Tuesday, June 10, 2008

English Schools Still Buggered, Getting Buggerederer

Education targets are in the news again, with the drive towards targets being pushed ever more heavily under the guise of the "National Challenge" rhetoric. (Kind of like challenging a small boy to leap over an arbitrary fence after hiring a company to break his legs. Nobody cares about the goons, or whether the other side of the fence is actually all that good. JUMP THE GODDAMNED FENCE, FUNNY-LEG DWARF.)

In all BBC political articles there is always at least 1 paragraph that mocks the government for being cretins*. Here is this article's:
The plans relate to England, as education is a devolved matter. The concept of setting such targets does not exist in Scotland or in Wales, where there are also no school "league tables".
Note how the paragraph doesn't lead from or into anything related, and comes at a point where most people will have stopped reading, but not all.

Sneering journalists aside (although don't get me wrong, I point it out because I like it), while most people wax lyrical about moving to Oz or Spain or Guatemala, it's looking increasingly like Scotland is the place to be. They speak the language, kind of. They know what alcohol is supposed to be like. They haven't bulldozed down all their hills yet (England has no hills after Tesco got rid of them in the 14th Century). And they seem to have some kind of political sense. All I have to do is buy an umbrella and I'm set.

Failing that, there's a good chance that Cornwall will split off. Here's hoping I'm the right side of the border when they do so.

* True.


Richard Veryard said...

Almost one in five politicians in England is to be given a warning to improve election results or face annihilation.

The government is targeting 646 MPs, in which fewer than 30% of elected representatives achieve at least five good tabloid scandals.

The £400m expenses drive, which will create up to 70 new pointless initiatives, is to be launched by Prime-Minister-In-Waiting Ed Balls.

Pointless initiatives in deprived areas could "break the link between politics and attainment", said Mr Balls.

Scribe said...

I believe the phrase "pointless initiative" was phased out in late 2007. (The DWP grew tired of the stationary.) The correct terminology now is "target-liberated partnership program".

Stephen said...

As an American with a child, i'm currently coping with the No Child Left Behind program. Part of this is the MEAP test (no idea what it stands for, perhaps Google knows). This test is administrated frequently, perhaps every year, or more, covering reading, math(s), writing, science, and so on. The the idea is that every child must perform above average, or the teachers are punished, including special Ed teachers. It seems odd. Especially as part of the test tests math(s).

The MEAP generally tests the kids above level, that is, it's a test to failure, which is great for morale. So it is with much ambivalence that i report that my child got two 100%'s on his most recent MEAP - both having to do with reading comprehension. Not just a high percentile, but all questions correct. Last year he was behind level. And that change, i believe, can be attributed to his new found compulsive behavior, starting last year when reading for enjoyment became possible. At least part of this is J.K. Rowling's fault, whose books he's read twice, and is starting a third run through, though i helped. I didn't think one could be simultaneously compulsive and ADD, thus, this whole thing is unexpected. So, i hate the MEAP, but he not only finished, but scored 100% on a parts of a test to failure. As a parent, what am i supposed to feel?

Nowhere, AFAIK, are teachers told to stray from the curriculum to use materials, strategies, or anything, that have been proven to work astoundingly well, yet are currently not the way we've always done things.

MEAP - Michigan Educational Assesment Program
NCLB - No Child Left Behind
AFAIK - As Far As I Know
ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder