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The Shirking Classes*

Graeme Paton, Education Editor of the Daily Telegraph has this to say:

Despite billions spent attempting to boost social mobility under Labour, academics found the gap between rich and poor pupils widened throughout early education.

You don’t say.  Neither do you define what academics consider to be rich or poor.  Does rich include the middle classes or are they only important for the purposes of being taxed into extinction and otherwise ignored as a demographic majority?

Academics said the number of books in the home, parental qualifications, regular mealtimes and bedtimes, the state of housing and the quality of early childcare all had an impact on children’s education.

So rich = professional  and professional = middle class even if a large chunk of them are treading water very hard just to stay afloat.  Therefore it’s low income blue collar workers and the unemployed we are obligated to be worried about.  Are they all so tragically incapable of owning a library card, setting domestic routines and playing with their kids while living in rented accomodation?  Is that what you’re saying?

But Dr Alice Sullivan, senior lecturer at the University of London’s Institute of Education, who led the research, said Government policies designed to improve parenting skills were not enough to address chronic under-performance among deprived pupils.

I’d like to hear what Dr Alice has to say on the chronic under-performance of state schools depriving kids of a decent education.

She suggested that welfare reforms – including access to housing and jobs – would have a bigger impact on school standards.

“Our research shows that while parenting is important, a policy focus on parenting alone is insufficient to tackle the impacts of social inequalities on children,” she said.

So crap state education passed beneath her radar then.  So what does Dr Alice suggest we do about these problem parents?

“Redistributive economic policies may be more effective than policies directly addressing parenting practices.”

Like that worked last time?  And the time before that?  Lefty morons like Dr Alice are happy to throw good money after bad because it’s what they do best.  When socialist wet dream projects fail spectacularly lefties always fall back on their tried and busted trusted spend, spend and spend again policies in the hope that no one will notice their expensive clusterfucks.  They then attempt to silence their critics by telling them how much is being squandered spent to make thing worse better.  After all, socialist cunts like Dr Alice ain’t the ones footing the bill, it’s poor buggers like us.  And since when did handing out other people’s cash improve anyone’s IQ?

As part of the latest study, academics tracked the performance of more than 11,000 seven-year-olds in reading and maths. They also analysed teachers’ assessments of children’s abilities in other subjects such as speaking and listening, writing, science, maths, PE and creative arts.

I hope the study was conducted over a level playing field.  Thousands of kids from penniless immigrant families have a tenuous or worse, non-existant grasp of the English language which would add bias to the study conclusion. We wouldn’t want to tax people on fudged or artificially skewed results now, would we…

The report – part of the Millennium Cohort Study, an on-going analysis of children across the UK born between 2000 and 2002 – compared education standards with pupils’ family backgrounds.

It found the children of parents in professional and managerial jobs were around eight months ahead of those with parents who were long-term unemployed.

Those bloody middle class scumbags depriving underpriviledged kids by being smarter, eh.  You know what really pisses me off?  The way the old grammar schools recruited dumb as rocks kids from poor and working class backgrounds for decades and gave them a sound education with excellent life prospects. That was so fucking patronising of them don’t you think, Dr Alice?  And, getting back to the study, what about the kids whose professional parents are unemployed thanks to Nein Arbeit?  What category do they fall into?  Or are they cast into limbo because they don’t fit the contructs of the study?

The study found this gap had widened over the last two years. A similar test carried out when pupils started school aged five found that the gap was just four months – half as wide.

So the conclusions we can draw from this are either the diminished parenting skills of the underclass are inversely proportional to the size of rent a lefty social engineer is seeking or state education is even more shit than we suspected and growing worse by the day.

*I’m not referring to people on benefits.  It’s the unfit for purpose state education system I have in my sights.


  1. Umbongo says:

    Brilliant post.

    Of course, anything with imprimature of the Institute of “Education” – or almost any other part of the “education” academic establishment – is bound to be unmitigated crapola. The BBC can’t get enough of it.

  2. Umbongo says:

    Should be “Imprimatur” – sorry about that – it’s 50 years since I left grammar school.

  3. Unfortunately, libraries aren’t what they were, but there is always a way for poor kids to improve themselves if they have the determination.

