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The Unexamined Life: AQA, Edexcel, OCR and the Covid Furlough Scam

Emmett Street

Simon Jenkins recent piece in Thursday’s Guardian is worth reading. Jenkins, a right-wing commentator, also happens to be one of the few genuine journalists left on that particular paper. In this rather bizarre piece, he opines that the cancellation of this year’s GCSE`s and A level exams provides a template for future educational policy.

This is interesting as the ramifications of the cancelled exam have yet to unravel and I look forward to reading Jenkins analysis of the situation in August given that hyperinflation of GCSE`s and A levels is likely.

Let us leave alone the strategies in place to award students with GCSE and A levels this forthcoming August. Suffice to say, results day, this August, will be devoid of the usual media hysteria. Filming students opening their exam results, losses something of the tension when the grade has been giving for an exam not taken.

I may be showing my age here but it`s a bit like climbing the steps of the old Wembley Stadium to receive the FA Cup when the game has not been played, before an empty stadium. A sterile experience and this year’s result day may be `marked` less by hysteria and rather more by student and parental anger.

How the exam boards are going to award qualifications this year is an issue for a separate article. Sufficient to say, the current Secretary of State for Education, Mr Williamson, is looking less and less competent. Even when it comes to dealing with this manufactured crisis.

Given that comparisons with the Second World War are all the rage, Williamson is more Lord Halifax than Winston Churchill and I mean no disrespect to Mr Edward Wood here. Halifax would be a Prince among men in the midst of this Parliamentary shower, who sold democratic oversight of the executive for a 10K bonus and 30K office expenses to work at home, not quite 30 pieces of silver but hopefully you see my point.

The awarding bodies for exams in the UK are an alphabet soup of multi-million-pound companies. Three of these – AQA, OCR and Edexcel (Pearson) – have been making some key decisions recently. The very lifeblood of these organisations is a massive army of Examiners. All are employed on zero-hours contracts, or are they?

Educators become examiners for a multitude of reasons. It is an important feature of their staff development. Examiners therefore can be in full-time work as teachers so the loss of any examining work is financially, little more than an inconvenience.

However, anyone reading comments by examiners on various educational chat forums will quickly realize that a great many people are almost completely reliant on the income to live, feed themselves and their children and pay mortgages over the summer.

These examiners work on zero-hours contracts as tutors or educators and subsidise this work with the payment generated by marking over the summer. These Examiners are often living on less than the bonus payment awarded to British Parliamentarians which was doled out to them in order to shut government down during the bogus crisis.

Examiners are not given any financial assistance to work from home, whereas UK MP`s – along with their bonus – were granted a 30K payment to make working at home easier. These paragons of democratic virtue are hardly going to care about highly qualified people surviving on a pittance.

So on the day that Simon Jenkins wrote his glib piece in the Guardian a real storm in the world of education was brewing. Mr Jenkins confined to his Ivory Tower would not of course have been aware of this.

On May 17 the education press reported that Pearson (Edexcel) would refuse to furlough there massive army of examiners. This was a decision that they came to after many months of consideration, they have been writing to Examiners expressing concerns about their health since the Covid opportunity crisis emerged.

The announcement that they were going to refuse to furlough staff came after the scheme had been extended and now covers just fewer than 8 million people. This was bad news for those working for Pearson but the article which reads like a propaganda puff piece for Pearson also carried some good news.

The company had decided that some of their senior Examiners (Principle Examiners and Assistant Examiners), while not furloughed, would instead receive a payment which related to their employment last summer from May to August. It was generous and showed a good deal of humanity from Pearson they would pay these non-furloughed staff 80% of last year’s earnings.

A precedent was thus set. It looked like those contracted by Pearson and who had carried out previous work for the company appeared to be in a reasonable position. Surely, it would go against the law of natural justice for an employer to differentiate between workers and not extend an equitable decision to its entire staff? What is more very few PE’s or APE actually do any marking, they write the paper and then with the assistance of a Team Leader run a cohort of staff to mark the scripts.

The real work is done completely and utterly by individual markers/workers employed at home reading hundreds of exam scripts online.

The work is monitored to an incredible degree by software designed to highlight any inconsistencies in the assessment process. It is slave labour and while it is vital work, it is completely and utterly unappreciated by both the public and it seems also by the employers themselves.

It looked like out of the goodness of Pearson`s heart a humanitarian and decent decision had been made. However, it is more probable that Pearson found themselves in a legal jam. While those employed as Examiners are on zero-hour contracts the legal position in terms of employment law is contentious and possibly actionable. Hence why Pearson dithered and delayed in making an announcement.

Its army of examiners had been contacted continually and informed last week that a decision was imminent and Examiners would be informed by 21 May. Pearson employs Examiners on a rolling contractual basis. The company holds the `employees` or `workers` P45 throughout so, therefore, each examiner remains on the payroll.

Furthermore, the significant degree of control that exists between Pearson and the Examiner might in an employment law context constitute the Examiner as something other than a `worker` on a zero-hour contract. Those, therefore, working for Pearson may actually have employment rights, which Pearson have violated.

This is because yesterday the company announced that it would breach its own precedent. They reinstated their decision not to furlough staff, but instead of extending the 80% payment promise it had made to some Examiners, would for the majority of staff only pay 20% of earnings generated last year between May to August.

Yesterday was a very busy day for the nation’s examination boards.

Just a few hours prior to the announcement by Pearson, AQA another multi-million-pound company informed their staff that they would not furlough staff. AQA had, it appears, kept its entire work base in the dark since the start of the Covid opportunity, sorry, crisis began.

AQA, unlike Pearson, would not even be making a derisory payment to some of its staff. AQA does not retain the P45`s of Examiners and hands them back every November (a factor that will no doubt influence future policy at Pearson). The AQA decision is clearly disgusting but in a strange way at least it is uniform, consistent in as much that it is unfair to all.

Paying a few people 80% of their wages whilst paying the majority of people who actually carry out the work only 20% is beyond disgusting.

Meanwhile OCR, the other key examination board and again a multi-million-pound company, has just announced that it has decided to furlough all its Examiners.

One wonders what our MP`s and Parliamentary Education Select Committee might say about all of this. Tragically, many examiners have written to their MPs and have indeed encouraged others to do the same. The multi-million-pound companies that run the examination business in the UK (and internationally in many respects) claim that they will in no way profit by the Covid “crisis”.

Like the crisis itself, that is a bright shining lie, and it is one that needs to be understood by everyone opening their predetermined letter containing bogus exams results this year. Because those results are also a lie.

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DeninBtn
DeninBtn
May 26, 2020 12:56 PM

Can you provide a link to MP’s being given a further 30K office expenses to work at home
I can’t find any reference to it. Thanks

Jim McDonagh
Jim McDonagh
May 25, 2020 2:17 PM

Good article thanks for it

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 25, 2020 11:12 AM

The following refers to experiments by U.S. education innovators in China in the 1910s. China was only ever a laboratory for western interests. Does this put current events in a different persepctive?

https://book.douban.com/annotation/34355932/ The following is a quote from The Underground History of American Education (2006) by John Taylor Gatto:

Listen to H.B. Wilson, superintendent of the Topeka schools:
The introduction of the American school into the Orient has broken up 40 centuries of conservatism. It has given us a new China, a new Japan, and is working marked progress in Turkey and the Philippines. The schools…are in a position to determine the lines of progress. (Motivation of School Work,1916)

Thoughts like this don’t spring full-blown from the heads of men like Dr. Wilson of Topeka. They have to be planted there.

