May 23, 2003

Today I have made some

Today I have made some changes to the left of your screen.

I have added links to two more Orthodox bloggers: Clifton D. Healy's This is Life: Revolutions Around the Cruciform Axis and James Ferrenberg's Paradosis.

I have also followed the example of some and included information about my offline reading. You know, the kind where you have to actually hold something and turn the pages. I do a bit of this. Not as much as I should, I'm sure, but with parenting, husbanding, blogging, and DMOZ meta editing, there's not a lot of time left. Books are mostly reserved for those times when Mrs Holford is looking online for new sewing patterns or deals on eBay. And of course for visits to the "Sitting Room".

Now to the newsÖ The Government has botched so many things that I just donít know where to start. But today, class, weíll look at education.

The last Education Secretary was so bad even she admitted it and resigned. She presided over the A levels fiasco and I didnít think it could get any worse. Charlie Clarke has proven that it can and has.

It is disputed as to whether he no use for historians or others that apparently donít benefit the economy. He may or may not have suggested that they should not be funded by the State. (For American readers: all universities in the UK are funded by the State.)

What is not in dispute is that he has created a funding shortage in primary and secondary education. For all of Labourís talk of spending more money on education, school are suddenly in a shortfall. There is already a shortage of teachers. They are creating all sorts of incentives to get more teachers. Now at the same time, they are making the teachers they have redundant. It looks like 3000 teachers across the country may get their P45s (kind of like a W-2, handed out upon leaving employment) by the end of this month.

One school in Croydon has a £500,000 shortfall and is having to send student home early to save money. Even though it still leaves him £80,000 in the red, the head teacher is firing six teachers, increases the size of classes, cutting books and class materials, and cancelling school trips.

And itís not just money thatís the problem. When it came to power in 1997, the Government set a target that 85% of 11-year-olds would meet set standards in math and English by 2004. When last yearís target of 80% wasnít met last year, the Education Secretary resigned (after having weathered the A levels scandal). Mr Clarke isnít about to follow in her footsteps out of the Cabinet. He has decided that the best way to keep his job is to simply abolish the targets. In an amazing turnabout for a Government that believes it always knows best, Charlie has told the schools to set their own targets so that the Governmentís aborted level is reached ďas soon as possibleĒ.

But it isnít just 11-year-olds who are thicker than molasses on a cold morning. Because the Government wants to send everyone to University, they have dropped standards to the floor in a hope of scooping up anyone with the slightest inkling for higher education. They are making up the easiest possible degrees to get them graduated.

Whatís the resulting assessment of university dons? They have called the students currently walking the hallowed hall of learning the worst in living memory.

Posted by david at May 23, 2003 07:28 PM