  4. David Gillies says:

    My mother was a health visitor. She’s said on several occasions that the correlation between the number of books in a household and the degree of scumminess of the occupants (paraphrasing) was startling. Here’s an interesting question: ask yourself, “when was the last time I read a book to completion?” I can honestly say that since I learnt to read at age (roughly) 3 1/2, my answer has never been more than a week ago, and has usually been more like one to three days.

    I’m bloody fed up with this idea that it’s just ‘lack of opportunity’ or ‘poor access to resources’ that explain away the disparities in life outcomes. The simple syllogism goes like this: the single greatest predictor of financial success – or its lack – in adult life is IQ; poor people have lower financial success (duh); being poor is a strong predictor of having low IQ*. Of course not all poor people are thick, but more thick people are poor than well-off (if we control for Tim Nice-but-dims inheriting Daddy’s loot.) It’s the old socialist fable: that human clay is infinitely malleable. But no matter how much taxpayers’ cash you firehose at the problem, sows’ ears resolutely fail to turn into silk purses. Some people are just dumb. You can try all you like, but you’re not going to explain Petrarchian sonnet form or differentiating under the integral sign to a room full of kids with the collective IQ of the display counter at the Gregg’s in Dewsbury.

    * this would be modus tollens, if you must know, if it were the case that having a high IQ guaranteed one financial success. I’m a counterexample. Further, you can be rich and thick (q.v. Wayne Rooney.)

  5. NickM says:

    Well, obviously David… You can take a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.

    But the abolition of the grammar schools was the real kick in the nadgers for the poor.

    Why? Well, the 11+ was rightly seen as divisive though that was greatly mitigated by the 13+ but divisive cuts both ways doe it not? The old system did sort of condemn kids to being “hewers of wood and drawers of water” at 11 (or 13) but is the comprehensive system really any different? My comp was setted. I was 1/1 (math/general). There was also 9/9. They didn’t so much need to be taught but reminded to inhale air occasionally. Or you could go “mixed ability” and fuck everyone over. My point is that discussion of grammar schools is always carried out in the context of, “Yeah they were if you got in…” but awful if you were sent to the Sec Modern… Flip that around. A kid from a poor background passes the 11+. Great that’s an achievement that is saying to that kid, “You’re bright you are – we expect stuff from you”. OK it’s a kick if you fail but it’s a hell of a boost if you succeed. And ultimately at some point it does come down to this. Recall in a Terry Pratchett Guards story Fred Colon is disastrously promoted to be boss of the watch? It is concluded that Fred is one of life’s sergeants. And we need sergeants. Can you imagine a world where everyone was trying to find flaws in the Copenhagen Interpretation or writing sonnets or composing operas? Nothing would work and we’d all die from some dread malady due to the lack of telephone sanitisers. Anyway, one of the lads I knew from 7/7 wasn’t tortured by having to do a degree he couldn’t hack (and have to borrow loads for the privilege) and got an apprenticeship as a blacksmith. Good pay making fancy wrought iron gates. He was my brother’s year at school and he saw him in the showers after Rugby and this lad was hung like a Grand National winner apparently. His school nickname was “Whopper”. He also had an easy way with the ladies. You see what I’m getting at? Not the sharpest pencil in the tin but got a good job, extremely fit, nice fella, liked by girls and with a lunch-box to match. We are all different. I am not being patronising here. I reckon “Whopper” has no complaints. This is the essential problem with things like the National Curriculum. It homogenises. What is the point of it? My wife is a translator. She learns languages easily. I don’t but I get math and science easily. Yet we were both but through the same grinder. Both of us knew way before we were allowed to specialise where our talents lay. (So did whopper!). In order to do three separate science GCSEs I had to negotiate with the headmaster. It was afeared that not doing GCSE History, Geography or RE(!) would mean I wouldn’t have a “rounded” education. My wife did a Russian degree (with a bit of Czech, Polish and then subsequently Norwegian, Danish and Swedish) but at school was she offered any languages beyond French and German. No. Oh and my house is full of books. Quite a few on the humanities. I took the view at 13/14 that if I wanted to read history books I’d just get them from Waterstones or the library. Or watch Sky…

  6. Lynne says:

    You said it, Nick. My maternal grandparents were born into abject poverty and it took them a lifetime to lift themselves out of it having to deal with two world wars, a depression and an industrial accident that deprived my grandfather of the use of his right arm as they went. The loss didn’t stop him doing vital war work building rolling stock. They also managed to raise three kids while they were at it. Neither of my grandparents were stupid. Both were forced to leave education at 13 and both had to work like slaves to survive. They bought their own home and retired to a holiday resort. No one gave them opportunities, they had to create their own.

