Sunday, 18 February 2018

What is education for? The Tories know.

You may have seen, heard or read that the new Secretary of State for Education, Damian Hinds, is cooking up some kind of differentiated or graduated system of university fees, based at least in part on what he calls the 'economic value of the course to society' ! (I kid you not).

As someone who has spent his whole life being of virtually no 'economic' value to society, I'm very interested in what Damian Hinds' league table (!) of more or less economic valuable courses is going to tell us.

And surely doctors are pretty useless. What 'economic value' are they? They just prolong people's lives. What's the use of that? We need people to die the moment they stop being productive.

And why stop at the 'economic value' of a university course? (see Damian Hinds today). What about the economic value of each 'unit' (some fools still say 'child') from Nursery school onwards? C'mon, let's get productive.

In the 1960s some of us said that the trouble with education was that too much of it 'served the interests of capitalism'. We were of course loony lefties, anarchists, marxists and trots and so this outrageous, stupid conspiratorial idea could be dismissed.

Now in the 21st century we have  one Tory politician after another telling us that the purpose of education is to... be of economic value, to be productive (in economic terms) to compete with other countries. They're agreeing with what we said when we said education serves the interests of capitalism. Oh - except we said that this wasn't good. They're saying it's brilliant and we need more of it, and we need children to be assessed and trained and priced according to just how much they serve the interests of capitalism.

Fair enough. There isn't anything else that matters. Is there? Is there? there? Anyone there? Pick up. Pick up. Is there?

How to be rich

When I go round state schools I tell children that if they want to be sure of a good job they should leave and go to a private school.

What I tell children in schools is that if they want to achieve and acquire wealth, the best thing they should do is inherit it.

I tell students worried about debt that if their parents can’t afford to help them, find some parents who can.

I was explaining to this rough sleeper bloke that he could have avoided his situation if he had put his profits into a tax haven and he told me to f off.

I looked at the prospectus for Eton. Sounded nice. Everyone should go there. Oh hang on...

We at Metrics Incorporated

We at Metrics Incorporated prefer not to use the terms, child, pupil or student and use instead the term ‘unit’ which we see as relatively more (or less) productive in adding value to business profits.

We at Metrics Incorporated have checked on Michael Rosen’s metrics and found a high score for the translation part of his Anglo-Saxon paper for his degree but are disconcerted by his claim that he learned the translation off by heart the night before.

We at Metrics Incorporated do our best to help politicians confuse people by saying that Input A (one variable change) led to Output B (the result) even though other variables were not held constant.

We at Metrics Incorporated instruct schools to improve their metrics scores by not accepting or excluding low scoring students from the school, or removing them from as many exams possible in which they are likely to score low.

We at Metrics Incorporated put a lot of effort into training MPs and journalists into believing that metrics tell us everything we need to know about anything, and the result is that none of them question metrics itself.

We at Metrics Incorporated are worried that there are people in jobs on wages that are not big enough for people to feed their children but we congratulate the Tories for creating more of those jobs.

We at Metrics Incorporated have found it impossible to measure the value of the silence that a child shows while reading a book and so we have deduced that it’s a largely useless experience.

We at Metrics Incorporated have reduced the amazing, complex, subtle part of human behaviour called ‘language’ to metrics by turning it into bits of right/wrong fact; then we call these bits ‘grammar’ (to sound important) and test children on it.

The result of 'metrics' taking over the world.

‘Evidence’ was turned into ‘metrics’

Governments bought into metrics,

metrics have driven policy,

metrics eliminated the unmeasurable,

but the unmeasurable can be valuable, can’t it?

The Tories say education is a necessary weapon

in a 'competitive world' 
(they mean that UK business is in a war with the Rest of the World).

'Metrics' (that is: only teach what is measurable)

is their weapon in this.

Doing times tables fast (see the new test) is part of this.

The 'knowledge-rich curriculum' is really:

the 'lot of measurable stuff curriculum'.

One ironic part of 'metrics' taking over education

is that though 'metrics' is a commercial enterprise ('big business')

it can only be implemented through government policy

ie it's 'nationalised'.

Thus, huge centralisation of power at DfE with Sec of State and Nick Gibb.

There are 3 dimensions to metrics:

1. 'remember stuff'.

2. 'regurgitating stuff'

3. 'doing it fast'.

Note: 'regurgitating stuff slowly' is 'not good enough'.

If you disagree with the commandment:

"All that is un-measurable is un-valuable' ,

then you should know that you are a living embodiment of heresy.

The Heresy Police will be round later.

The govt has found money to create Heresy Jails.

Their efficiency in eliminating heresy is being checked

by Metrics Incorporated.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

How to blame the victim by Daniel Hannan MP

MP Daniel Hannan on Radio 4's Any Questions, 
responded to homeless man who died near parliament, 
with a string of possible *individual* reasons, 
none social, or structural. 
Poverty/homelessness apparently mostly caused by divorce and drugs!
Blame the Victim!
Vote Torillion!

Friday, 16 February 2018

Times tables testing

Some people who are good at reciting tables are no good at maths.

Some people who don’t know their tables are good at maths.

Some people are good at both.

Testing recitation of tables tells us nothing about all this.

It will hand more money to the corporations who devise the tests.

They impose a time factor on answering, which will increase stress.

No proper discussion was had about assessment as help to children and teachers, or what’s appropriate.

It will demand of teachers, children and parents more hours in order to get every multiple exactly right rather than time spent on concepts and problem solving. 

It is yet another way for the govt to impose their single view of education on schools and teaching.

How education is getting 'better'

There is a sealed system: 

politicians impose testing; 
force teachers to teach to the test; 
teachers and students become familiar with the test; 
results go up; 
politicians say it’s education that is getting better.