Look around Britain at the moment, teenage mothers, childish television (I’m with Melvyn Bragg on that one), millions claiming all sorts of ludicrous benefits, and a distinct lack of education. As far as I can see, there are two sides to this problem.
Side 1 (Heads)
The government is proposing, once again, a new way to improve our education system. They have offices full of people, sitting behind their desks, drafting the latest scheme. The scheme will drastically improve the standards of our education system, and enable Britain to grow and proper, placing us back into the position we should occupy. “Now, we have consulted the experts, the staticians, and the spin doctors (after all this has to appeal to the voters), is there anyone else? Nope, don’t think so – let’s publish it!“
Remember your favourite teacher at school, everyone does. Miss Scott (now Mrs. McClusky) was mine. I actually started enjoying English, the Merchant of Venice took on a whole new meaning, she opened my eyes to the prejudices of the world, and taught me how to handle them. Anyway, I digress.
Do you think the government has bothered asking Miss Scott about the latest ‘improvement’ scheme? Of course not. They are quite happy to instigate new schemes and policies without actually asking the people, who will be expected to carry them out, if they will actually work.
Teachers these days have goals, and schools are placed into league tables. I used to work on a profit related pay scheme, and if I made my goals I got a bonus. If teachers reach the goals set, they get….more goals!! If they don’t reach them, they get ‘re-trained’, so they can achieve them next time. The criteria set for the ‘league tables’ is ridiculous in the extreme. Each school must fit the criteria. Period. Surely, individual schools should be graded individually. How can you grade one school against another? If one year’s exam results are good – the students have done well, congratulations. If the following year’s results aren’t as good, then the teachers or the education system are to blame.
Side 2 (Tails)
Quite simply we are already into second and third generations of non-education. It is too late for many kids, as their own parents suffer from apathy.
Yes, it is a vicious circle and kids today, living in the welfare state, have an increasingly difficult time getting a good education. This is not helped by parent’s attitudes. Let me put a picture in your head – Two mothers standing outside a shop, drawing on cigarettes, gossiping. Their kids running riot. One mother glances over at them, and says “Hey, stop that..” and returns to her conversation. The kids pause, and then continue what they were doing.
Why do these people have kids? They are obviously not interested in them, as the slightest diversion is all it takes for the child to be ignored (if Corrie is on for example…). These children are crying out for the attention the parents don’t give.
The rest of this is still brewing in my head – I’ll pick it up later on.
Addendum: I should point out that both my parents are teachers, Mum is a primary school teacher (infants), Dad teaches secondary school (young adults?) and my sister has just started University with the aim of….becoming a teacher. My view in this matter is probably tainted by what they have to say, but I make no apologies. I say it as I see it.