The Western-inspired and Western-financed Chinese revolution, following hard on the heels of the last desperate attempt by China to prevent the British government traffic in narcotic drugs there, placed that ancient province in a favorable state of anarchy for laboratory tests of mind-alteration technology.

Out of this period rose a Chinese universal tracking procedure called “The Dangan,” a continuous lifelong personnel file exposing every student’s intimate life history from birth through school and onwards. The Dangan constituted the ultimate overthrow of privacy. Today, nobody works in China without a Dangan.

By the mid-1960s preliminary work on an American Dangan was underway as information reservoirs attached to the school institution began to store personal information. A new class of expert like Ralph Tyler of the Carnegie Endowments quietly began to urge collection of personal data from students and its unification in computer code to enhance cross-referencing.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, a small group of soon-to-be-famous academics, symbolically led by John Dewey and Edward Thorndike of Columbia Teachers College, Ellwood P. Cubberley of Stanford, G. Stanley Hall of Clark, and an ambitious handful of others, energized and financed by major corporate and financial allies like Morgan, Astor, Whitney, Carnegie, and Rockefeller, decided to bend government schooling to the service of business and the political state—as it had been done a century before in Prussia.

Jim McDonagh
Jim McDonagh
May 25, 2020 2:19 PM
Reply to  Moneycircus

The Hegel effect ultimately expressed by Marx etal remains within those who rule us relabeled of course.

Richard Le Sarc
Richard Le Sarc
May 28, 2020 10:12 AM
Reply to  Moneycircus

The racism and Orientalism knows no bounds. Those poor, stupid, Yellow Devils, so easily manipulated by the White Masters. Nauseating crap.

Admin1
Admin
Admin1
May 28, 2020 10:39 AM

@Richard Le Sarc Are you saying these things are not true? Or just throwing abuse at any fact you don’t like in your customary fashion?

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 25, 2020 8:07 AM

“Overproduction is tied to the concept of eugenics but also to schooling a new sub-class of worker, no longer educated to the level that produced the generations of inventors in America and Europe.”

Isn’t that exactly like paying people to stay at home receiving government money? Paid to do nothing, so long as they behave? Ask awkward questions, step out of line, and you lose your benefits.

Igor
Igor
May 25, 2020 6:32 AM

Here in USA, the land of participation trophies, they decided to hand out A’s to all students who were locked down and out of school. Regardless of their performance to date. Over half the school year was in the books. But no, give ’em all A’s, let Life sort them out.

An ‘A’ denotes merit for scholarship. An ‘A’ is more than a participation trophy.

It is as if the concept of Pass/Fail has been lost in the sands of time over the last 50 years.
A ‘P’ is a legitimate participation trophy.

Maybe their parents should receive the full pay that they would have received, had they been allowed to show up to work.

Nikoz Coleman
Nikoz Coleman
May 25, 2020 5:28 AM

I actually had mixed feelings when I heard schools were closed, I suppose because I, like many, had mixed experiences at school, both good and bad things, on the positive side most teachers work extremely hard in difficult situations and do try to engage students, and there are friends to make with your fellow students, however on the negative side too much of what was taught had no practical application in the real world, and too often there is a culture of bullying, I’m often surprised that bullying is found in most schools, although it varies, but that perhaps reflects the over competitive nature of both schools but also wider society, too bad grades aren’t given for how we treat each other !

I do feel that a serious reform of the national curriculum would benefit many : for history to have less of a euro centric and nationalist approach, but for us to consider world history from different perspectives. In studying religious studies I learnt nothing of islam, never heard of it then, could tell you nothing about Shia or Sunnis, there was no mention of buddhism Hinduism, atheism, agnostics paganism, confucianism, or luciarianism and so on, I’m not saying we should teach any one thing as right but teach objectively what others believe.

I understand that schools are secular today but one could still have a subject encouraging discussion of what is ethics, philosophy should be a core subject, as important as art, science or mathematics, and that it’s not taught at a young age is a shame because that’s how you learn to debate, by considering things from different perspectives. Fostering a good ethical outlook is important, what’s the point of intelligence anyway if it’s not beneficial, to actually serve a good cause ? A kind simpleton is always preferable to an intelligent monster, but an intelligently kind person better still.

I wonder whether through this experience many parents will want to embrace home schooling, that may depend on their ability and other commitments. Despite it’s many flaws I still think it’s sensible for children to learn with others, part of the educational development is learning to work, study and play together, and if social distancing were allowed long term it could have a serious impact on the social and emotional development of children.

I personally think it’s not just the job of teachers to be educators, that originally this was the role of parents and they extended family anyway, and they still have a vital role to play, although increasingly today with many families separated other friends of the family fulfill this role, that or perhaps cartoon, computer game and comic book characters.

Charlotte Russe
Charlotte Russe
May 24, 2020 10:00 PM

JUST A THOUGHT

The other day, actress Lori Loughlin and her husband agreed to plead guilty to a college admissions bribery scandal. Loughlin paid $500,000 to get her two daughters into the University of Southern California. Desperate attempts by the wealthy to gain acceptance into prestigious schools is nothing new. For decades, elites have donated millions to universities for that specific purpose. Family legacies always guaranteed admission, how else would George W. Bush receive a diploma from Yale, or Trump from the Wharton School. The wealthy’s path to prestigious universities begins early on via expensive private schools, or highly ranked suburban public schools. We can’t forget the array of tutors, guidance counselors, and college prep advisors all nurturing the well-to-do. The rest of the public is relegated to less prestigious but costly colleges leaving the working-class with a lifetime of student debt. Enter the coronavirus, college doors close and classes are conducted online. If they manage to open next semester, it’ll be a foreshortened school year with many curtailed activities. A steady diet of online courses will reduce the college experience to that of a fly-by-night university.

Many are gonna have second thoughts about spending a ton for an online degree. Will this result in colleges permanently closing. Will brick and mortar schools be a thing of the past, and suffer the same fate as neighborhood retail businesses. Perhaps, the bigger question is who will employ all future graduates if 40% of small businesses go bankrupt, and only a few multinational corporations remain. Perhaps, that explains the cavalier attitude towards reopening schools. Is an educated public essential. The ruling class only needs a well-educated population if it increases profits. Prior to globalization the
working-class were imperative for manufacturing goods, but that’s no longer the case. This was replaced with minimal skill low-paying jobs. However, COVID-19 changed all of that since restaurants, hotels, and most service industries are closed and might never reopen. Once the lockdown is lifted who will employ the jobless. And then what if the government claims there’s a second wave………….

Blubber
Blubber
May 24, 2020 8:57 PM

Haven’t people realised yet? We’re on our own. No one is coming on a white horse to save us. We are the people we’ve been waiting for.

1of7billion
1of7billion
May 24, 2020 8:45 PM

What needs to be understood about education, is our whole society and indeed world lives or dies based on how good and effective our education system is.

This statement needs serious thought that hardly anybody involved in government or decision making, or the public in general ever gives it.

What we have seen clearly in this lockdown is that both our government and much if not most of our science is composed of incompetent and mediocre people, who therefore in the case of the scientists conduct bad or seriously flawed and misleading research, and in the case of government, make bad 0r indeed disastrous decisions due to their inability to objectively assess if their scientists are reliable, and take into account the whole situation by considering all the other related matters, economic, social, mental health and so on, which are being affected by the lockdown.

This mediocrity and incompetence is not an accident or chance event, it is the outcome of a system, including educational, which does not have as its absolute centrepiece and guiding principle the awarding of qualifications and jobs on merit.

