Selective feedback

According to the BBC, Ed Balls “received a standing ovation – unusual for a minister at a teachers’ conference – as he outlined the increased investments in education since 1997.”

Wow. Good to know. Those investments wouldn’t have included massive pay increases for teachers, would they? I believe they would (not that the BBC would ever spell it out). And who wouldn’t give an ovation when the pay concerned was theirs?

The Beeb seemed to think that Balls’ challenge to the Conservatives to match his spending plans for education was a solid punch.

On the other hand the BBC consider it just not worth remarking that one of Britain’s most celebrated recent war heroes wanted to “knock out” Gordon Brown, so angry was he made by Brown’s disrespect for the armed forces.

I guess Balls’ jab just seemed more punchy, from a certain point of view. (thank to Hippiepooter and others for pointing out the Beharry omission)

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28 Responses to Selective feedback

  1. Martin says:

    I have made a formal complaint to the drugged up w*****s at the BBC over the Beharry story.

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  2. deegee says:

    I’m not resident in the UK. Has there been massive pay increases to teachers or was that just sarcasm?

    BTW I approve of massive pay increases to teachers to at least the point were teaching becomes an attractive proposition for university graduates.

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    • Millie Tant says:

      No, it wasn’t sarcasm. Teachers did get substantial pay increases under Labour since 1997.

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  3. NotaSheep says:

    One of the first of Labour’s great pieces of spin was to re-designate “spending” as “investment” and of course the BBC happily repeated it ad-nauseum.

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  4. Scott N says:

    Ed Balls is facing a “Portillo” moment in the GE. The BBC are, no doubt, trying to help the bullying scumbag out. Seeing Balls’ face after the election count should be a memorable moment. 😀

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  5. Martin says:

    Never understood why being a teacher was considered a noble profession. Surely working in the private sector generating the wealth to pay for free hospitals and those schools is the most noble?

    Far too many people go into teaching for the wrong reason (I think to politically indoctrinate kids) it would be far better to get people who have had real jobs to go into teaching as a career change.

    The state system (excluding the few Grammar schools and some of the church scools) is for the most part CRAP, even the Labour party agree and they should know, very few of them went through the state system or do they put their kids through it.

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  6. 1327 says:

    I object to the constant use of the word “investment” as though paying for 2 extra teaching assistants for St Jihadi’s inner city primary school will pay us a 5% return for the next 20 years. No what Ed Balls has done is spend what Mrs T (PBUH) used to call “taxpayers money”. In this area that has mostly involved tearing down a large number of schools which really just needed new windows , plumbing etc and replacing them with fancy new buildings bought on the never never which will be costing us all for the next 30 years. In every case I’m aware of the teaching quality of the school appears to have gone down as well !

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  7. deegee says:

    Martin & 1327,
    Although no longer in the ‘profession’ and never in the United Kingdom I feeled obliged to defend them from some of the smears that I’m hearing here.

    Teaching is an immensely stressful occupation with demands way beyond the hours in the classroom. The children see you as the enemy, their parents pass on the message that you are at best 2nd rate, the administration sees you as a hindrance and the public is programmed to see you as responsible for every complaint they have about education. It is not surprising that 50% of teachers entering the system have left for other professions within five years or less.


    Education is always considered an investment for the future. Every  study has shown a correllation between better education and higher paying jobs. Hence higher taxes, higher consumption, greater leisure time and all the things that go to an expanding economy.

    Plans to bring teachers from other professions into the system have always failed dismally. It’s not hard to see why. Most industry (certainly Hi Tech) is cooperative. Everyone works together for a defined goal. Teaching is largely adversary. The pupils have no idea what they are doing in school; don’t see their studies as beneficial; and don’t want to be there. There are a few ‘natural’ teachers but for the great majority of us classroom discipline has to be taught or learnt the hard way.

    I am not an engineer so I can’t judge what was needed in those rebuilt schools. What I can say is that having taught in (and learnt) in poor accommodation is that children are not stupid. They see their surroundings and draw correct conclusions about the value society really places on their education.

