The first in a series of manifesto items for the rootcause party (which doesn’t actually exist, but should).
The three R’s would come back, immediately. Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic.
Anyone, that means anyone, declaring that it is not important to be literate and numerate will be discarded. If this person happens to be in a position of authority he should be immediately sacked and given ten years of roundabout-planting duty outside primary schools.
Any other form of education starts once the three R’s have been mastered. There is no point educating people in what comparative religions are, or what they are for, nor training them to be anything beginning with ps or ph, nor indeed anything else, until they have a grasp of the principles from which all of these other things will start to come.
Streaming, the mechanism whereby people of differing abilities are separated, will be brought back. There is a fundamental reason for this: all people are not born equal. The expression is “all people are born equal in the sight of God” and God doesn’t care whether they can read, write, add up or even walk in a straight line, if at all. But education, correct me please if I’m wrong, is the tool which prepares one for what lies ahead, which is life. Life is not free unless you are a bird, fish or animal of any kind, wild or domesticated. Humans don’t naturally co-exist as a philanthropic society, they vie. They argue. They aspire. All are not equal because, if they were, they would all be CEO’s of banks and all earn ten million pounds per year. People who can’t do the three R’s will not get very far up the ladder which one must climb to get to the CEO’s luxurious office on the top floor.
However, nature proves not to be capricious, it seems. In my humble job up the middle of the pecking order I meet people from the top and the bottom alike (mainly in the smoking shelter, thanks to Bliar). The ones at the top are often struggling, often scared, often pole turtles (see pole turtle picture below if you are not familiar with the term), and some are quite unhappy. The same applies to the people at the bottom. So in effect they are the same, apart from the fact that some of the people at the bottom could do the jobs of those at the top, but not vice-versa.
A typical Pole Turtle
Education should not try to protect the weak. If it does, it is merely raising the level of pride thus increasing the depth of an inevitable fall.
I remember being very upset when (much) younger; I had made a circuit board for a radio control for a model boat. The chap who kindly supervised me, a next-door neighbour called Max, said to me upon first inspection of my finished article “I see art is not your strong point.” He then did it again, as it was pretty much beyond repair. Art is not my strong point, although I subsequently qualified as an electronic engineer.
My point is this: had Max said “Wow! Fantastic, lovely job.” I would probably have taken him at his word, sunk the boat, and become a really bad artist (which I am). So: teachers, governments, people, anyone with ears; reality. It hurts, but nowhere near as much as falling from the dizzy height to which you’re elevating your victims.
Not everyone should, or wants to, go on to further education. It is counter-productive in the wrong circumstances. It does not teach you how to live on your own, and do your washing, and manage on a budget. Living on your own, doing your washing and managing on a budget teaches that, and does not need to be interspersed with teaching and exams.
Educate to ability. Educate to aspirations, as long as those aspirations are achieveable. If you or little Johnny want to be doctors, then be doctors, if you can cope with a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, pressure, watching people die while you look on helplessly. If you or little Johnny are what we used to call ESN (I don’t know the PC term for it so ESN it is), then you won’t be doctors, but then nor will you aspire to be.
I know tree surgeons who make more money than real surgeons, have a lot more fun, have very little stress and can still function after a night on the tiles. They are still saddened when a patient dies though.
Lastly, I moot this: no formal education has ever prepared me to recognise an opportunity when I see one. It should be a subject on its own. Perhaps they do that now, and if so I would love to know.
Please feel free to call me a rightist/leftist/racist/nazi/pinko or whatever, it doesn’t bother me much and I just love a good argument.