Friday, 21 November 2014

A degree of disaster- how Tony Blair destroyed British education

Ideology is not just crazy at times, but physically dangerous. If you hold on to Utopian and immature views, get the majority to vote for them (or implement them anyway, like gay marriage and mass immigration) you will be applying your twisted and confused ideas to real people who will suffer as a result. One such imaginary opinion has screwed the highest standard of education in the world, where people spend thousands each per year from all around the world to gain the benefit of, and can be proved from start to finish. One either misguided or deliberately destructive view (depending whether they are working from ideology or sabotage, as Blair did when he opened the doors to mass immigration to destroy the middle class society) is that given the same opportunities every person can do equally well, academically or otherwise.

Of course the fact you get people like Mozart and Leonardo da Vinci, along with many other children producing art, music and maths beyond degree and professional level, sometimes with little or no training, along with others who regardless of their background will need care for the rest of their lives, those are the visible thin ends of the bell shaped curve I doubt even the furthest down the road of Haringey and Islington politics could dispute were pretty much representative of natural ability, yet they dismiss everyone else in the middle as if they could all become the same as Mozart given enough encouragement.

That or they simply didn't want to admit the 5 million or so unemployed, so when the Tories went up the road of paying them to go off sick, which gave them more money and saved many people having to suffer who nearly all were sick (I've been through the tests, they are almost impossible to beat the system) Labour took one of the most insidious and reckless ideas the left have ever thought of, slightly less possibly than the statement 'We are Hizbollah', that all people are the same. Not equal, as our lives are all equal, but all the same as blobs of clay ready to be moulded in any way life makes us. Forget the genetic fingerprinting for virtually every quality known to man, separated twin studies and all the other solid science showing the exact opposite (Mensa studies show you can repress talent but never add to it), they blindly stick to their childish nonsense we can all be geniuses, except possibly: people with Down's syndrome, people with genetic deficiencies, people with brain damage etc, so using inclusive logic (deduction) if the people at the known extremes of congenital intelligence are accepted as having limited capabilities, surely that means everyone is on that scale somewhere? If not then prove it.

Regardless of the impossible challenge above, Tony Blair worked out a dual way to make him look good and reduce unemployment at a stroke. Let more people do degrees, from 5% to 50% eventually, despite the 1962 Education Act setting national minimum standards to pass. I know personally from a number of lecturers they are bribed to pass students indirectly through funding per pass. Possibility of corruption? Surely. They allow science students not to add up properly and English students to use bad grammar and spelling. One or two resigned, the rest happily play along. I can't quote names as people may get into trouble, but use your own resources. The point being that a degree had a 5% uptake because only 5% of people could pass it. My polytechnic, the overspill for people who couldn't get decent A level grades but were determined to get on, had a far greater acceptance rate, and all that happened was because the degrees were of the identical standard to universities (higher at times as they were externally moderated as well by the CNAA) more people failed. There was no incentive to get people through, quite the opposite as they knew if they made things too easy and the numbers and grades improved they'd get an audit, so they erred on the side of caution. Our head of Crime (OK, Criminal Law) explained it all to us when a visit was imminent, and besides that law is also governed by the Law Society as it has to qualify you for their finals as a graduate.

So besides the element of sympathy many lecturers had for us, as a result offering us extra free tuition, as Mensa pointed out, you can't get more out of the sponge than it has absorbed, only make the best of careless, lazy or confused minds which are otherwise sound but need their sheep herding tidily. I spent the first six years after graduation teaching and know the score, each person reaches their limits, while PhDs never do as they often keep producing using that as a start rather than a finish. That's why they allow resits, get it wrong, find out why and do it differently. If you can't learn from your mistakes you've overstretched yourself and will have to pack up and resort to M&S or London Transport. The lecturers all know this as they do far more in the area than I did, and only a few extra potty sociologists around who seriously imagine everyone could really manage it given the chance, but the evidence speaks for itself and is no secret among the insiders.

