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October 26, 2005

An admission of failure? Surely not Mr Blair!

The announcement by our esteemed Secretary of State for Education, that her illustrious Party of champagne socialists and closet Marxist/Leninistas has yet again stolen something from the Conservative Party's repertoire, must surely be an admission that their sixty years of espousal of non-selective education is the disaster everyone else has been saying it is for years. What a pity that politicians seem to be genetically deficient in one vital area which is so important. They seem to be congenitally unable to say "sorry, we had that wrong!"

Perhaps this should be registered as a form of serious disability. It seems to be a universal feature of political animals everywhere I go, so I can only assume that it is something in the genes that causes otherwise nice and seemingly intelligent individuals to become politicians and immediately suffer a loss of common sense, decency and this all important ability to admit a fault. The ex-Labour MP, George Galloway seems to be a classic example of this - he is right and the rest of the world is wrong, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

The announcement in the Commons today that the government is planning to re-establish, sorry, re-invent, Grant Maintained Schools, releasing them from the constraints of the idiots who infest Local Authority Education departments everywhere, is a breathtaking piece of effrontery. After all, it was this shower of ideologically deficient morons who destroyed the Grant Maintained system in 1998 and who have, for sixty years now, screamed "discrimination" at the very mention of any suggestion that children learn better when in groups of the same ability. So we have suffered, and some children have had their educational opportunities destroyed, by the nonsense of "mixed ability" classes with the pace of progress dictated by the lowest IQ in the class, who was usually also the most disruptive!

Not unsurprisingly, the teachers unions have all come screaming out of the woodwork to condemn any suggestion of selective "streaming" or, indeed, of any form of parental choice or of the school actually having control of its admission policy, its curriculum or the nurturing of the brighter children. Heaven forbid that anyone should be seen to be brighter, or to be given a slight leg up in a world which runs, as it always has, on nepotism and the old boy network. Let's be honets here, the contacts one makes at school do have a major impact on the rest of your career - you will certainly have far better connections if you attend a private school such as Winchester, rather than Mr Blair's "bog standard" Comprehensive in Lewisham or Islington! Teachers should be in favour of ability selectivity, it makes their lives a heck of a lot easier if they have only to deal with a group who are all at more or less the same level of ability - dealing with a class which has both ends of the ability range is nightmare territory - it's damned difficult to soar with the intellectual eagles if you are lumped in with the intellectual turkeys! Only those who favour mediocrity in all levels of society could possibly see selective grouping for education as a threat.

This is the problem at the very heart of Socialist ideology. It assumes that the Biblical truth that they have so effectively divorced from its real meaning, that, "in the eyes of God, all men are equal", and spun it instead into a twisted version that "all men are of equal ability" and it is only "disadvantage and privilege" that prevent all from reaching their full potential. Any but the ideologically blinded can see at a glance that this is a patent nonsense - we are not all of equal ability. I am certainly no musician, no matter how hard I try, but I am able to do things my musician friends cannot. It does not diminish any one of us, rather our gifts compliment each others. I enjoy their skill in music while they enjoy the protection my work affords them and their wider audience.

Much as I despise this government and their chicancery, I am relieved to hear them at least tacitly admitting that the education system they have created must change, and must change to address the need to recognise that we all have different ability levels in different areas of life. Only when we rid ourselves of the last vestiges of this idiotic assertion that children of widely mixed ability can all learn at the same pace in the same way in the same environment, will we be able to create an education system worthy of the name.

The most worrying aspect is that Blair has declared he will step down soon, and his erstwhile successor is an avowed defender of the current disasterous system - despite himself being the beneficiary of the Public School (that means a Private and very expensive school for those outside the UK) system himself. I rather suspect that he will be unable to resist reversing this policy as soon as he seizes the reins of office from Blair.

Even if Brown doesn't wreck this policy, I rather suspect the Civil Service will ensure that it is watered down and restricted to ensure that they retain control despite what the public want. We shall have to wait and see whether there is any substance to this, or whether it is merely another bit of "spin" for the punters by this government of intellectually bankrupt charlatans.

Posted by The Gray Monk at October 26, 2005 09:19 PM

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