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    • Umbongo says:

      The problem in the UK is that the education delivered in the state sector has ben ruthlessly politicised and, as a consequence, damaged almost beyond repair.  Worse, the teaching unions have been complicit in this process.

      Those of us who actually wish to recruit staff are in despair at the products of the state system who present themselves for employment.  Anecdotal, yes, and a very small sample but school-leavers from the state sector and graduates from the mock-universities coming for interview to my office in North London are, with few exceptions, functionally illiterate and innumerate: not unintelligent I would add but just not educated in any common-sense meaning of the word.

      Blame attaches to the politicians (of all the major parties) and the teachers and – to a slightly lesser extent – the parents.  To be fair though, parents of the 16 to 21-year olds I see have probably been through the same rubbish system so are as educationally deficient as their children.

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    • John Anderson says:

      deegee

      What a load of nonsense to suggest that poor buildings mean poor education.   Most UK schools have been modernised if not rebuilt.

      I went to school in unheated wooden army huts,  not even hot water.  Few books – I had one “textbook” before age 11.  The social scale of the pupils was mixed,  but nil upper or upper-middle class that I can recall.

      I reckon I had a far better education,  food rationing and all, than my grandkids are now getting.  I was taught rigorously to read, write, spell correctly, do basic arithmetic etc.  The old 11 plus exam,  whatever its faults,  demanded more than many 14 or 15-year-olds or even school-leavers can do these days.

      Educational standards really have declined here.  Nothing to do with buildings,  everything to do with lax education,  and the teaching profession bears a lot of the responsibility.

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      • deegee says:

        While there is no direct correlation between facilities and standards I’m willing to make a small wager. Choose the ten schools with the best educational standards in the UK (any criteria you feel suitable) and I am willing to bet they all have excellent facilities and are are kept in spotless condition. Not one of them would have broken windows and filth in class.

        There is however a direct correlation between the importance that is seen to be placed on education and the pupils’ attitudes. With respect during WWII and the period immediately after there was still the ‘We are all in this together’ feeling. If there had been an upper or upper-middle class school just down the road with all the facilities you didn’t have, your own attitude may well have been completely different.

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    • Millie Tant says:

      deegee: Although no longer in the ‘profession’ and never in the United Kingdom I feeled obliged to defend them from some of the smears that I’m hearing here.

      ============================

      So your experience relates to somewhere else – though what you say might well apply in the UK as well. In which country were you a teacher?

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      • deegee says:

        I transferred from Hi Tech (marketing communications) to teaching English in Israel. My school and first degree university education was in Australia.

        FYI the Israeli education system carried on without missing a step with the British education system after 1948. While I don’t say there has been no changes in both systems since then the basis is still British. Both systems have major problems.

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        • Millie Tant says:

          Interesting that so much of what you say resonates here too but then I suppose systems can have much in common and similar pupil and parent attitudes may prevail where education is universal and mandatory as opposed to places where it is scarce and out of reach to many.

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        • deegee says:

          BTW I wrote an Op Ed about my experiences called In the class room sharkpool. It received quite wide coverage.

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    • 1327 says:

      deegee – Please don’t get me wrong I believe that teaching is a profession that should be valued and several members of my family are teachers. However that said listening to their stories I have never come across a profession so determined to destroy itself as teaching. From what I have been told the barriers to entry have been lowered so much that anyone can be a teacher as long as they have a degree and haven’t been caught kiddy fiddling. Totally unsuitable candidates pass their practical training sessions in the classroom and go on to be teachers. The teachers unions have been campaigning for years for more child centred learning and less discipline are now reaping a whirlwind of their very own making. To make things worse I don’t think I have ever come across a profession which contains so much back biting and such a general toxic atmosphere as teaching. I have been on social outings with teachers who have moaned about false allegations from pupils but when I have asked if they back each other up to cover themselves I just get very funny looks.