When asking the inane question 'what harm can it do letting more people succeed?' remember they would have nearly all failed in the past, and in technical areas these people will give the impression they are the same now as graduates then and end up in responsible jobs despite not knowing all the rules well enough. How could they? No differently from allowing probably competent medical and technical staff who can't speak or understand English properly, except if they made it the law (they can't, it's racist) most of them could remedy that. But you can't guarantee ever getting someone up to the standard of a professional if they couldn't have done otherwise. And when only those capable got through (including everyone from poor backgrounds back when we had free selective education in grammar schools) not only were they free but they paid everyone on top for maintenance. Then Blair (Labour) introduced the token precedent of tuition fees, which swiftly rose nine times, while Scotland (using the same money) still charge nothing. So not only did they lower the standard by ten times (5-50%) and reduce unemployment by taking that many out of the system, he not only saved all those benefits but (assuming they pay enough back) potentially made a profit.

So when the poor graduates of today end up with their inflated O and A level results so they think they've got the grades required for their degree in fruit management in Gosport University (which, like it's cousins popular culture and sausage production didn't appear to exist until the new system), then what happens is they get in, get a 2:2 or worse (unless there's a bonus for grades as well), and wonder why they end up only getting the identical jobs they'd have got without it. Of course the number of graduate jobs required never changes, so by turning out ten times more graduates only a tenth of them, hopefully but not certainly the best, will get those jobs, and the rest by pure arithmetic will end up doing exactly what they would have before but with letters after their name, and imagine as I'm sure they all do the As they got at school are just the same as the ones people got in the 70s as are their degrees. Now how a government managed to persuade the millions of extra school leavers to apply for degrees is a gap in the picture I can't fill myself, as just because you presumably cram in many more people to the existing lectures and convert every college to a university, how do you get the previously non-academic students to take them up? I can only guess it's a simple process of encouragement with inflated grades and directing them into paths they'd never dreamed of taking had they got the handful of Cs and Ds they actually deserved and returned to the real world at 18 and worked in retail.

So we have a system based entirely on a failed proposition that everyone is equal academically given equal chances, the marks from GCSEs upwards were shifted accordingly (try proving that as unless someone refuses to do it they'll be incriminating themselves for fraud if they go to the authorities) so suddenly within a few years all the grades were two points up compared to before, so much so they needed to invent the new A star as so many people were getting the existing top marks it was impossible to separate them. Of course A grades were as rare as hen's teeth till then, besides the annual articles reporting them for the old GCEs The Times published national degree results every year till the new numbers would have required publishing a phone directory for a week each year. The top marks were quite rightly the top few percent, I wasn't a very good student admittedly, but from a total of 11 GCE passes and 13 degree topic passes I got a single example, which to me is almost as valuable as the higher qualifications as it took me 24 exams to get one. Back then three As at A level got you to Oxbridge at least for an interview, now the average decent old university requires As and Bs just to get through the door.

So unless there's some kind of scientific breakthrough which has discovered ways to prepare almost anyone for a degree (besides making vocational topics and hobbies degree level which never needed them before) which would also mean every single study of education and intelligence since the 1930s or so was wrong, it's a stitch up. Look at the facts:

Degrees were a set standard, 5% of people on average took and completed them, while borderline students were let in and mainly dropped out. Suddenly 50% of people were considered capable of passing them.

Lecturers admit in private they can't fail anyone without either risking the sack or a very good reason, including science where lives may depend on their competence.

Removing a huge number of school leavers from the workforce for three years reduces the unemployment figures and the costs of benefits.

The increased cost of providing degrees shifted from the state to the student as a direct result.

There are never going to be more jobs required for graduates as you always need more workers than managers.

In the end the same number of people will have the graduate jobs while the rest will have letters after their names doing what they would have done without them as that is what they can do regardless.

Danger will be possible to the general public as many scientists and other professionals will be passed despite not getting their sums right and never needing to apply what they learned at work as the employers assume they did get them right as they 'passed' their degrees, while I for one know better from the head of said department, actually one of the world's best in its field, not some backwoods ex art school.

Why would ten times as many school leavers decide to go to university when they didn't before?

Add all this up and you can only see what I see, a total scam and one which gets worse to this day as the government aim to get the 25% odd or so current degree students up to the target figure, while many universities are cramming the lectures so full they don't have the space or staff to cope with the numbers, and more people from even lower levels of ability will be sucked into the already fake system with even worse performance and as the target remains at 50% will no doubt be passed to raise the numbers and further reduce unemployment and unemployment benefits paid out.

As all the philosophers would say, QED.

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