This has become far worse in the last 50 years of increasing “political correctness” influence upon the education system, which came to be known as “dumbing down”, though that has been in place so long that nobody seldom bothers to talk about it any more.

Likewise, this dumbing down of the education system, which incidentally is far easier at the university stage than at the school or college O level or A level stage, is no accident, but a policy deliberate pushed to further eliminate the principle of merit, to enable not very bright people, but having a particular political outlook (the political correctness one), to get qualifications – degrees in particular – that they don’t deserve on merit, which then disastrously enables them to get jobs they also of course don’t deserve on merit either.

This largely explains the mediocrity of our politicians and media members, almost all of whom have degrees in modern times, which incidentally was not always the case, and is incidentally no guarantee of such politicians or journalists having the far more important bus less teachable quality of commonsense, aka the ability to think independently.

It needs to be clearly borne in mind that degrees are no definite proof whatsoever that the possessor has any commonsense, or ability to think for themselves, as most degrees can be attained merely by turning up, writing a number or dubious essays, often plagiarised, and a certain degree of rote learning.

This being the case, to actually have any hope of restoring merit, exams if anything have to become far stricter, and if anything become the sole testing tool, rather than being eliminated by so called “continuous assessment”m which enables mediocre and/or politically motivated teachers and lecturers to pass mediocre people, and render the qualifications totally meaningless by lacking any genuine independent and objective testing.

Yes, of course nobody likes doing exams, apart from a total wizard in whatever subject, who more or less makes sport of them.

But surely it is precisely those very highly skilled and able people who can exhibit such “wizardry” whom we need in absolutely every subject, as these exams decide who are the people who hold all the key positions in society as “professionals” of some kind, such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists, teachers themselves, and from those elite classes are (or should be) drawn politicians/governors and civil servants.

Of course being a genuine top intellectual or academic does not guarantee one has the right ethics or morality for any job such as doctor, journalist or politician, but it does at least guarantee competence.

For right now, we are basically being ruled by people who cannot think clearly, cannot understand the needed science or statistics for example in this lockdown situations – quite frankly probably cannot even understand the arithmetic of what is happening in most cases, such that they can competently analyse the infection related statistics.

I mean to put it bluntly, who is it who you would rather have running our countries and lives – Einstein or Boris Johnson? Newton or Jess Phillips (a recent Labour leadership contender)?

As I said, I am not advocating necessarily the greatest intellects as the ones most suitable for leadership of nations, but they must at least have a very high standard of education, to enable them to competently understand the scientific and statistical issues that have now clearly become so vital to how our world is run, and also be very fluent in understanding legal matters, which are now also dominant in how our world is governed.

So without such strict standards of education based entirely on merit, which must be based on tough and strictly marked exam testings – for that is what real life is, we are all forced to analyze information and data and make difficult decisions and perform difficult tasks in a limited amount of time – we are going to get mediocrity in every field, and the corruption that tends to go with such mediocrity, to cover up the errors made by the mediocre, as well as the temptation to abuse the roles of those unfit by merit for those roles who come into power they were never fit to hold.

Which results in us then having incompetent teachers, incompetent university professors (e.g. Ferguson), lawyers, doctors, accounts, civil servants, scientists – you name it – all these people who we rely on to run and improve and make safe our world, treating us in hospitals, protecting our property or liberty by competence in law, teaching our children, designing all the technology our society needs, keeping our food and water plentiful and safe and so on and so on.

For that is the explanation of our whole national and world crisis – mediocrities holding all the power and seats of influence; envious but unfit persons who have taken positions they never should have been given on merit such as the “career politicians”, most of whom couldn’t competently run the proverbial in the brewery, whilst they have pushed the truly competent out of their jobs.

And of course, these absolute disgraces of so called journalists, so few of them even worthy of the name, who are supposed to be the guardians of the public from political abuse of power, but instead we find are rather aiding and abetting it, and acting for their own petty political interests instead of the good of the nation, and ultimately (they are so lacking in vision and true intelligence) even their own.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
May 25, 2020 1:58 AM
Reply to  1of7billion

Well stated 1 of 7.
I remember reading a book about thirty years ago (can’t remember the author’s name or the title) that covered the subject of ‘specialisation’.
The author posited that ‘specialists’ pretty much run the world.
Specialists in wealth generation, economics, law, politics, war, policing, health, education etc etc.
They all know a lot about ONE thing, but very little about everything else.
Tunnel vision, in other words.
The author suggested we need more ‘generalists’ to steer the ship.
Holistic and therefore empathic people who can see the big picture.

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 24, 2020 3:06 PM

Under cover of the Covid event society is being reshaped. Education is a part of the restructuring, along with the world of work and the monetary system. Compared to these tectonic shifts, the Covid scare and associated vaccine project are just one element. Even if coronavirus returned to its status as the ‘flu and all Gates’ projects were shelved tomorrow, these changes to society would remain.

Education is tightly tied to the digital ID and population control projects, as all three projects help shape the people in ways beneficial to the billionaire elite. The primary concern of the ultra wealthy is keeping their money and maintaining their status. Key to that is scarcity. J.D. Rockefeller coined the phrase “fossil fuel” not because it is scientifically accurate but because it reminds us of finality and thus scarcity and thus pushes up its price.

Overproduction, or economic dominance, is the ever present fear of the industrial elite, as the teacher and education thinker John Taylor Gatto said. You find the fear of overproduction behind their proposals in education, medicine, racial hygiene and eugenics.

The financiers explicitly wanted to end the early tradition of America that people would work for themselves. Competition from thousands of new inventors and entrepreneurs would make it hard to get financing for expensive machinery and harder to sell their products.

Overproduction is tied to the concept of eugenics but also to schooling a new sub-class of worker, no longer educated to the level that produced the generations of inventors in America and Europe. Two quotes are very telling.

“We want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.” ― Woodrow Wilson

At the University of Texas in 1933 Nobel prize winner Hermann J. Muller wrote his Genetics Manifesto, signed by 22 other scientists. Muller said the conscious guidance by the state of human sexual selection was called for. A project of racial hygiene, “in which scientific research shaped society. Can we develop so sound and extensive a genetics that we can hope to breed in the future, superior men?” he asked.

The shaping of the population for the needs of the billionaire elite comes full circle when you look at a quote Gatto presents on the plans to use schools themselves to limit the people’s horizons. In 1939 an executive director of the National Education Association said his organization would “accomplish by education what dictators in Europe are seeking to do by compulsion and force.”

More here: https://moneycircus.blogspot.com/2020/05/reshaping-education-work-and-money.html

sunset
sunset
May 24, 2020 2:47 PM

Blah, Blah, Blah- the universal education system forced on the world by fabians is junk. It was a little less junk in the days of universal employment, where people had a choice of education systems, apprenticeships were common, and school leavers with little formal paperwork could easily move between jobs.

Today it is one-size-fits-all, and the bringing to life of the lesson of the strawman from the Wizard of Oz (where the granting of a piece of paper by the Wizard suddenly gave the scarecrow ‘brains’- but I bet most of you missed that allusion in the book/film versions).

I went to a school where the ‘dumb’ kids were the ones who went on to be doctors – the ones that gave up maths after o-levels, and had zero comprehension skills in science. As a person who would be claimed to be an ideal match for the current system, I can clearly state it was pure sh-t. 95%+ of my time was wasted at both primary and secondary level. Subjects like music, history, geography, french, art and crafts were complete and utter wastes of time- *not* because the subjects are inherently pointless but because of the lousy and inefficient way in which they were taught.

