Democracy is an expensive luxury

Whilst we are systematically led to belief that any country that doesn’t have an expensive democratic machinery is of course undemocratic, we find ourselves in the situation that our economy is not doing so well either. Our economy shrinks, not a lot of business and oncoming elections of Mayor for London.

The arguments go to and fro and it seems more like a circus that entertains us rather than a constructive discussion.

Yet politicians have enormous powers,which can be life changing of influence the way humanity in the western world develops. That is what happened when a previous Labour government decided to ban the building of Grammar schools in the future.

We sometimes find ourselves supporting one party over one issue but have to put up with a lot of other things we do not really like.  Yet there are a few sensible solutions every government brings along but there are other policy changes that are indigestible, like that one that forbade the building of Grammar schools. Now we have the radical change in the pensions policy with this government. The Liberal idea to change the voting system never gotten off the ground, though that was another very expensive democratic exercise.

What must cost an incredible chunk of our taxes are the democratic institutions. Can we in fact impose democracy on poor countries when they do not even have enough money for basic amenities I ask?  Can we continue to afford the luxury of democracy in our own country when our economy is almost dead?

Even on the local council level the post of political advisor to a political party in the council seems the only one advertised in some places.

Politics though seems the least popular choice because if we look at voting participation, there are results as low as 22% of voters actually voting. That should ring warning bells to advocates of democracy.

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Can a school make a profit?

I just read about this “John Lewis” model for schooling and I am a bit puzzled by the concept in that it rests on a profit and that teachers are seen as personal stake holders in the running of the school. Reminds me a bit of the current NHS model changes proposed that puts more personal responsibility into GP practises and indeed the whole NHS to GPs.

Just wondering where the profit in education should come from? Is it from selling educated pupils to employers or universities? Is it just by getting a bonus from the state if so many pupils get good results?

I think it is very difficult to put a profit on communal assets, as such I consider well-educated pupils as communal assets, though they also personally benefit from their good education and so does any company or communal organisation they work for later on in life.

No doubt, that educational standards have to be raised but perhaps we should start by stopping the false consideration that every child has the same talents and can achieve the same high grades if we only treat them the same and they all go to Comprehensive schools.

To think further on the profit for schools question, who is going to finance such schools? Is it the government giving grants, and are the schools then on the job to deliver education on the budget and if they spend less on pupils they make more money for the school?

I think the basic mistake that has been made here in the UK is the thought that Grammar schools discriminate against poor children and that poor children cannot perform because they are poor. Poverty in itself is not important for anybody to say, because I am poor I am unable to work my way out of it. The Grammar model helped the poorest talented children to get a good basis to work their way out of poverty but nowadays poor talented children are severely disadvantaged because they are stuck in Comprehensive schools that do not over-emphasize achievement and are more concerned on keeping all children happy during the day and that they all get along with each other without too many incidents.

I think parents should demand from schools that they concentrate on the particular learning needs of their child. So for example if a child is learning disabled it has quite a job to do to learn just the basic tricks to get along in life later on when they have their own flat, do banking and try to get jobs, how to pay rent and cook their own meals. Other children with high IQ’s might want to concentrate on academic study. The mistake we make today is that we call it discrimination if we give some people different treatment from others, it is not discriminating it is tailored to someone’s needs.

A bad attitude towards single parents

the latest research from Gingerbread shows that this government is simply totally incoherent and discriminative in its approach to single parents. I  already stated that in my view the government abuses the benefit and working system to punish single parents. The conservatives want to rid the world of single parents by sending mothers to work. But they already have had the children. That is what the conservatives forget that those children need to be looked after. Yet the reduction in the Child-care element of working tax credit makes the child-care system unaffordable for single parents.

this means in practical terms a generation of latch-key kids, the new under-class is created, which then is more likely to become a problem to the law and order desire that many of us wish to achieve.

Not only do the new rules deprive single parents of child care it also increases the unemployment register beyond repair. This government thinks that sending single parents to school will improve their morals or repair the fact that they had a child out of wedlock or stop them from having any more children out of wedlock. But this logic simply doesn’t add up. People who are prepared to have children out of wedlock are not likely to stop having sex because they are now unemployed or need to look for work or even have got a job.

The age-old dilemma of single parenthood has been around since earth began and the problem just keeps on getting worst. But it is a moral dilemma and not one of employment or the type of benefits a person gets. It is a matter of how people perceive their lifestyles and how they want to live or often being forced to live to escape over-crowded living conditions and then of course the fathers who happily go around bonking women without concern for the consequences.

