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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dopey Dawn comes bottom of the class

Is there a more stupid person in our government than Dawn Primarolo? To be fair to her, there probably is (Gordon Brown springs to mind). But with her latest mealy-mouthed offerings, dopey Dawn has done her level best to persuade everybody she’s thicker than a ham-and-phonebook sandwich. It’s almost embarrassing to repeat what she said but her comments have value insofar as they give a perfect illustration of why the Left in Britain has failed to deliver on education.

Primarolo was responding to the Conservative party’s plans to reform school league tables. If they win the next general election, the Tories say they’ll consider bringing in a system that would give greater weight to subjects such as maths and science at A-Level. If they did this, the Conservatives would be formalising what has been recognised for many years: that some subjects are easier than others; that there are ‘soft’ options when it comes to academic studies.

There is no doubt whatsoever that this is true. The best result I got at A-Level was in History but I’m certain, beyond any doubt, that maths would have been significantly harder to study. What would impress you more on a C.V.: a ‘B’ in Chemistry or an ‘A’ in Media Studies? Like Home Economics, it’s a no-brainer.

When it comes to degrees, the comparisons are even starker. We all know which ones are utter crap and worthless and which are respected and useful. “Um, yah, I got a First in a combined degree encompassing Golf Course Management, Massage, Complimentary Medicine, Naval Gazing and Cannabis Cultivation.” Wow, well done! That will get you your dream job, assuming it’s working in a windowless call centre in Peterborough for the rest of your life, spending your days daydreaming about calmly but carefully gunning down every last one of your despised colleagues.

But Dawn Primarolo – the Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families no less – has a different view. She thinks it is "preposterous" to suggest some subjects are tougher than others. This is what she told the BBC: "The idea that there are soft and hard, that some are better and others are second class, I think, frankly, is completely wrong and this does not help us take forward the very important debate of how do we make sure our children go to schools that stretch them, whether they're falling behind or they're bright, that they come out with qualifications that build on their potential and take them forward in the future."

By uttering such nonsense, Primarolo is defining her three priorities on education: bullsh*t, bullsh*t and bullsh*t. But she’s doing more than this; she’s casting clear white light on why the Left can’t be trusted with the education of our children.

The political correctness of Potty Primarolo dictates that when it comes to education, judgements cannot be made. Nothing is easy or hard. There is no win or lose. In the recent past, Sports Days were abolished in some schools because of fears pupils could feel bad for coming last in the sack race. It didn’t strike the besandalled buffoons responsible for this lunacy that it might actually benefit young people to learn to compete, and to win or lose gracefully; that it might equip them for life in the real world in which successes and failures happen every day and resilience is key to survival.

The Left’s laudable ambition is to ensure everyone gets a fair crack of the educational whip, irrespective of class or wealth. I wholeheartedly support this ideal. It’s not fair that that middle-class Martin gets better grades than sink-estate Stevie just because Martin has bright parents, bookshelves and broadband, whereas Stevie has to study in a noisy, sibling-packed council house that stinks of Rottweiler piss and the rancid smoke of his mother’s Lambert and Splutter.

But the way to fix this inequality is not to lower standards: it’s to increase opportunities for all. It’s to strive for excellence everywhere. It’s to look at the best schools and do whatever it takes to replicate them across the country. It’s to address the desperate social problems that lock thousands of kids into ignorance and unemployment.

The Government has failed to address these real issues so instead it makes it easier for everyone to get qualifications and pretends they’re all worth the same. There are more top grades and more people going to university. But anyone who has read the C.V. of an average graduate will have witnessed the lamentable grasp of English that students who have gone right through the education system possess.

Saying there are no hard or soft subjects is like saying all MPs have equal talents and intellects. Thanks to Dopey Dawn, we definitely know that’s not true…

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