Reading a few good books would be vastly superior to geography and history courses, and take far fewer hours. Art, music, crafts etc are a waste of time if not taught one-to-one with a direct account of the pupils talents and interests. English was maybe 10% efficient. The sciences and maths fared better, but I could have processed both in <30% of the time with more focused teaching.

My time was before high tech. Indeed myself and a handful of other kids actually introduced computer science to my school. The modern age of the computer should have revolutionised teaching by now- that it has not should trouble all of you.

A-levels suited me somewhat, but they are a lousy fit for the vast majority. The fabian classroom system is a terrible idea once ambition moves beyond simple imprisonment and indocrination.

Govenments should finance free textbooks of excellent content for all subjects known to Man. All scientific papers should be available online for free (and not via wonderful 'illegal' projects). The fabian extension of copyright periods to effectively forever should be reversed, and most corporate copyrights no more than 20 or 30 years. This would liberate an astonishing amount of media to the public in all forms.

People should be encouraged to be self-learning. Where kids are young enough to 'need' formal school 'prisons', the one-size-fits-all should be banned outside of ensuring certain basic skills like reading, writing and simple maths. Rote 'learning' should be almost entirely banned.

Modern equivalents to apprenticeships should be extensively introduced, so people can have safe known pathways thru early life that they can choose to follow for as long as they wish (or until they bump into their own limitations).

We are all different. The satanic fabian lie that states equality of outcome can be forced on society will end up hurting Humanity to a greater degree than any previous system. The best people should rise the highest without regard to their physical form, and if it so happens in any given field they do not represent a so-called 'cross-section' of society, so effing what?

Greatest happiness in the goal. Everyone feeling they they were given excellent ways of discovering the very best that lay inside them. No regrets, no feeling cheated or ignored by the system.

Anyone who bigs up the existing system, as the article above does, hates us all.

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 24, 2020 1:15 PM

Schools fall at the very first hurdle: they don’t teach you how to learn! That is because education is about developing your own personal powers of perception and schools don’t teach that.

Schools do schooling: one way for everybody. Schooling is what you do to fish so they all swim the same way.

Prince Ea sums up how schooling is designed to fail.

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 24, 2020 1:27 PM
Reply to  Moneycircus

Hat tip to my 10 year-old who introduced me to the rapper and education activist. Here’s another from Prince Ea, The People vs the School System: https://www.youtube.comprinc/watch?v=_PsLRgEYf9E

Cheezilla
Cheezilla
May 24, 2020 2:42 PM
Reply to  Moneycircus

Very good

nick weech
nick weech
May 24, 2020 6:32 PM
Reply to  Moneycircus

John Holt in the sixties said this: “How children Fail” and “How Children Learn”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Holt_(educator). He was mostly ignored…

More recently, John Taylor Gatto, RIP: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Taylor_Gatto#

We can see many, many examples of how the education system does exactly what it’s supposed to; dumb people down. Look at the current situation, where so many people are quite easily hoodwinked.

Ask yourself, why is this so? Is it because so many have been trained not to think critically?
Surely not …

Gwyn
Gwyn
May 24, 2020 6:47 PM
Reply to  Moneycircus

”What is school for?”

This question reminds me of this piece of writing by Emma Goldman:

https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/goldman/works/1917/ferrer.htm

Pyewacket
Pyewacket
May 24, 2020 1:13 PM

Forwards four months, to the start of the new Student year will be very bleak for some in our University towns and cities, if this is not over by then. Tuition fees, gone, Student’s accommodation demand, takes a big hit. There’s probably more, but the point is that for many places, the Student economy is a massive asset that could be relied upon, year in year out, maybe not any longer.

Cheezilla
Cheezilla
May 24, 2020 2:45 PM
Reply to  Pyewacket

I think this will kill my home town. The University is now the main industry.

breweriana
breweriana
May 24, 2020 12:43 PM

Might as well give the students a ‘pass’, just for turning up.

John Pretty
John Pretty
May 24, 2020 12:28 PM

A poorly educated population is much more easy to control and manipulate. Education is vital.

However, I think it is clear that our education system in the UK is in need of reform, but abolishing examinations is certainly not the way forward.

Unfortunately in my opinion the sort of education required and that has been missing is that which encourages children to challenge and question the wisdom of authority and that which encourages debate and respect for the views and opinions of others, whatever it is they believe.

And the sort of education that helps the young to be confident in themselves and to become healthy and well balanced adults.

I did well in the education system when I was at school in the 1980s and was disappointed when polytechnics were relabelled universities. Generally, with fewer exceptions polys were considered inferior to universities and it had been my dream to go to a university. Which I did.

Had there been no examinations, had it been easy to achieve good grades, what would have been the incentive for me to work hard and do well?

As it turned out I was not socially well equipped by my education, lacking in self confidence and quite withdrawn, and that ultimately led to my being unable to achieve as a young man my dreams of becoming a husband and father. It’s still an issue of difficulty in my life.

So it is not education in itself that is (or was in my day) a problem, or examinations, but the sort of education that we receive.

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 24, 2020 12:45 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

Teachers of old sometimes succeeded because they had broader experience – teachers were bigger characters back then – and less burdened by paperwork, they had opportunities to encourage and inspire away from the chalkboard.

You need experience, adventure, and explorations more than you need algebra! — John Taylor Gatto

https://youtu.be/CaVKKBCWYic

bob
bob
May 24, 2020 1:13 PM
Reply to  Moneycircus

this is a good point M – i remember doing my degree as a ‘mature’ student and at lunch time, with a friend, watching the teacher training crowd join the queue for food in the canteen – all of them 18 years old, having just left school and gone straight into education to be teachers so that when they qualify they can go back into schools – it was bloody horrendous – and this is the result!

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 24, 2020 3:26 PM
Reply to  bob

Some of my older teachers had gone to university after the war and entered teaching that way, so in earlier lives they had done things like commanded frigates (which gave rise to sniggers in the age of the Sex Pistols). Many of the teachers were the younger, creative sixties types, too.

But the icing on the cake was French teacher Mr Reid, whose father had escaped from Coldiz. We were lucky enough to have him visit, passing around one of the famous hand-made keys.

It’s not just about generations, though. Government goes through phases where they want to exclude experienced hires. They want raw meat. This happened in the Probation Service when people with real experience as matrons and ex-soldiers were dropped by requiring “modern paper” from the university paper mills.

John Pretty
John Pretty
May 24, 2020 7:29 PM
Reply to  bob

Most teachers have degrees. The exam in the 1990s was called the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).

There may be some exceptions, but certainly not in Secondary schools.

I would think your 18 years olds were probably in fact 21 year olds. They probably look much the same!

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 24, 2020 7:36 PM
Reply to  Moneycircus

I became a parent-governor not long after the era when “Local Management of Schools”” came in. In hindsight, I think this was the early part of the Tory Party’s policy of undermining local education authorities control over schools.

While it may have had some benefits, it seemed to lead to a great deal of “managerialism” among senior teachers. Suddenly, everyone was a manager of one sort or another. There was a “senior management team” which, together with the governors, was responsible for the school budget. I’m not sure if departments had their own budgets to worry about, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Then there were things like the National Curriculum, targets and tests forcing orthodoxy on everyone. Teachers had less and less time for actual teaching, and preparation for teaching. And Heads and Deputies literally had no time left for teaching.

