Vicarious Vitriol And Questions Inspired Therefrom.

Here’s another one for the Brits out there and, again, it’s inspired by taking in the vitriol at HYS.

The school system in the UK: return to the old streaming-at-eleven approach, keep with the current setup (whatever that is, see below), or go for something else entirely?

Don’t bother ranting to me about the bane of education that is the ream of standardized testing – you should the craziness going on here in California. Suffice it to say that I know what you’re talking about, in that regard.

On a related note, I’ve noticed that most of the pro ‘bring back the grammar school system’ rants I’m reading are talking about how it gives smart kids a chance, regardless of their socio-economic background1, and leaves the not-so-bright to the tender mercies of the more trade-oriented schools are written by folks who passed their 11+. There’s a broad undercurrent of ‘pity the poor dummies who didn’t get to go to grammar school’, which I think is a) terribly patronizing and b) not all that accurate.

My father passed his 11+. His brother didn’t. Brother joined a major manufacturing firm as a middle-manager, before moving into politics and is now a councilor for a medium-sized city in the UK. I’d hardly call that a failure. Sure, my dad went on to university, but he admits that a degree in something very silly (I don’t feel like divulging details in a public blog, sorry) didn’t have any relevance to his career after school – it was just a fast-pass into the management track. So I think the “We’re so lucky we went to grammar school, yay!” crowd needs to get off their high horse.

New Labour seems to have admitted that the comprehensive system is a washout, but I can’t find any clear reports on what they’re trying to replace comprehensive schools with. More narrowly focused academies? Magnet schools? It’s one of those topics I’m sure I’d have a better understanding of if I wasn’t 6,000 miles away from the UK. Feel free to pass along any interesting URLs you might happen to have up your sleeve, dear reader.

So, yeah, just wondering and all…

1 – a fair point and one I agree with, there. Don’t get me wrong on that.

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