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Brainwashed

The great reading row. Just watch my lips | Carol Sarler: Thunderer - Times Online
Much bickering in the playground resulted from the publication of the largest inquiry into primary education for 40 years when it came to the disagreeable conclusion that – despite the £500 million poured into beefing-up literacy – government investment has had “almost no impact” and schooling standards have barely improved since the 1950s. “S’not true!” squeaked Lord Adonis, the Schools Minister. “Tis, too!” retorted teachers. I tend to believe the teachers; nobody can know better the rigours of the cat on the mat.

The problem with such internecine wrangling, however, is that it serves to consolidate the view that the whole matter is for the State and nothing much to do with the rest of us.

...When I started school in the 1950s I already read fluently, as did most of the rest of my, admittedly white, middle-class contemporaries; being taught to read was as much a part of home preparation for the wider world as was learning to handle a spoon.

Today, according to one head teacher friend, only about 35 per cent arrive at school with “some words”; almost none is able to tackle a book. Some of this is can be blamed on indolence or lack of aspiration in the parents; too much, though, is the result of not daring, rather than not caring. So hammered are parents by the professionalisation of what was once a simple passing down of family skills, so in hock are they to educational fashion .. that they are made helpless by the fear of getting it “wrong”.

But there can be nothing worse than haranguing the best-intentioned of parents, belittling their amateurism and having their children arrive at school wholly, but needlessly, illiterate because Mum was just too scared to suck it and see.

Schools play only a part in how children learn, but the whole education system has been captured by the spurious "professionalism" of teachers with the connivance of the State, telling parents to leave those kids alone, let only the professionals teach them. All your children are belong to us....

Comments

"...When I started school in the 1950s I already read fluently, as did most of the rest of my, admittedly white, middle-class contemporaries; being taught to read was as much a part of home preparation for the wider world as was learning to handle a spoon."

How true. The only children who weren't already able to read in my class at infant school were the 'special' ones.

And how very different it is today...

I think I must be the only person in the country who can't remember whether he could read when he started school. I could stand on my head and recite a poem, however.

My Mam's method was to read to us, every evening at bed time. She would never read to the end of the adventure though. She would stop, and if we wanted to know the outcome, we either waited, or we learned to read under the bedclothes by the light of a battery torch.
Rupert annuals too, every Christmas. They're good, because the format gets the children reading prose and verse.

Good points in general, but I think you might be comparing apples and oranges. When you went to school in the '50's you were more likely to be over 5, or at least just under 5 with your birthday in that term. Nowaday's we ship the little darlings in to school at 4 or even 3. They are not mature enough for the experience, let alon to be able to read.

Furthermore, I'll bet you mother wasn't under social and/or economic pressure to get a job because mrtgages weren't based on joint salary.

You are quite right about the nationalization of children. And if you want "access to children" you must now report to the Stasi.
Book recommendation: "The Great Reading Disaster" by Mona McNee and Alice Coleman, Imprint Academin 2007. ISBN 9781845400972 £17.95

Simpleton,
Your observations are spot on. I was just over four and a half when I started school. And my parents were able to pay the bills on one wage. Grandparents and extended family were around us.

Nowadays, our young families are flung all over the place, struggling to keep solvent. The old security, the old certainty, is all gone. It's like living on a treadmill now.

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