Things have moved on an awful lot since then, although I would not say they have progressed. I would hate to be a governor or a teacher in an Academy school.

breweriana
breweriana
May 24, 2020 12:52 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

John

“in my opinion the sort of education required and that has been missing is that which encourages children to challenge and question the wisdom of authority and that which encourages debate”

It’s called ‘Critical Thinking’ and it is actively discouraged in the ‘education’ (Imperial Conditioning) system.

A book by L. Susan Stebbing, Author of Thinking To Some Purpose, explains.

One reason why teachers, as are police and MOD people are entitled to non-contributory pension schemes.

Haltonbrat
Haltonbrat
May 24, 2020 1:43 PM
Reply to  breweriana

I discovered in later life that my RAF Aircraft Apprentice colleagues from the 50/60s were very much critical thinkers. However they had been locked down into a 12 year contract with no linked pension except for those chosen to later serve 22 years or more or a period of 16 years for those chosen to be officers.
This lack of pension did change for those entering the RAF in the 70s but was not retrospective for others. Also, most regrettably, The RAF apprentice scheme was shut down in 1993.

hope
hope
May 24, 2020 1:14 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

The goal of education, increasingly a profit-making industry, has become equivalent to passing quantifiable
examinations, examinations that check that each spare part produced does indeed fit the
standardised technical norms. It has become a good for sale
as any other, the students its customers, its flagship the ‘Master of Business
Administration’ (MBA), instilling the spirit of competition, efficiency and productivity, the spirit to turn everything, from education to health care, into a
commercial product.

In the ‘knowledge economy’, at worst, science is taught both as a dogma
and as a recipe to be memorised and applied to solve standardised problems.
At best, students are left the freedom to set up their own experiments, but rarely are they made to understand how the concepts came to be elaborated, how their
definitions have varied over time and space to be what they are today, or the
extent of their appropriateness. They never veritably come to comprehend the
nature of scientific thinking. The very possibility of a different form of science
is never glimpsed.
All is done so the veritable questions never occur. As a result, researchers are forgetting to question, to question what they are doing, why they are doing it. In the
mass production system, not only are mercantile products standardised, but so
are human beings and their thinking patterns. This certainly does not promote
creativity and initiative, qualities essential for pioneering scholarship and technology, but instead breaks man’s spirit by forcing it within a static and rigid
framework.

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
May 24, 2020 1:41 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

abolishing examinations is certainly not the way forward.

Unfortunately in my opinion the sort of education required and that has been missing is that which encourages children to challenge and question the wisdom of authority

Are you even listening to yourself? The acceptance of subordination to authority is implicit in examinations. Here is a simple illustrative thought experiment: imagine a pupil sitting a history exam and they are asked a question about the Black Death. The answer to the question according to the examination body is: bubonic plague, but the pupil states correctly that it was not bubonic plague but some unknown infection. The pupil would be right. It is quite possible that the examiner might know that the pupil is right. But the result would be that the pupil would receive no marks for that question. To pass exams one pass to repeat what authority declares is knowledge.

John Pretty
John Pretty
May 24, 2020 6:59 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

“The acceptance of subordination to authority is implicit in examinations.”

Steve, if you or any of your loved ones require a heart transplant I can recommend my brother in law. he’s a local butcher and an absolute genius with a knife. Boning hams his speciality, but I’m sure your family’s hearts would pose no problems for him.

Why bother with heart surgeons? Obviously massively overpaid toadies to authority.

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
May 25, 2020 11:46 AM
Reply to  John Pretty

John, You do know that the topic is school examinations? However, to address your point directly. No heart surgeon’s expertise is the result of studying for and passing examinations. That expertise is the result of learning and practising technical skills. Such skills are most effectively acquired by experiential learning, the very antithesis of what examinations test for.

Alan Tench
Alan Tench
May 24, 2020 12:12 PM

Minor point, but let’s get the terminology right. Students go to university or college. Pupils go to school.

Moscow Exile
Moscow Exile
May 24, 2020 12:42 PM
Reply to  Alan Tench

And you don’t “graduate” from school either, as they seem to do in the USA.

Haltonbrat
Haltonbrat
May 24, 2020 1:45 PM
Reply to  Moscow Exile

We “passed out” from our Apprenticeship.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 24, 2020 7:42 PM
Reply to  Alan Tench

“Students” has been the accepted terminology in secondary schools in the UK since at least the 1990s in my experience. I actually prefer it since it reflects a willingness to treat them like adults.

Alan Tench
Alan Tench
May 24, 2020 11:13 PM
Reply to  Mike Ellwood

Yes, I notice secondary school teachers push this terminology to extremes. I have to disagree with you about the merits or otherwise of it. Still, it’s better than the constant reference to children as ‘kids’ that we now get throughout the media.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 25, 2020 3:47 PM
Reply to  Alan Tench

It may not be appropriate for 11-year olds, but certainly is for, say 6th formers, some of whom may be coming up to their 19th birthday by the end of the 2nd year sixth (Year 13) (as I was, as it happens – birthday in September).

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
May 24, 2020 11:32 AM

All school examinations ought to be abolished.

Paul too
Paul too
May 24, 2020 1:54 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

As long as what they’re replaced with is better. Continual assessment makes it less of a once a year memory test, and more a measure of sustained effort albeit far more open to abuse.

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
May 24, 2020 2:03 PM
Reply to  Paul too

School examinations do not need to be replaced.

By the way, assessment is integral to teaching. Any (competent) teacher is continuously assessing the learning of their pupils.

bob
bob
May 24, 2020 11:30 AM

Yet more evidence of corruption in the ‘system’ but hey, this is what we are paying for isn’t it?
No point in writing to MPs as they do not believe they’re accountable to anyone except ‘the party’ anymore – they don’t reply to the public (their constituents) anyway so it’s a one way street – talking to yourself!

More evidence of corruption here:

https://twitter.com/Thistleman1971/status/1179065694710910976

and here

https://twitter.com/Thistleman1971/status/1179065694710910976/photo/1

yes, even Scottish labour have their spies

https://twitter.com/mikeukc/status/1263146215224627200

Michael Hartley
Michael Hartley
May 24, 2020 11:22 AM

Is it not the case that the actual Education part is worth far more than the so called examinations and “Grading System” – The Grades are only useful for that year only and cannot be compared to other years.
The Education is invaluable and remains with you for life regardless of selection for that years Higher Education.

Skeptic
Skeptic
May 24, 2020 10:53 AM

I was teaching A-levels at a college on a zero-hours contract. The day after the government´s announcement that schools would close, I was informed that I was no longer needed (I knew my boss was looking for the smallest chance, she hates me). A week later, I was contacted (by a sweet-talking boss) to ask me if I could teach online (the “specialist” teacher that she hired earlier, her uni friend, confessed: she didn´t have a clue). I agreed, because I love my students, I love teaching and I needed the money.

Well, I haven´t been paid since mid-April. But I am constantly reminded that I am “part of a team” and that I should collaborate with marking their coursework, determining predicted grades, contacting parents, and helping students with their applications to university. Of course I will.

The fancy college, who just bought a new building in the City of London, charged handsome tuition fees well before March. It didn´t have to pay for utilities, security, maintenance, etc., to keep the campus open. But they couldn´t wait two seconds to essentially fire me (without having anyone able to teach what I teach…) and many others.

