I was reading one of the myriad of articles in the Torygraph on Gove’s courageous plan to resurrect the O level (stop sniggering at the back, you know what I’m talking about, you filthy minded little skit). For what it’s worth, I don’t see much wrong with the idea.
This post isn’t about education, but as we can’t escape the issue it seems obvious to me that the people who need to use qualification certificates as a frame of reference, that being employers and HE and FE institutions, seem to have little faith in them and this seems to be eroded year on year. I’m not at all confident that this isn’t an expensive piece of window dressing, the equivalent of giving a burning house a lick of masonry paint, but there you go. I see nothing wrong with testing, by which I mean challenging, students rather than testing students so a school can do well in a league table.
Education sucks in this country, it doesn’t deliver for the kids who are told they are all great, which is fine until they leave school and enter the real world, it doesn’t deliver for the universities, I know of one at least that brings in temp remedial staff at the start of every year because the freshers can’t do little things like write an intelligible sentence, it doesn’t deliver for the employer because the bit of paper is no guarantee of what they’ll be getting. The only people it does deliver for are the teachers so they can get some tractor production stats to show how great they are, and the politicians who will gleefully report these tractor production stats in the House to show how great they are. Frankly, I couldn’t give a toss about them, I care about the kids.
Now, a proper pass/fail challenging system will mean some kids will fail, but it doesn’t mean they are failures. All this talk of a two tier education system being a bad thing is bollocks. It is a good thing, or rather could be. I am not for one moment suggesting that kids be thrown on the scrap heap at 14 when the GCE/CSE split is made, because there is no need for that to happen at all. Look, some people are academically gifted, some are not, that doesn’t mean those that are academically gifted are intrinsically better than those who aren’t, they are just different.
What is not fair is the herding of every child through the door marked ‘exams’, it isn’t fair on the kids who are being set up to fail. It isn’t fair on the kids who would be set up to fail, but find that the system needs them to be a success so get sold a lump of fool’s gold. It isn’t fair on the kids who can succeed but find their success diluted. Sometime in the 60′s we got this idea that there’s something wrong with working with your hands, fifty years on we are seeing the results. With a good technical education and a sound foundation in basic academia these kids will be the plumbers, sparkies, chippies, mechanics, whatever of the future with the skills to do the work and run a business of their own. Surely that’s more valuable than a GCSE in Hollyoaks?
Anyhow, like I said, this post isn’t actually about education, it’s about this photo which accompanied a report in the Telegraph, I saw it and found myself asking ‘what happened?’
For the hard of seeing, the posters behind Gove carry the following messages:
- Social responsibility not state control
- Labour, telling people what to do since 1997
- We’re all in this together
- Labour, wasting your money since 1997
- There is such a thing as society, it’s just not the same thing as the state
- Bye Bye Bureaucracy
So, let’s review them, shall we?
Firstly, ID cards and those HIP things aside, I can think of no scaling back of state control. Indeed, given the proposed We’re Going To Be Keeping An Eye On Everything You Do Bill, all I can see is more state control. Oh dear.
Secondly, well they’ve certainly stopped Labour telling people what to do. Oh yes, they’re doing it instead now. Want a say on the EU? Shut it, peasant.
Thirdly, if we’re all in this together, then where the hell was my ticket to Mexico for the G20? Perhaps it was because I might have been a bit rude to the mad Argentine woman? Anyhow it must surely go down as one of the most asinine slogans in political history. Really. They might just have well gone with ‘Tories: We’ll do some stuff*’
Fourthly, see secondly.
Fifthly, see firstly.
Sixthly, big hairy bollocks. Once again HIPS aside, you’ve done nothing.
Before any of you Tories out there start dropping the Lib-Dem bomb, I call bullshit. It was bullshit from the start, which is why I didn’t bloody vote for you. You really must think we’re stupid, and obviously many people are, but not as many as you’d hoped. I do hope this crushing realisation is brought home to you when you sit round the cabinet table and see Clegg, Cable et al gurning back at you.
I mean, you’re not as bad as Labour, but that’s like saying stoning to death isn’t as bad as crucifixion.
They really are a bunch of ‘tards, the lot of ‘em. All three parties.
*Stuff liable to change without notice due to our attitude, your attitude, the weather, if we managed to get our leg over last night and/or what we’re having for dinner.