Sunday, February 7, 2010

Wrong, wrong, wrong

Vernon Croaker on Tory Schools proposals.
With no planning restrictions schools will be able to open... without the sort of decent facilities all children should have.
He doesn't get it, yes in an ideal world all schools would have all manner of facilities to educate children with, however this is about parental choice, not governmental regulation or what education authorities say is the minimum requirement.
If parents are happy enough to send their kids to a school that's based in the village pub/hall/pre-fab then that's up to the parents, most just want what's best for their kids, something that recent governments seem to have forgotten in their ever increasing politicisation and dumbing down of school children.

Croaker then goes to blow his entire argument out of the water by stating.
"Tory councillors agree with us, and growing evidence from Sweden, that this policy is not just un-costed, unworkable and unfair, but would also set back the big improvements in school standards we have seen over the last twelve years."
That would be the making exams so easy anyone can pass them? Or the steady rise in truancy? (Note the figures only go to 2007 because the government stopped the count then) How about the addition of useless lessons to the curriculum such as global warming, citizenship and Britishness (only available in England, go figure). Or there's the fact that the UK is tumbling down an international league table of graduation rates and now sends a smaller proportion of school leavers to university than the Slovak republic, Ireland or Portugal.

Education, education, education? Croaker should hang his head in shame at what the education system in the UK has become under Labour.

4 annotations:

English Pensioner said...

Most schools seem to have far more than the essential facilities to provide an education.
When I attended Grammar School, there were just three special classrooms, the physics, biology and chemistry laboratories. There was also a library and a gym.
Presumably these days they also need a computer room, but this probably replaces the library as students no longer know how to use reference books.
So what are these "decent facilities" that children must have?
What other facilities do schools actually need, as distinct from a long wish list?

tris said...

English Pensioner: I speak as a foreigner here, but how do you know that children can no longer use reference books. Here in Scotland they most assuredly can, although they, like me, often find that it is quicker, and that more accurate and up to date information is available online.

I say this because people far too frequently say, without any proof whatsoever, that children can't do any this or that or any of the things that THEY used to do; and it is said in a "put down" way.

There were always people who couldn't look up stuff; people who couldn't read and write. There's nothing new about any of that.

Additionally today there are many things that kids can do, that their parents could not.

That said, I tend to agree that a good teacher can teach without many specialist facilities. And yes, there are good and bad teachers the same as there always were. Good teacher only needs to foster interest, and a desire to know more.... and that can be done with genuine love and enthusiasm for the subject, from Biology to Latin; from Geography to Art.

Certainly I believe in the freedom for parents and children to make the choices themselves as long as the money is available to provide a variety of facilities.

English Pensioner said...

Tris ....
The trouble with on line information is that it has not been peer reviewed and there is no check as to its accuracy. Scientific/technical books are generally peer reviewed before a publisher will consider them. I recently was looking on line for the author of the well known saying "Oh what a tangled web we weave ......" and found it attributed to both Shakespeare and Sir Walter Scott!
All civilisations change their skills through the ages as their needs change. To say our children are cleverer because they can do things our parents couldn't do merely reflects the change in our way of life, not any increased brilliance on their part.
Of interest is the fact that our local Grammar School has recently "minimised" its "little used" library in order to make room for other "resources", according to our local newspaper!

tris said...

Fair enough English Pensioner, but you said that children no longer knew how to use reference books and that, in my excperience, admittedly in another country with another education system, is just not true.

Of course some of what you can find out online is not "verified" (I expect you are talking about Wikipedia), but much is. Indeed many organisations have websites, and much that could once be found in a book is now available on line.

It's not perfect, but then, neither are many books. My history books at school, for example, told a pack of lies and I'm forever noticing errors in books I read.

I agree with what you say here:

"to say our children are cleverer because they can do things our parents couldn't do merely reflects the change in our way of life, not any increased brilliance on their part".

But it was ever thus. I dare say you could do things that your parents could not do, and they things that it was never felt necessary to teach you. We can't go on learning the old ways or we'd still be learning how to write with a quill on velum.... LOL