I am reckoning that the “pandemic” was very lucrative for them as well, and that contracts like mine will become the norm. I am being told I am one of the “lucky ones”.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
May 24, 2020 11:07 AM
Reply to  Skeptic

The virus is not our enemy.
It’s the FUCKING PARASITES.

hotrod31
hotrod31
May 24, 2020 12:55 PM
Reply to  Skeptic

In the Australian (NSW) education system, ’tis the supervisory ‘class’ who are the total cretins, as it appears to be the shiite which rises to the ‘top’.

Skeptic
Skeptic
May 24, 2020 1:12 PM
Reply to  hotrod31

Indeed. In my case, a head of department was hired because I admitted that I wanted to focus on my teaching and my freelance creative work.

But in few months this woman spent thousand of pounds in useless equipment (bought from her friends), completely changed my relationship with students (innovation, fresh starts, she called them) and hired another teacher (her uni friend) to split the course with me while sidelining me and propagating rumours about my “lack of commitment”. A power grab while silly me was thinking about students needs.

She completely destroyed the department while getting all the credit for what students still achieved. Her obsession with grades and government guidance made her completely oblivious to what teaching really is and the department is heading for a disaster. But somehow she ended up being the indispensable oner. There are rumours that she will be doing the same kind of excellent supervisory, administrative work throughout the college, if it ever opens again.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 24, 2020 7:49 PM
Reply to  Skeptic

The scum usually rises to the top.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 24, 2020 7:48 PM
Reply to  Skeptic

I believe there are zero-hours contracts being used in university teaching now. Astonishing.

I know one at one London University college, industrial action was being taken because of it (and possibly other issues). Interrupted by the “Covid-19” saga, of course.

bob
bob
May 24, 2020 10:49 AM

End-The-Lockdown
@CoronaDoubter
Pascal Soriot CEO of Astrazeneca implying on #marr that they are struggling to find anywhere where they can find enough cases of #COVID to test their vacinne

its over !!

come on Boris & co admit it and let us get back to work and try and save something

#endthelockdownuk

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
May 24, 2020 1:11 PM
Reply to  bob

Bob – you don’t test vaccines on people who already have a diseases to see if it goes away.

Did you finish med school?

JudyJ
JudyJ
May 24, 2020 2:50 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

I heard about this issue on the radio the other day. It was explained that a key element of vaccine trials is to bring the human vaccine guinea pigs into normal social contact with people who are infected. Without this, any trial is incomplete. The researchers are presently unable to find sufficient numbers of people with ‘confirmed’ Covid-19 to introduce to the guinea pigs.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 24, 2020 7:52 PM
Reply to  JudyJ

Do you remember the programme name Judy, or was it on the news?

I’ll have a browse on the BBC Sounds schedule to see if there are any likely programmes running at the moment on Radio 4.

JudyJ
JudyJ
May 24, 2020 9:26 PM
Reply to  Mike Ellwood

Mike

I think it was just mentioned on the brief ‘top of the hour’ news summary on Radio 2. But I have just found this Guardian article which refers to the issue in more detail.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/24/uk-scientists-want-to-infect-volunteers-with-covid-19-in-race-to-find-vaccine

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 25, 2020 3:49 PM
Reply to  JudyJ

Thank you Judy.

Cheezilla
Cheezilla
May 24, 2020 2:57 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Did you watch the programme?

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
May 24, 2020 3:58 PM
Reply to  Cheezilla

I don’t watch propaganda.

Marr is the goto sunday man for that.

Cheezilla
Cheezilla
May 24, 2020 6:32 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

It was very entertaining watching him repeatedly spear Grant Shapps. I agree he’s been completely toothless recently but maybe there’s a glimer of hope ….

bob
bob
May 24, 2020 4:13 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

dung – i worked in all disciplines of pathology and specialised in haematology – how about you?

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
May 24, 2020 10:30 PM
Reply to  bob

That’s great to know ‘bob’ but did you finish Medical School?

In all your work with all your experience did you learn how vaccines are supposed to work on people who were ALREADY infected previously?

Do tell or give us a link to follow up – i’m most interested.

Cheezilla
Cheezilla
May 24, 2020 2:56 PM
Reply to  bob

I found it somewhat anomalous. He repeated it several times too and I was surprised Marr didn’t probe deeper. As you note, the virus is all but over. Just needs Boris and co to have the guts to explain that to the great brainwashed.

Edwige
Edwige
May 24, 2020 10:39 AM

Examining is more piece-work than zero hours. They are paid by the number of scripts marked, not the time spent on them.

The racket whereby chief examiners who write the mark schemes can also write textbooks that give the answers those mark schemes want is another part of the system that stinks. The British ruling class have always had utter contempt for notions of conflicts of interest.

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 10:39 AM

Simon Jenkins wrote a book called “Thatcher ad Sons” where he noted that PM’s Major, Blair and Brown were just following in her footsteps. Big surprise! What was more of a surprise is that Jenkins approved of this since he didn’t think that Thatcher “went far enough”. There is also a most entertaining chapter called “The Sorry Seventies” which starts:

The Seventies have a reputation in twentieth-century British history as second in gloom only to the Great Depression. Most generations look back on their youth as a time of comfort, security and hope. Those whose youth lay in the seventies tend to the opposite view.

Well – I was one of those Godforsaken ones whose youth lay in the Seventies. Do I remember a time of rat-infested bedrooms, bathing in sewage water and desperately sucking the last traces of soup out of the carpet? Ummmm……not really.

But the real jaw-dropper is that bit about the Seventies being “second in gloom only to the Great Depression”? Let’s just pause for a moment and consider the implications. I seem to recall a couple of trifling little events in the Twentieth Century usually referred to as World War 1 and World War 2. Would Jenkins have us believe that the kids were singing and dancing in the streets as their dads and brothers were sent off to the trenches and later at the prospect of fascism taking over the world? But of course, these are minor issues compared to the working class getting a bit uppity!

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
May 24, 2020 11:36 AM
Reply to  George Mc

Britain in the 1970s was less unequal than ever before or since.

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 12:37 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

The 70s has become an ideological battlefield. In some ways it is similar to the 60s i.e. during those decades, regular people became uppity and went on protests. The ruling class at the time were disturbed by such insubordination and worked hard to re-image it as an indication of selfish hedonism (sex and drugs etc.) The 60s had a glamorous front that was good for business so it was OK to regurgitate as long as the aforementioned trivialisation was enforced. In this respect, it is fascinating to watch a 60s show like “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh In” which presents the US as one big happy family where celebs were happy to join in. Morecambe and Wise were to repeat the formula later for the UK in the 70s.

But the 70s were a more industrially confrontational time. The army were on standby during Heath’s fight with the miners. Heath lost and the ruling class made damn sure that never happened again. Thus Thatcher’s govt was well prepared for the 80s miner strike.

But note the difference in presentation: the 70s is seen as a grim dreary time, the 80s as dazzling glamour (even as the war with the miners was ablaze!) Jenkins is part of that demonisation of the 70s and it says a great deal for the class interests being served that he is prepared to pass off the 70s as grimmer than the two world wars!

You will also note how nowadays the ruling class has seized on the popular appeal of protest. Any such “dissenting” movement that is highlighted by the media is, by the very fact of such highlighting, a purely mainstream affair. Thus, Greta and Extinction Rebellion. Thus, also the demand to keep the lockdown going.

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
May 24, 2020 1:12 PM
Reply to  George Mc

And BrexShit?

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 2:06 PM
Reply to  Dungroanin

Oh sorry – I forgot to mention Brexit. OK – here goes: “Brexit”.