Men can say no, they can have a conscience and do not have to do whatever they do to get a woman pregnant, but obviously they are not concerned and think that society these days will cope or they simply do not care whether those children, they create live or die. And so the government doesn’t care whether they live and how badly they live when they are only just being kept alive by very low maintenance payments whilst the single mother is send to work.

Gingerbread and Barnardos have a campaign page, which I support and if anything turns me away from the Tories, its their repeated bullying of the single mothers in Britain today.  The campaign is titled ‘stop the CSA charges, don’t make children pay the price’.

But in my view its always the upper class philosophy to keep the poor children down, regardless how clever they are, the dumber the better, at least they are not a threat to the kids of the upper classes. The only system that abandoned fair chances in education was the Grammar school system that purely judged on educational achievement and not on the ability to pay for education. In Grammar schools poor and rich kids have equal chances to gain fair test results, being tested on the same subjects with the same questions. Cameron even admitted it that he is concerned that 2 inner city London schools did better than 5 schools in his constituency and that is enough reason for him to withdraw funding from state schools and to put it into Free schools, which of course are built mainly by the affluent middle classes.

Why deepen the class-system? It would be better to level things out. I speak as somebody who grew up on a country that didn’t know the difference between private and state eduction but all children from all incomes levels were educated in the same schools; one cannot get fairer than that.

But here in the UK Osborne and Cameron not only make sure that poor kids from single parents households get deprived of vital funds, they also withdraw funds from the regular schooling budged with some excuse.

Why create problems that will then only have to be dealt with by law-enforcement agencies and that is more than predictable. Osborne must think we are all as stupid as he thinks we are.

PS: I want to add that the relatively good inner London school result by poor children was achieved within the Comprehensive school system but that the overall results of English pupils is far behind other nations, even Albania does better in Maths than we do.

Military-style free school proposed

Why I find this article remarkable and very interesting because of this one sentence alone it says: “”teacher training is basically training young people not to teach”. And further on the article says: “Mr Burkard, a former school teacher and a military instructor, said: “You are told to be a learning facilitator and teach children to manage their own learning.”

This shows some important principle in free schools management that it no longer requires that teacher qualifications are no longer needed to operate a free school because the proposed Phoenix Free School would use qualified and unqualified teachers.

There would also be an emphasis on military discipline.

That is a very long way away from the former Grammar school model that worked solely on academic achievement and set this as its only criteria. Excellence in learning has nothing to do with military style discipline and I think that the concept of education is being misrepresented by replacing academic teaching according to ability with military discipline.

How good is comprehensive education

I am quite tired of all the rhetoric about education, how good or how bad it is because it is a nightmare to try and educate a gifted child in normal comprehensive education.

I went to WH Smith today to pick up some Revision books in English and Maths for 6 – 7 year olds. The first exercise in English was ‘find all the vowels’ in the words listed below. I did this because child’s school refuses to give homework to children.

OK, I thought easy enough, but had to find out, that, to my complete amazement, that my child never heard of the term vowel before because her teacher never taught her about this. Yet this is obviously perceived to be a normal part of the curriculum for a 6-year-old or it would not be in the revision book for 6 – 7 year olds.

Give me the name of any Grammar school within London and I walk twice around the globe to get a place for my child in that school. I rather travel hours to and from school than keep my child in a dumbness factory locally.

I had asked my child’s teacher whether the child can get some special help to further her learning because the child achieved 2 grades over the expected average learning achievement for his age and been told that “the child is not all that good”. (Observe the linguistic skill required of a teacher to utter the words “not all that good”)

I wonder whether Comprehensive schools see it as their duty to keep comprehensive school children as dumb as possible but keep them in school all day to give them supervision and learn them behaviour that the state feels is acceptable but not to teach the children too much so that they don’t get too clever. Why else would schools not even try to actually teach children?

And to add, just listening to the song, “I’m free to do whatever I want”. that makes me think of course that one has to be fully aware of all the choices to be able to make an informed decision about what one wants to do. Children, who are not educated properly never get the chance to even know what is there waiting for them. I would go so far as to say that it is a crime on children in particular and humanity as a whole not to educate children properly.

are church schools supposed to be political?

When I read this week’s East London Advertiser online, free of charge, very nice, thanks ELA, I noticed, to my amazement, that 2 local church schools refuse to publish their SATS tests for reasons of unfairness.

