Friday, January 20, 2006

It's education, Trust Us

[Opinionated News Post. I have included a picture at the bottom of the post to distract those of you not interested in my rant]

Education Reforms.

You see the word reform is traditionally associated with making things better:

1. A change for the better; an improvement.
2. Correction of evils, abuses, or errors.
3. Action to improve social or economic conditions without radical or revolutionary change.

It can also mean 'to form again'. I'm going for column 'B' here.

Politicians speak a language called Weasel, for all intents and purposes and to the layman, identical to English*. It is important, however, that you can translate the words that politicians speak into a more generic or what I like to call 'Truthful' form of English. Apologies if you are already au fait with this technique, for this beginning section I am writing for people who may not be able to distinguish between the two (or three if a forked one counts as two) tongues.

Ok, so for example, in Weasel:

David Willets MP: "The prospects of returning to the traditional 11-plus in parts of the country where it's been gone for a generation are remote."

Translation into English:

"I'd like nothing more than things to return to the way they should be! Good education for the rich and the Proletariat firmly set back as much as possible while allowing a select few into the 'Good' Schools. This way they feel they have 'buy-in' into our reforms!"

This issue of selection is a moot point though. The loyalists in the Conservative government support it and the opposition Conservatives support it. If that isn't a clear indication of a move towards elitism I don't know what is.

There is a twist that I am more interested in that doesn't appear to be reported on a great deal that worries me even more than the issue of selection:

"Allowing autonomous schools with special freedoms, which could be run by businesses or faith groups....."

Does this worry anyone else? What businesses are going to buy into the Education cash cow? You could brand your brand onto the psyche of kids forever, talk about marketing opporunity! Those soulless Advertising whores would be right in there. You can see it now, instead of Pie Charts you'd get Pizza Charts (PizzaHut comprehensive), Geography classes based on Mcdonalds locations. Bleuch!

It's a dim vision I know, I'm not suggesting this would happen overnight but without the strictest of controls and given enough time the corporations of this world will just turn schools into revenue factories. I saw a report a few years back where some schools in America are already part sponsored by MacDonalds and the like. I don't know if this still goes on though, so don't take this as fact.

My main concern though stretches beyond branding. Faith Groups. Yeah, that's what we need - more zealotry in the world because that's never cause anyone any problems. Of course only certain Faith Groups would be allowed into trust schools I imagine. You know the good ones. Ones with 'Christian' in the name. Nothing like a bit of Creationism to set back evolution a few centuries.

I'll stop. I could go on for ages about this, but it's not much fun for you lot so I'll quit while I'm ahead. I think I'll spend the rest of the post translating politicians words for those of you that need extra classes.

Then I'm moving to Norway.


Ok, so when to know to translate what Politicians are saying. It's easy to apply the translation rule to everything that they say and sometimes you'd be right but there is a subtle art to it. I'll take a example from the Weasel King himself, Tony Bliar. What we are looking for is get-out clauses:

"Labour has no plans to introduce tuition fees for higher education."

Now we all know what happened there. Two key words though are 'no plans'. When they are speaking English, a rare occurence I grant you, the words 'we will not' would have been used. If you can't get a politician to deny outright that somehting will happen then you can predict with a very high degree of accuracy that they plan on doing that thing.

Ok I will stop now, I'm sure I'm telling you things you all already know.



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