      From what I gather then a new PFI school is built there is usually a voluntary redundancy offer put on the table for the teachers at the old school. Many good teachers in their 50’s take up this offer (as indeed did a friend of mine aged 35 and sick of the business).  As a result most of the teachers at the new school are newly qualified and without the guidance of older colleagues.    

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      • deegee says:

        I agree that the standards for admitting teachers have dropped. It’s simple supply and demand. Teaching competes with other professions for salary, conditions and prestige and offers little to attract the best (there are exceptions). Compulsary education means that teaching positions must be filled regardless. The M of E can’t say sorry we don’t have enough teachers so we won’t open some classes this term.

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    • hippiepooter says:

      Hi deegee, this is to your first message.

      As someone who’s done a spot of teaching I understand what you’re saying about hours.  Lesson prep takes up a lot of time, especially if starting out.  The notion of ‘investment’ in itself is a sound one, but if teachers aren’t able to impose the prerequisite of discipline to be able to teach it’s money down the drain. 
       
      I’d be interested in your comments deegee on the ban on corporal punishment, new fangled teaching methods, indoctrination aspects of a lot of teaching materials and the promotion of multi-culturalism as opposed to inculcating British identity.


      In my Primary school we were taught according to the 3 Rs and from the time I went to Secondary my standard of education has plummetted ever since.

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      • deegee says:

        Hippiepooter:
        Some quick answers to complicated questions.
        Corporal punishment: I doubt it works and it was never used against girls. That isn’t to say there is no place for it. The present situation where punishment either doesn’t exist or is so delayed and bureaucratic that it may as well not exist leaves the teacher with no weapons. I do have a suggestion that is cheap, practical and might just work. Every teacher has a button to press when that teacher wants a disruptive student removed from his class for the duration of the lesson or for a cooling off period. The deputy Principal comes to remove the child (this is probably best for middle school) and a note is sent to the parents informing them that their child was disruptive. Three such notes and the parents are called to school. Six such notes and the student is suspended from class but must attend school for private lessons at parent’s expense.
        New teaching methods:Once the discipline problem is solved some of these methods might even work. I do believe that if a child is not taught the basic 3R’s nothing is likely to work. Methods that succeed brilliantly in one context may fail totally in another. The bottom line is that there is no one size fits all teaching.
        Multiculturism: I don’t even know how to begin answering that one. What is British identity? Is Scots, Welsh, Irish and English identity the same? Catholic vs. Protestant? Where does Johnson Beharry, born in Grenada fit into British identity? The United Kingdom has a great deal to be proud of and most of what I consider the correct behaviour for a modern state would be the behaviour of the United Kingdom. That being said I don’t know how to teach that.

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        • hippiepooter says:

          Hi, I remember a classroom debate once when I was about 12 or so on corporal punishment.  The school yobbo had recently ascended to our stream.  One middle class kid was putting the view tha detention is more of a deterrent because pain is only fleeting whereas detention lasts longer.  
           
          The school yobbo, who’d had a few doses of the cane, asked him:  “So if you were given the choice between detention or the cane what would you choose?”.  The middle class kid just grinned in embarrassment because he knew he’d been caught out in some self-serving deluded nonsense.  
           
          Part of man’s sinful pride is that he’s loathe to admit that due to his fallen nature a key reason why we keep in line, even among the best of us, is the fear of painful punishment.  A good number of people accept this, but a lot, and they prevail in the teaching profession, have egos to big or are too loathe to face up to reality to do so.  It is no coincidence that when the cane was banned in schools indiscipline really kicked in.

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          • sue says:

            Corporal punishment is on a hiding to nothing. Pun intended. A counterproductive lesson. Everyone knows we learn by example. 

            People aren’t motivated to learn through fear. Caning might deter disruptive pupils in the short term while encouraging them to to beat up someone lower down the ranks later.
            We’ve gone too far down a path where too many parents expect the school to do what they can’t be bothered to, that is take notice of and responsibility for their children. How do you expect caning to deal with a culture of low parental aspiration and apathy?
            No wonder people who care send their kids to independent schools if they can afford it. They don’t use corporal punishment any longer either, thank goodness. 