Cheezilla
Cheezilla
May 24, 2020 3:01 PM
Reply to  George Mc

I was in my 20s during the 1970s and it certainly wasn’t anywhere near as depressing as life became after Thatcher took over in 1979.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 24, 2020 8:06 PM
Reply to  George Mc

I was a teenager in the 1960s, with no responsibilities, so naturally it was mostly fun (although in a small provincial town, we didn’t see so much of the sex or drugs, but did manage a fair amount of rock’n’roll, and pre-CAMRA-era keg beer and cheap lager).

Although I was at work from the late 60s, I still didn’t have any real responsibilities until the late 70s, so the 70s for me were much like the 60s, plus, my first guitar, my first car, and my first, well, let’s say a number of new experiences.

Of course, one couldn’t completely ignore what was going on politically and I can remember thinking how incompetently Callaghan seemed to be handling things. (With hindsight, I no longer think that was a fair judgement, but such is callow youth).

But on the whole, apart from how it ended, I don’t think the 70s was such a bad decade, and for me personally, it was pretty good.

One thing I have noticed is the number of people who blame a Labour government for the Three Day Week, when of course it was Ted Heath’s Tory government who were responsible for that.

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 8:39 PM
Reply to  Mike Ellwood

You always have to distinguish between the reality and the presentation e.g. the 60s was all “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” and the 80s was a time of “straight-laced reaction”. But changes in society take time to percolate downwards. For the vast majority, the 60s was very like the 50s. Just because there was the birth control pill, that didn’t mean all the women suddenly turned into sex maniacs and everyone started having orgies. And the mass media and entertainment field was primitive compared to the 80s when the changes had really set in.

John Pretty
John Pretty
May 24, 2020 12:15 PM
Reply to  George Mc

I grew up in the 1970s and have generally fond memories of it.

But on the news there was the endless threat of nuclear war with the USSR and in general paranoia (propaganda) about Russians. There was the ever present issue of Northern Ireland and the seemingly endless bickering between unions and government in the motor and coal industries. I really don’t miss that union militancy at all.

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 12:45 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

As with my post above, the confrontation with the unions was presented by the media who naturally have always been in the grip of the ruling class. I recall one reviewer on Amazon talking about the 60s “and all that ugly protest”. Note that it’s the protest that’s ugly – not what the protesters were against which the reviewer probably didn’t even know about.

John Pretty
John Pretty
May 24, 2020 7:18 PM
Reply to  George Mc

I was still at primary school in 1979, but I would have voted Labour if I had had the vote back then.

I still don’t miss that union militancy.

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
May 24, 2020 1:03 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

All that trades union “militancy” resulted in the bottom ninety percent of the population receiving over seventy-two percent of the income in 1978. It had never before and never since been so high. Trades union activity has been a major force for reducing inequality. What we need is more, not less, trades union “militancy”.

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 2:13 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

And note how it’s only one side of the economic struggle that is “militant” with its associated words like “stubborn”, “aggressive”, “unreasonable” etc. Let’s project this into the future: when (if?) the lockdown stops, you can be damned sure that the public services are going to get hammered. And we’ll see a lot of rightfully angry public sector workers up in arms. And they will not be “polite” about it. But of course, the other side will consist on lots of posh people sounding calm and reasonable. And this is how the presentation will go: downright nasty proles against awfully nice decent toffs.

Steve Hayes
Steve Hayes
May 24, 2020 4:24 PM
Reply to  George Mc

George Mc It will be (depressingly) ironic to see and hear the howling and wailing against the coming austerity from people who fully supported the “lockdown” measures that have already done more economic harm than the 2007/8 financial crisis, which was used to justify a decade of austerity.

John Pretty
John Pretty
May 24, 2020 7:22 PM
Reply to  George Mc

Are there any “toffs” these days?

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 8:31 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

Of course there are “toffs” but they are much more sassy and media hip nowadays. Thus can BoJo present himself as a regular down-to-earth guy.

John Pretty
John Pretty
May 24, 2020 7:20 PM
Reply to  Steve Hayes

As I said to George, I would have voted Labour in 1979 had I been able to vote.

It should be remembered that Labour was built on the working class unions, yet they, with their endless 1970s militancy brought down a Labour government in 1979 and ushered in a decade of Thatcher.

The unions only had themselves to blame.

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 8:28 PM
Reply to  John Pretty

The Labour Party was formed through worker “militancy” but the party was only ever there to give a “prole sheen” to the government i.e. the difference between Labour and Tory was purely a matter of presentation. Everyone thinks of Thatcher as “the bitch” that ruined our lovely balanced political spectrum but the turn to neoliberalism was already on the cards when Jim Callaghan – a Labour leader – told the TUC that “the party was over”. The only difference that Thatcher made is that, as part of a Tory govt, she could then OPENLY privatise everything.

Grafter
Grafter
May 24, 2020 10:36 AM

Taking a wider view there can be no doubt that the government has played a blinder with their 80% wage furlough scheme. They have reduced the workforce to a passive, uncomplaining irrelevance whose weekly routine features a trek to the supermarket followed by long spells sitting on the couch watching what passes for entertainment on their TV screens. Meanwhile back in political la la land we have our indispensable MP”s being awarded £10k for “working from home” plus another £30k for “expenses” on top of their meagre salaries. So for the time being it would appear that the dam has not burst and the spectre of riotous mobs running amok seeking retribution on those behind the fear pandemic has been successfully avoided. Their vaccine solution with the help of a compliant and corrupt media will now gain traction and the big syringe filled with god knows what awaits us all.

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 10:27 AM

I would say that the title of the Jenkins piece has ominous implications all round:

If we can do without GCSEs and university exams now, why go back?

I think it will be recycled as

If we can do without (Fill in whatever you want to get rid of) now, why go back?

In my area, day centres for disabled adults have been targeted for elimination for decades. That move has always been strenuously resisted by the local community. Ah – but now, since the centres have been closed and the staff redeployed to residential care …..well, there’s an excellent opportunity!

kenny gordon
kenny gordon
May 24, 2020 10:16 AM

…education (n):-
“1530s, “child-rearing,” also “the training of animals,” from Middle French education (14c.) and directly from Latin educationem (nominative educatio) “a rearing, training,” noun of action from past-participle stem of educare (see educate). Originally of instruction in social codes and manners; meaning “systematic schooling and training for work” is from 1610s.”

…educate (v):-
mid-15c., educaten, “bring up (children), to train,” from Latin educatus, past participle of educare “bring up, rear, educate” (source also of Italian educare, Spanish educar, French éduquer), which is a frequentative of or otherwise related to educere “bring out, lead forth,” from ex- “out” (see ex-) + ducere “to lead,” from PIE root *deuk- “to lead.” Meaning “provide schooling” is first attested 1580s. Related: Educated; educating.
According to “Century Dictionary,” educere, of a child, is “usually with reference to bodily nurture or support, while educare refers more frequently to the mind,” and, “There is no authority for the common statement that the primary sense of education is to ‘draw out or unfold the powers of the mind.’”

…i posit that this is the primary responsibility of parents and to abandon this responsibility to the Prussian Education System is disastrous folly…and they reward the “best Performers” by sticking a square on their heads….!!!!!

Thom
Thom
May 24, 2020 10:07 AM

You have to feel sorry for the good souls faithfully obeying Johnson’s commands to ‘Stay Home’ while his own henchman was driving hundreds of miles to visit family.
The only question is how and why Cummings’s bosses at the intelligence agencies let it come out.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 24, 2020 8:09 PM
Reply to  Thom

Or why they shopped him….?