    However, my family capitalised on their hard work and succeeded. We succeeded because of the opportunities available to us. Opportunities that aren’t available today. I’m not rich by any standard. I and my family live modestly, within our means. If we can’t afford something we don’t buy it. We certainly don’t expect handouts from taxpayers and I resent funding the lazy bastards who refuse to work. The poor will always be with us, many because it suits them to live that way. But they are not all stupid. And they are not all lazy. Education is the great equaliser and it’s probably the reason it is being degraded to the point of uselessness and now the poorer kids are being priced out of tertiary education. Educated hoi polloi ask far too many awkward questions of our political “elite”. Better to hand out other people’s cash generated by dishonest policies and keep them poor, innit?

  7. RAB says:

    Excellent post Lynne, I would have commented earlier but I have been a bit distracted this week, as my mum has been having a hip replacement op in Cardiff.We have been back and forth from Bristol to cardiff so often lately that I am thinking of entering Mastermind next year, special subject?

    The speed cameras, splendid roadworks, speed restrictions for no apparent reason and the scenic detours through scenic industrial Newport (the Armpit of Wales) of the M4…

    I am a Grammar school kiddie. I passed the 11+ in 63 and proceeded to the big School where we would start learning hard things like Foreign Languages, Science and Algebra.

    It was the ethos of that system that was its strengh, not exactly the quality of the teaching.

    We kids were told as soon as we got through the door, that we had just passed a very hard exam (it was, only about 25% passed, contrast that with A Level results today!) and that our teachers regarded us all (irrespective of class and family income) as clever. We were told that they had a treasure house of knowledge inside these gates, and we might not get some of the stuff right off, but you damn well can and will master this stuff before you leave.

    Consequently we believed we could do, and be, anything we wanted to in life.

    Now what the 11+ did for Education that is never mentioned is simply this, It concentrated the minds of Infant and Junior school teachers wonderfully!

    If you have the most important exam of a childs life coming at the tender age of 11, then you just might want to teach your charges to at least read, write and count well enough to read and attempt the exam papers, even if the kids are not smart enough to pass them.

    My Junior school was streamed. I was in the A stream, but everybody in both streams could read and write, there were no illiterates in my school.

    Fast forward six years and I’m in the Upper Sixth.

    In the meantime the S Wales Education Authorities had abolished the 11+ and our school was declared a comprehensive overnight.

    Well we had the first influx of 11 year olds that year allocated under the new no selection by ability principle. But they hadn’t done their sums correctly because there were far to many kids and too few teachers. So us sixth Formers got deputised into taking classes!

    Well the first class I took, English, was just supposed to be a holding operation really. I was just trying to keep their attention.

    So I started with the… Right now class open you book at page… and you, yes you with the pigtail in the second row, would you start reading the second paragraph?

    Alarm bells start ringing when the reply from pigtails is… Paragraph Sir? (she doesn’t know what a paragraph is!)

    Er, Just from the top then…

    Well she stumbles and mumbles and it quickly becomes apparent that she just cant read worth a damn.

    I quickly shift to another pupil to spare her anymore embarrassment, and dang me! he was no better!

    I found that about a quarter of these eleven year olds were functionally illiterate, yet here they were being expected to take Foreign languages, sciences, history etc and they cant fuckin read!

    See with the pressure off of the 11+, Infant and Junior teaching had seemingly gone to hell in a handcart. Wacky new theories of how to teach kids to read became fashionable in the Training Colleges in the 60s and 70s. I particularly liked the one I call, the “Sniff the Book” method. This entailed just handing out books to kids to let them flick through and handle, chew and drool on etc, and somehow magically, without a grammatical rule or phonic in sight, they would be able to read it!

    And it is at the earliest stage, the infants that you need the best and most concentrated teaching, because if you cant read by age 11, then frankly you are fucked forever.

    But the knock on effect of all of this has been continuing for 40 years, to the point where we get to here…

    The blind leading the blind.

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