disruptive pupils would always support their offspring (sometimes violently -always aggressively). the school then degenerates into a holding pen for juveniles. It is an unforgivable crime of government that they mix those who want to study with those who will not in the name of social justice.
Since the last war there has been a cultural revolution in the UK, nearly as extensive as in China. In both cases its aim was to overthrow the old class-ridden society and establish a dumbed- down all pervasive mediocrity.
China has since recognized its errors, but unfortunately Britain still continues blindly to eradicate so many wonderful aspects of British traditions life including its schooling and family life.Hence, a nation of Jade Goody ignoramuses!