It’s more or less official then – our schools are crap. No one will dare say this of course, though it’s long been obvious they turn out illiterate, innumerate and unemployable hordes we might once have used as factory and cannon fodder. Teaching the ones ‘equipped’ with qualifications at university is tough enough, though we gave that up long ago and went into extended child-minding mode.
It’s time for radical reform, but as most of us are the domesticated products of this system we celebrate the fact that an increasingly tiny number do any foreign languages by taking the credit for the numbers of children speaking other languages because they learn them at home. Current ‘answers’ include bringing in more specialist literacy teachers, and answer so barkingly obvious we should lose all faith in a system that couldn’t spark this off long ago.
It’s time to stop the rot. Our primary schools do a fair child-minding job and we should reform them to take kids at two and keep them until thirteen (the age my father left – he became a headmaster). Some staff from secondary schools would be redeployed in this, to get into basic literacy, numeracy and IT skilling and provide a real academic input for brighter kids and help with learning disability. Kids would all leave these schools at the end of what is currently year 2 in our secondary schools. These schools would remain small enough for the head and other staff to know the kids reasonably well.
At thirteen, we should stop regarding people as children in need of child-minding and instead insist on their development as adults. They should move into a programme of supervised work – my preference is for a form of international service across the EU and any other trading blocks prepared to sign up. Everyone should have to do this and should be paid for it on a scale reaching a living wage at 18.
The underlying idea should be to create resourceful human beings, not teenagers dependant on whatever trash, like i-Phones, that are ‘cool’ in their peer and advertising formed reference groups. Much of current post-13 education should be reformed to provide support and learning services based in home delivery and using modern techniques. Television and the Internet should be full of basic learning material for all interested to access.
What are now secondary schools (FE etc.) and universities should become a much greater part of the communities they are local to, including their sport and cultural functions. The way we deliver and assess achievement would have to change and we would have to encourage de-schooling attitudes and what we judge as academic success and employability.
Employability has to take into account what real skill levels are possible and provide work for them. We have to stop de-humanising people who can really do little more than fill in pot holes – much as I don’t want to teach such people complex frequency distribution mathematics, I do want to value them as I value myself as far as I can manage that.
One place for good jobs for those doing well through our best and public schools and university is the Bimbo Broadcasting Corporation (pretty much all current media). If anything demonstrates what our education system is really promoting, it’s surely these clowns and ten percent of people enslaving the rest of us through a massive accumulation of wealth. The dress well (who should care), speak well and network well – just like any set of vile exploiters in a medieval court, and the reporting is as biased to rich toadying and the entertainment still based in the royal soap operas levelled to the Queen Vic. This is more or less it. Good stuff is generally at the margins. If my own life review is anything to go by, the more education we’ve had, the worse things have become. ’Dad’s Army’ was hardly an Oxbridge product!
We are also schooling people to massive unfitness and who couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag. I want to see peace, but I’m not dumb enough to believe we don’t need to be prepared to defend a better way of life. I’d want to see out military involved in international service. Indeed, I’d like to see a ‘war footing’ to get these changes through – one directed to something other than our sad history in war itself, and to stop wars being organised by a tiny few as part of the way they exploit the rest of us.
I would largely go for an international service scheme to help us sort out the current economic mess that has us in debt peonage. There is no clever scheme that can do this – when economics makes sense it makes moral sense not a mathematical one relying on clown versions of human nature. We need some new belief.
What I’m suggesting is an increase in the educational content of life achieved by de-schooling. If we worry about welfare dependancy, I think we should worry about school dependency and the kind of ‘thinking’ that always crap bankers to think they are worth more than someone who fill in pot holes. We need to get away from one dollar one vote and bring about a system that doesn’t work on the fear of unemployment or the promise of great riches.
Finland has a much better school system than we have. We aren’t even smart enough to copy that!