            Not all that long ago when the then tory government had Kenneth Baker as education minister he famously said:  “We have a yob society, and the teachers are largely to blame.”
            At the time teachers were paid a pittance, and this misguided remark indicated to teachers just how little they were valued. If, as someone has pointed out, they recruit student teachers from the bottom of the pile, then find they cant trust them to cope without issuing edicts from on high about everything under the sun, no wonder it’s all gone wrong. Caning is regressive, wrong and shows a poor understanding of psychology and child development.
            I think the Labour government has  had a disastrous effect on education education etc..
            No-one even knows the way to hold a pencil. But I don’t suppose they need to.

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  8. Light Foot says:

    Deegee

    With all respect, stop talking crap.  How can you possibly defend the vermin in our government when you dont live here and dont have any inkling of the cultural marxism and corruption thats going on in this country. 

    Id look closer to home if I were you – Barry Obarmys trying to turn the good ole USA into the new, “progressive” USSA.  Workers unite!!!!

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    • deegee says:

      I’m curious. What did I say or have I ever said (I contribute frequently to B-BBC) to make you think I am an American or an Obama supporter?

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    • hippiepooter says:

      Lightfoot, perhaps you’d like to apologise for lowering the tone of debate in this thread.  As deegee indicates, your assumptions are completely baseless.

      That’s the problem with shooting wildly from the hip, you often end up shooting yourself in the foot.  In your case both.

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  9. Travis Bickle says:

    I find it strange degee that you are on the defense of UK teachers having had such little experience of them.  As they tend to be of the exact same marxist ilk as their BBC brethren I see it as deserved commeuppance when the socialist values that they preach to their pupils, return to bite them so hard on the arse. 

    When I was at school most of the teachers wandered around with a copy of the socialist worker hanging out of their couldory jackets, ready to beat the kids into a pulp the moment their craven authority was questioned.  I have no sympathy for any of them.  The majority of school teachers get into the occupation because like the BBC they believe they can brainwash the next generation of kids with their lefty rhetoric.

    Everything you need to know about the majority of UK school teachers can be nicely summed up in 38 seconds:-

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    • deegee says:

      Travis Bickle:
      Granted I make assumptions but so do you. One of the basic assumptions in Teacher education is that education in America, Britain and for that matter Brazil is fairly similar. This might explain why universities and colleges have Departments of Education not Departments of British Education, French Education, Braziian Education or whatever. I would be very suprised to find much evidence that there is a major difference between advanced English-speaking countries in methods and I would include former colonies, such as India, in that description.

      I would also be very suprised to find any evidence that The majority of school teachers get into the occupation because like the BBC they believe they can brainwash the next generation of kids with their lefty rhetoric. OTOH the teaching unions probably do have a majority of leftists (hardly a surprise).

      Here are some other more convincing reasons:
      * Received a scholarship on condition of teaching a number of years and never left,
      * Women who still see teaching as a second job to be dropped when kids come and taken up again later.
      * Last resort for students with average degrees, particularly in fields where making a living is problematic, such as art, history, sport. Economic downturns tend to make the relative security of teaching more attractive.
      * Family connections. Ask around any staffroom how many teachers have one or both parents in the profession.
      * A desire to teach, perhaps balanced by the desire to be a big fish in a small pond.

      While I do feel this article is a bit rosy-eyed, here are 10 Reasons to become a Teacher. A bit of a Google search shows dozens of similar positive articles. The Gramscist conspiracy you claim, doesn’t ring true. Regretably becoming a teacher for pay, conditions and prestige doesn’t appear to be on anyone’s list.

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      • hippiepooter says:

        Antipodean teachers in London are wowed by the pay they get.  Its so hard to get indigenous teachers to teach in inner-city London schools because of the discipline problem.  I once knew someone who went to school thinking you had to be an Australian to teach!

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  10. Grant says:

    Travis
    And like beeboids most of them would be unemployable in any other job.
    Great link by the way, really had me laughing !

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