At least this is how I understand the absence of SATS results for St. John’s C.o.E school, Bethnal Green and St. Elizabeth Catholic Primary school (as well as many other religious schools). That is quite a shocker because normally churches distance themselves from worldly value statements in that religious and political values are seen as different matters, that do not necessarily complement each other.

I think those that trumped the unfairness of SATS results around are those left-wing teachers who think that way. Why on earth have those left-wing teachers managed to infiltrate 2 religious schools in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

In St. John’s C.o.E. we’ve seen a suspension of Homework, except reading, because teachers have enough to do already, at least so I understood a remark from a governor. In St. Elizabeth the new headteacher must support the non publication of SATS results.

Amazingly in the case of St. Elizabeth previous SATS results made the school famous and since then the school bloomed. We could see new extension built, playground equipment installed and the 2 former schools of St. John and St. Elizabeth Catholic schools amalgamated.

Also amazingly I found that a nearby non-religious comprehensive junior school, Bonner School, published the (joint) best SATS results in the  borough. This school has relatively little special needs pupils whilst St. Elizabeth publishes that over 1/3 of pupils have special needs.

For a parent that wishes to achieve the best possible grades for my child, I am puzzled as to choice. Wouldn’t most parents go for the best results school instinctively?

Being schooled in Germany I never knew schools refusing participation in the test for ability method. There all churches equally supported the Grammar school system, that excelled with regular test results. I therefore think that the anti-test-result phenomenon is particularly characteristic for the UK.  I just feel sad that some church schools fall for the left-wing propaganda that makes education a type of class-war method in that left-wing teachers try to tell us that poor people cannot achieve as much as rich ones. It is of course not true that only rich children can be good at school, see the brilliant example of Bonner School.

I think all parents have the right to know SATS results and schools should be obliged to publish those results because those tests are mere expressions of facts and not value statements for poverty or wealth.  It is kind of sad if church schools use religion as a ground to achieve badly in learning.  In that they only accept religious pupils but those religious pupils apparently are not good learners, at least that is what the policy seems to be about to me.

In the UK of course there are many church schools who  usually perform well in the school league tables. But why now accept the left-wing argument that performing well in education is no longer in fashion? Do church schools now want to advocate the philosophy that it doesn’t matter how well a school does as long as they pray well enough? Through history it was always the church that drove forward academic excellence and it shows a sad case scenario that many Tower Hamlets church schools of Catholic and Anglican denominations want to advocate Labour and left-wing politics rather than educate pupils with religious culture as admission criteria.

That teachers refuse to give pupils homework because they feel overworked and underpaid is a novel situation at St. John’s C.o.E. school, that hopefully is not being copied throughout the UK or all our pupils are going to miss out.  Children should never have to suffer from left-wing ideologies.

Labour ruined education

The full extent of the damage that the previous Labour government did to education over 3 terms in office becomes clear with this new report, which compares the quality of education internationally.

Britain was once the vanguard of knowledge, a leader in academic thinking but now has been reduced to a backroom establishment because education has become so bad. It seems Labour likes it this way because they fight an increase in tuition fees with false and misleading arguments. Haven’t they done enough damage to this nation already, do they have to bring forward further false reasoning.

The increase in tuition fees does not stop anyone from going to university as there is nothing to pay up-front. Students get loans and have nothing to pay unless they earn £21.000 per year.  So why does Labour go on and on about the price rises, its just to make a nuisance argument against improving quality.

Labour really loves to see this country on the bottom of the pile for reasons that I cannot really understand and I suppose nobody in their right mind can.

The UK has fallen as far as 28th place in maths and 25th place in reading and 16th place in science. Is it any wonder that our unemployment is so high and that companies do not want to settle in this  country anymore.

During the last Labour reign the UK has fallen between 2000 and 2009 in maths,from 8th to 28th and in science from 4th to 16th.

The top 10 education systems by reading skills are

  • Shanghai (China)
  • South Korea
  • Finland
  • Hong Kong (China)
  • Singapore
  • Canada
  • New Zealand
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • Netherlands

How can Labour’s Andy Burnham seriously try to tell us that education has improved and more pupils leave with good reading skills? Why does Labour succeed in constantly pulling the wool over our eyes? Why are they allowed to blur their lies over public media and mislead the electorate?

Now after reducing education to sub-zero standards Labour wants to oppose an increase in university fees when it is the only way to improve education and help us to pull ranks with other countries.

If we go on as we are the UK will become a small island in the northern European hemisphere without any significance whatsoever. We don’t really want this to happen.