Dungroanin
Dungroanin
May 24, 2020 9:41 AM

A suitable subject for todays sermon!

Public Education was set on its way as a private enterprise since 1980’s.
Keith Joseph was the odious architect tasked with creating the concentration camps from nurseries to tertiary education.

It marked the retreat from the high-water mark for comprehensive education and student grants, and polytechnics and apprenticeships.
One of the pillars of Socialist Democratic gains WON by the People as part of the post war covenant.

It has been a downhill Americanisation of privatisation for profit from public service, dumbing down, depoliticisation and everyman for himself ethos since then – culminating in the abandonment of a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD ethos of the EU and the hard BrexShit we are being prepped for.

Nuffield led the way. Pearson share price bouyed when they went ‘into’ education. That is how private companies got set up to do examinations. Ofsted was the stick – Chris Woodhead , the chosen psychopath to deliver the new slavery, allowed to flip feim Tory to NuLabInc and carry on his wirk without a blip. Adonis likewise from Liberal wonk to Tonys high command bunker and straight to the Lords (never having won a election!)

It’s a toffs world. Where a century or so ago, the youngest toffs (who wouldn’t inherit the castle and title) ended up in the Church. Handy stipend and housing for life and promotion chain to Bishop including their own palaces, etc – pillars of state with their brothers in the military and naval services.

Look at the likes ofToby Young coining it from Foundation schools.

The entitled little cherubs! They are also farmed out to the media – BBC had long been their nepotists pig sty. All the fashion and lifestyle mags; the columns in the papers (Bozo was promoted there early to his high profile), and of course, with the rise of the internet – any number of social media sites (artificial promoted).

Most insidiously now, the alt-news sites – which seem to land like bombs daily around us. Nowdays they have to give ‘jobs’ to the girls as well as boys!

‘Equality darling, feminism sweetie, let the proles slave lets have a bolly before lunch’

Plus ça change – the more it stays the same!

So it goes with the ancient aristos and their banker overlords.

Amen.

martin
martin
May 24, 2020 9:20 AM

So Examiners are on the Dole. Redundant, at least they won’t make trouble. Reminds me of the ‘80s when we put the daily closures and redundancies on the News every night. Perhaps you wondered why. Simon Jenkins is telling you the truth. We don’t need exams, interviews are far more reliable and you can always shortlist based on what school or uni you went to. Oxbridge entrance is (was?) two Es at A-Level. Nobody is stopping you putting your iphone down, reading books and actually educating yourself. Much good will it do you. Of course exams were about making it fair for the underprivileged but they still came bottom. What about doctors and engineers you say? I have news for you…….can you spell covid?

George Mc
George Mc
May 24, 2020 10:28 AM
Reply to  martin

So Examiners are on the Dole. Redundant, at least they won’t make trouble.

Oh I don’t know about that. They could give you a bad mark!

Loverat
Loverat
May 24, 2020 1:11 PM
Reply to  George Mc

I suspect there are one or two here to keep us on our toes pointing out our spelling mistakes (there and their) or incorrect terminology (students versus pupils)

Cheezilla
Cheezilla
May 24, 2020 3:21 PM
Reply to  Loverat

They’re just pedants, whatever their occupation.

Willem
Willem
May 24, 2020 8:45 AM

Students should sue schools and academia for not getting an education.

The reason why students may not do this, is because the exams are made so easy (also before this Covid thing started) that you can pass exams without having to learn for it.

Only after their education, students learn that their credentials aren’t worth much. Not to worry though: the diploma’s are still useful as they give you a pass into a workforce, that is all.

What would save much time, money and hypocrisy is when schools and universities would sell diploma’s at the gate. It’s actually all they are doing anyway.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 24, 2020 8:14 PM
Reply to  Willem

We have that system in the UK House of Lords; well, they don’t directly sell seats; you have to donate to one of the political parties, but it amounts to the same thing.

Thom
Thom
May 24, 2020 8:41 AM

Good piece, except that ‘Sir’ Simon Jenkins has long been an obvious government shill – writing those kind of ‘maybe-it-wouldn’t-be-so-bad’ type articles about the policy of the day in an attempt to fool the progressively inclined.
As for the issue of education, one of the most worrying aspect of this coronavirus panic has been how readily education has been junked as a political priority. Where is Tony ‘education, education, education’ Blair and all the other politicians pledging similar?
But I’m afraid to that young people will also need to start to stand up for their rights in the old-fashioned way. They’re not going to get an education simpering behind masks at a two-metre distance waiting for the latest government meme to appear on their phones. Let’s be fair, though – many other sections of society are going to have to do the same.

Fair dinkum
Fair dinkum
May 24, 2020 6:17 AM

Let’s face it. Education in most parts of the world is all about preparing children for a life of thoughtless/heartless consuming.
I shop, therefore I am.

Novicurious
Novicurious
May 24, 2020 9:58 AM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

I do sometimes wonder how people would have reacted if the lockdown had occurred in December and the government had essentially cancelled Christmas – would the masses have tolerated the decision so well? Especially with crap weather and no sunbathing opportunities to put a silver lining on being furloughed.

breweriana
breweriana
May 24, 2020 1:00 PM
Reply to  Novicurious

They cancelled Easter.
I believe Christmas is next.
They make the Puritans look like bandits.

Mike Ellwood
Mike Ellwood
May 24, 2020 8:16 PM
Reply to  Novicurious

Absolutely. They were dead lucky with the weather; at least in England. Half-hour or more queues in wind, rain, hail and snow would not have gone down well at all.

Cheezilla
Cheezilla
May 24, 2020 3:25 PM
Reply to  Fair dinkum

And for the young, being childminded so your mum can go out to some minimally paid job.
For the older, keeps them off the unemployment stats.

Sam
Sam
May 24, 2020 5:36 AM

Pearson (Edexcel) would refuse to furlough there massive army of examiners

This and many other “massive” gaffes (ex: is it “examiner” or “Examiner”? Make up your f–king mind!) made this piece nigh-on impossible to read…. #SMH

Moneycircus
Moneycircus
May 24, 2020 6:02 AM
Reply to  Sam

Reads quite smoothly to me. By the nature of the topic the article has to repeat/compare some pretty dry material regarding contracts but the author illuminates a controversial corner of the employment world.

Tutisicecream
Tutisicecream
May 24, 2020 4:58 AM

A good vignette into the real agenda behind the “Brave New Normal” – the sacking of large swathes of the workforce. A sacrificial slaughter at the alter of capital. What is particularly odious about this aspect is that education is the future and in a progressive society more resources need to be put into it – not less.

Jenkins is a salaried idiot whose epithet of “a Guardian Columnist” indicates that many who write for the rag are now most probably not. If this is his belief in the future of our children and society as a whole this is crazy and such ideas are so very dangerous and need to be challenged and knocked down.

As with all revolutions the tension is along class lines and this 3rd or 4th industrial revolution [depending on how you recognise your technologies] is no different. It is not about the wonderful new technology, it’s about how it is used. All tools are double edged, they can be used for good or bad, to aid survival and/or be used to kill.

Finally this new attempted cull by a ruling class [globally] is no different than previous ones throughout history; the question is, who can win the battle of ideas and who shares the benefits?

Tutisicecream
Tutisicecream
May 24, 2020 5:05 AM
Reply to  Tutisicecream

Post script:

Jenkins says in his opening paragraph, “There are some blessings to Covid-19, and one may yet be to liberate education from the dictatorship of “the test”.” Clearly he does not see the dictatorship of government via Covid 19 on the general population!