Sunday, May 01, 2005

Heads back parent lessons for all

I despair. A member of the National Association of Head Teachers calls for mothers to be compelled - on pain of losing their "child benefits" - to attend parenting classes. Is there nothing that the people of this country can be trusted to do for themselves? Can you imagine the politically-correct bs that would be peddled at these sessions?

"Re-education", "indoctrination", the juggernaut thundering towards a police state in Britain builds up momentum with every passing day.

BBC NEWS | Education | Heads back parent lessons for all


Albion Blogger said...

It does depend what the classes teach and just how lacking in basic skills these parents are. Some parents are in desperate need of education in the basics of life and could lead much better lives as a result of them.

I've read a couple of 'personal development' books and they've been wonderfully informative. I believe one can obtain valuable knowledge in life skills from all media - including in the classroom.

If the kids are only a step away from breaking the law I would feel inclined to force the parents to attend class because I believe in punishing parents for their offspring's wrong-doing. Better we educate them before it comes to that...



Tom Paine said...

Respectfully, AB, I think you are missing the point. Education is a good thing, of course, but who says the State is the fount of all knowledge? People must be able to choose. You chose to read your self-improvement books and good luck to you. Forcing mothers into State-controlled classes to teach the current dogma is not at all the same thing. In fact it is highly dangerous. Would they dare to resist the political correctness on offer, given that they could lose at best their "benefits" and at worse (if watching social workers take the wrong view of them) their children?

A whole generation brought up the same way? What a vision!

And how, in all conscience, do you establish that a child is "a step away from breaking the law"? Who makes that judgement? The all-wise, all-knowing State again?

Of course some parents are better than others. Some (although all human instincts are strongly the other way) are "bad" parents. But the State is always a bad parent.

I come from North Wales where the childrens' homes had to be closed down a few years ago because they had been infiltrated by a ring of paedophiles who were abusing the children systematically over years, even decades. The occasional bad parent cannot be compared to that kind of thing. Only the State can generate evil on that scale.

Would a private hospital that had bred its own "superbugs" that killed people who came in for treatment long survive? An old school friend lost her mother to MRSA in an NHS hospital. Her mum had been admitted for a minor operation and should be alive today.

In the same council districts, a friend of mine from school days - a simple kind woman - works in local authority old peoples' homes. Most employees, she says, neglect the old people who have no families to come and visit them. "Why keep cleaning them up?" they say, "they will only **** themselves again." She does her best to make up for her colleagues, and I am sure many people in my old home area die thinking kindly of her. But her idle colleagues are much closer to the norm

In the public sector there is no competition, no need to "sell" a good service, no financial discipline, no decent management. No human institution is perfect and the private sector has its problems. But what private service could survive if it offered the quality of "product" that the State sector regards as normal?

My old school friend is all alone. The system is against her. The people who run such "services"; the people who have destroyed educational opportunity through dogma over the last two decades, are in no position to "teach" ordinary citizens how to raise their children.

We are seeing the beginnings of a phenomenon familiary in totalitarian regimes. When the State services are visibly useless, all problems must be blamed on mysterious "saboteurs". State education in Britain is a disaster, but the dogma must not be blamed. The people who organise it must not be blamed. So let's blame the parents and "bring them in for re-education". Give me a break.

Bishop Hill said...

Albion, what is being proposed is compulsory parenting classes for all new parents, not just the chavs.

Probably they'll get more from watching "Supernanny" than they ever would from sitting listening to a civil servant pontificating.

Albion Blogger said...


I didn't read it the way you're portraying it- and your portrayal may be more accurate than my impression.

But in a more general sense for the struggling parents of kids who are out of control parenting education is fine by me. Remember, in certain circumstances, I am happy to imprison a parent for its child's misdemeanours so compelling them to attend a class on practical parenting skills instead is a better option from their point of view.

Also, I would not envisage an education programme based on ideological indoctrination by government ministers. If I had the power to decide I would simply ask a group of child-rearing experts to put their heads together and devise and deliver a basic-level course - a foundation programme if you like - that described the ABCs of basic parenting.

It wouldn't be comprehensive enough to be overwhelming but it might help a clueless lone parent, for example, whose energetic 13 year old son is in danger of falling into serious trouble. There are, I think you might agree, no shortage of candidate students.

It all depends on the motives of the government. Providing basic level education is a service. Teaching to a political ideology is, of course, something quite different.


Tom Paine said...

"... a group of child-rearing experts..." a.k.a. parents, perhaps?

We were at cross purposes, A.B., because you missed the point in the original article that the proposed "education" was to be compulsory for ALL parents. Indeed, the opportunity for bringing different social classes together was held out as an advantage. As if respectable people don't have enough "opportunities" in modern Britain to be cursed at by chavs.