The OECD survey found that  the “best school systems were the most equitable”, in which pupils could succeed academically despite a disadvantaged background. This is a case for Grammar style and academy type education, which focus on academic achievement and a case for allowing students who are not academically gifted to drop out at 14 to enter a vocational career path.

poor students will get incentive to study

As usual the Conservative Government does exactly what it says on the tin and proposes a lightening of the load for those that need it. Ministers proposed a year’s worth of free education to help financially disadvantaged students to get started.

I suppose if you have not got any money, facing costs to start with puts you off but it is important to encourage those  bright and able enough to justify the expense. I am quite open about it that I think it is  a waste of money to encourage those into university education that are not really academic. Under Labour the government wanted to send all to university and lowered the expectation to get as many into university as possible but now at least we are getting back to basics and encourage those that are academic and worth the investment. There is no point in diluting education to lower the threshold.

Thanks to Labour’s irresponsible education policies Britain  has now fallen down in the league tables in the quality of education. I think that able student have the basic human right to excellent education and not being subjected to toned down education because someone else is not so bright and could not follow the teachings.

It makes much more sense to offer children the option to drop out of education age 14 and follow a vocational training and do a job instead of being forced into university education.  Labour’s irresponsible economic and education policies have brought Britain to the brink of educational disaster. Our economy is weakened and we have no workers and therefore need to import them from other countries because our pupils are kept in schools when some would be much better off getting a job.

choose at 14 for education

I am pleased that education in the UK promises to go into a constructive direction with proposals to make a change to secondary education, so that it looses the fright of selection.

Professor Smithers determined that it is a lack of skills that forces us to import so many skilled workers from abroad. Our pupils are currently forced to go the academic path till they are 18. Professor Smithers wants to learn from the German model where pupils’ obligatory education stops at 14 and students can divert into learning manual skills and enter apprenticeships or take further training.

Former Education Secretary Lord Baker also supports a changeover at age 14. I am of course well acquainted with this as I grew up with it and at age 14 had the option to continue study at an academy type of school or enter general academic study.

Selection generally is a problem in UK comprehensive education as schools don’t want to be seen selecting, but in practise they have no choice but divide classes into talent groups and put the pupils onto tables that cater for their educational talents.  We see reading books divided into talent categories, like with the Oxford Reading tree and pupils being given the level of reading difficulty they deserve.

Education cannot do without selection, schools can neither measure educational pace on the slowest or on the fastest and cannot force special talent into slower learning, which is detrimental to such pupils.

Of course slow learners, that are currently forced into academic learing till age 18 will have missed the chance to find fulfillment in other career paths, which is a shame. Altogether a great prospect for UK education to make changes at age 14. Source article here.

students protest used to smash up Conservative HQ

It sounds like Labour and other oppositional parties have taken this opportunity to have a go at the Conservative headquarters to storm the facility and cause immense damage. The police has started a probe why the initially peaceful process did get out of hand to such violent proportions.

The facts of the tuition fees rise is one of mere administrative changes and changes of betterment in quality of studying for those who have the potential to get excellent grades.

Students do not have to pay anything up front, they only have to re-pay fees once they earn 21.000 per year. What seems to me the best effect of the changes, is that banks will be more careful to whom they loan monies to get in and that will reflect in grades getting a close inspection by lenders of student grants.  Also universities get better financial direct funding to improve the quality of their education.

That overall is an excellent effect of the rises.

Considering that Labour already threatened to dismantle the current education system as soon as Labour gets back to power, combined with extended efforts to disrupt law and order over the student fee protests, I think we can see a national strategy of Labour to use the learning issue to get a swing of voter’s powers especially also as students often make up 15% of the electorate in a constituency.

I wonder whether that is a reason why Tower Hamlets has opted to house many more students and built student accommodation in Tower Hamlets.

What is worrying, is that Labour threatened to get rid of Grammar schools altogether and replace them with comprehensive because I think that educational and intellectual excellence is important to our society and that the minority of people are in the category of intellectual excellence but the majority has the vote, it could potentially jeopardise the fibre of British society as we know it if those educational changes are going to be made by Labour.

Altogether, the demonstration looks a lot like the G7 (G20) protests that ended in mindless violence and destruction and also on Mayday demos we can observe the same violent elements whipping up the crowds.

Traditionally students  are the easiest to steer into protest and if Labour now uses education and further education as their main protest vehicle to drive Conservative opposition forward, we see the irresponsible attitude of Labour trying to disrupt the young and use their natural critical thinking against a political party that traditionally has driven educational excellence forwards rather than backwards like Labour does. Latest report here.

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