Thursday, July 20, 2006

Leading universities spurn students from poor families - Britain - Times Online

What a nonsensical headline! How would it be in the interests of Universities to "spurn" good students? Why would admissions tutors, drawn from an overwhelmingly left-wing pool of British academics, discriminate against the products of a state education system they all profess to believe in?

These statistics are a direct product of the continuing scandal of an education system which has been subverted.

Only in the crazed world of British education is it wrong to select pupils for a level of education suited to their abilities. I suffered from this nonsense as a pupil. I tried, day after day, to learn while bored and angry classmates disrupted lessons they couldn't handle. I felt sorry for them, up to a point. They couldn't cope and I could understand their frustration. But, by God, I wished them elsewhere. Nor did I appreciate being stoned from passing school buses by "less academically able" (i.e. stupid) class mates who resented "swots". All the peer pressure at my comprehensive school was to make trouble and "spurn" education.

Mrs Paine - a teacher - suffered in attempting to work within this bizarre system. Many of our schools are now anarchic hell-holes. The least savoury pupils set the tone; destroying the educational chances of their peers. The turnover of teachers is appalling. Few last long in a profession which has been reduced to riot control interspersed with occasional political indoctrination.

I am furious with the Labour Party for this vindictive nonsense. That ****wits like Prescott should have been allowed to avenge his personal educational failure by trashing the prospects of millions is disgusting.

I am even more furious with Dave Cameron, who does not have Prescott's excuse of manifest stupidity. He has dropped even his Party's last token support of grammar schools - the most powerful agents of social mobility in Britain's history.

Anyone who cares about the education of ordinary children should be fighting to restore selective education. Equality of opportunity was at its greatest when grammar schools and secondary moderns were the norm.

Leading universities spurn students from poor families - Britain - Times Online


Anonymous said...

Yeah, like grammar schools are any better. I got bullied to hell and had to quit and go to a Comprehensive. Because I was working class, and they were all sons of judges.

They got the last laugh as I limped my way to a degree at an undistinguished university.

Interesting definition of selection: You pass the entrance exam and then if the ruling classes don't like you, you get bullied until you accept your place.

Tom Paine said...

You clearly inhabit some alternate anonimong universe where it is legitimate to attack definitions that you make up yourself for the purpose.

In our universe, the "ruling class" includes one John Prescott, Esq, whose envy-fuelled career has included a consistent stance on destroying social mobility.

Did you ever consider that maybe your undistinguished academic career reflects your abilities, rather than your social origins?

Anonymous said...

Sorry for that comment.

John Prescott is not who I meant, he started out working class. I meant the kind of brattish, nasty kids you get in grammar schools.

So my definition therefore is: Someone who is probably a judge's son, but bullies the (choral) scholarship kid.

As for my undistinguished academic career, I don't believe on being judged by 'grades', which is why I never tried harder. I also always wanted to do my own thing. And I was probably doing the wrong degree, I was doing computing when it should have been English or Film or similiar.

Anyway, I have let my anger at your extreme viewpoints put me off what you're trying to achieve with this blog. It's obvious that you care, but there's a bit of the 'cruel to be kind' in it. Very British indeed. And I've never voted Labour and agree entirely with your blog that they are vicious.

Tom Paine said...

My "extreme viewpoints" are now in their fourth century of being the classical liberal norm. What suddenly changed that made John Stuart Mill and Adam Smith into extremists? The thinking and writing of such men made the modern world, with its prosperity and freedom. Sadly the semi-educated of modern Britain seem to think (if they think at all) that prosperity and freedom are a "given"; guaranteed, however much they tinker with the intellectual framework that made them possible.

Look, you were a working class kid who didn't care about his grades. Fine. Your choice. Live with it. I was a working class kid who did. To the amazement of my family and the teachers at my shit school, I was bright. Thanks to the Socialist Director of Education of my LEA, who changed our system the year I was due to go to grammar school, I went to one of the first comprehensives.

I come from the Socialist heartlands; a place where it would be easier to admit you were a paedophile than a Tory. I put up with a lot of shit from the other kids -their minds poisoned by Socialism - who resented anyone who stood out. I only came through because I am a strong character - you would say an extremist, no doubt. - It left me (though, ironically, I was a Maoist in those days) with utter contempt for Socialism.

Socialism is not about progress, it is about class hate (including hate for those who refuse to conform to class stereotypes). It is not about equality of opportunity, it is about the systematic destruction of opportunity. It is driven, like its best emblem John Prescott, by resentment of the achievements of others - in his case his brother who passed the 11 plus. It comphrehensively failed in the 20th Century, during which more than half of mankind lived under it. At its very worst it is about excusing failure and demonising success - exactly the stance needed to throw any society into reverse gear. I live and work in post-communist countries now, where people simply can't believe there are any people left in the world so stupid as to believe in it.

I don't hate people by large groups; classes or races. I try to take them as I would have wished to be taken in my youth, as an individual. If they have good characters, I like them. If they don't I don't. Your class hatred of "judge's sons" is as stupid and evil as someone looking down on a "miner's son." People don't choose their fathers and can't be blamed for them. Describing someone scornfully as "x's son" is positively feudal.

By the way, your original image of a poor little working-class boy in a school full of judges' sons was hilarious. Have you any idea how few of those there are at any given time? I infer that there was one judge's son in particular who gave you a hard time. Your world view is as class-based and tribal as that of an 18th Century French aristo. When are the British finally going to grow up and judge people, like the man said, by "the content of their characters?"

Labour started out opposing the lack of educational opportunity for working people Tony Blair still says that his priorities are "education, education, education". But the truth is (and I have lived it) that only strong-minded, "extreme" (if you will) members of the working class with tough hides and - ideally - big and strong enough to deal with the Socialist bullies, can extract an education from the State system. It has to be taken by force of will, which means there are lots of working-class kids - not as motivated as me, or as "cruel" (if you will), who never achieve what they are capable of.

I am angry about that. The situation has deteriorated since those early days. My wife taught in bog standard comps that were little more than child-minding services. The waste of human potential makes us sick, as it should anyone who cares about his fellow men one by one, rather than as "the masses".

In modern Britain, the Labour Party destroys educational opportunity and life chances in a way that would have made its founders furious. The French have their Lycee and the Germans their Gymnasium. Why is it so "extreme" to want the English to have their Grammar School?