Education, Education, Education…………….
Posted on April 10, 2011
When New Labour swept to power in 1997 the manifesto strap line was the title of this blog. Us mere mortals who could not afford the cash that allows the elite to splash out on private education celebrated in our masses about the hope that our children may be, at last, allowed to compete on a level playing field. Through the Labour years we certainly saw an improvement in dilapidated schools as they renamed themselves sports, maths or science academies, but has the education of the masses actually improved?
The reason I am questioning this is because of the school report I received for my youngest son the other day that contained A grades for every single subject he has ever attempted since he started secondary education. That appears to be an astonishing achievement and one that has seen me undertake further open wallet surgery as a reward. If it carries on like this he will have a bigger bonus pot than a Lloyds hedge fund manager. When I was at school you would have had to have been an academic genius in the mould of Albert Einstein to achieve these kind of results and whilst I am proud of him, I am also suspicious that he is not being challenged to learn more because these A grades seem quite easy to attain. Could it be possible that we still live in a society where the children of the masses are only allowed to succeed to a certain level?
The reason I am being cool about these latest set of results is because of what I regularly witness on social network sites like Twitter and Facebook and that is a large number of people openly bragging about their child’s outstanding achievements or the fact they are taking GCSE’s a year early. In the 80’s if you took “O” Levels a year early it earned you a stint on Terry Wogan before you descended in to a life of being a victimised transvestite. I think that these parents who think their kids are academic geniuses are likely to be shot down in flames, as state education, in my opinion, is dumbed down to suit the needs of capitalism and our children are, in the words of Joe Strummer, actually being taught how to be thick.
Thick may be a bit of a harsh statement I suppose, but I am now 100% certain that bright children are being suppressed and are only being allowed to be educated to a level where, once they go in to the job market, they are a vital cog in our capitalist society. The children bracketed as academic will work in middle management in the white collar industry, whilst the children bracketed non academic will work in construction and what is left of the Blue Collar industry, it is the only way capitalism can work. Meanwhile the best jobs in the media, law and banking are still dominated by the elite. This makes me fully understand why wealthy people put their children in to private education where they will be allowed to attain whatever level they want and they are taught to a higher standard. As a bit of a Lefty I may not like it, but I certainly understand why people do it. A placement in the best private schools with the best contacts is a virtually guaranteed six figure salary plus the best sporting facilities for would be cricketers and rugby players. Fair society? I don’t think so.
The only way for equality to work would be for a blanket ban on private education which would force the standard of education to rise across the country, the wealthy people of our nation would demand it. Of course, this not the USA so not everyone can be a Lawyer and the so called menial tasks like collecting waste or driving busses have to be done by someone, but at least the opportunities would have been equal, and there could be no complaints from people like me.
This won’t happen in our time of course, the ruling class always fiercely protect what they have got, they always have done and they have always won in the end, a look back at modern history or indeed a quick glance at the front bench answers that question pretty abruptly. However with advent of free information sites such as Wikipedia and social networking, the masses are gradually learning more and are seeing how they are being taken for mugs. Middle England, if you want to call it that, pays all the taxes to pay to keep the elite in control whilst they take all their money out of the country and load it in to tax free havens. It’s utter madness, yet we all just give an apathetic shrug and accept our lot.
A friend of mine (Craig Killick) posted me a video by Sir Ken Robinson a few months ago called “Changing Education Paradigms.” Click on the link and watch it, it really is a fascinating take on how our education system is structured to create, in the majority of children, a learning capability that only allows them gather so much information. They are, basically speaking, being bracketed in an academic/non academic categories and are not being allowed to challenge theories or have a different view or solution to a problem. When you see that, you can begin to understand why parents who have wealth are hiving their kids off to private education. Those who have wealth but stick to their principles of having their children educated by the state are to be admired for their stand, but sadly, they are let down by the system. There are of course exceptions to the general rule, but most kids coming out of the state system won’t get a peek at the best careers available. Take a look at the BBC family tree of employment.
It’s a bit too late for my children, all I can do is try to ensure that they try to be independent in thought and are not drawn in to apathy whilst they get the best out of state education that is available. Then, just maybe, their children will part of a 21st century rebellion as I sit in my rocking chair waving my walking stick a the TV as the wealthy fuck off down to Monaco.