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a more balanced, if stumbling, look at infant education

“What can the [Alexander] report be getting at? I suspect that at the root of its objection to “formal” education is a dislike of the government requirement — much ignored — to teach all children phonics from year 1; that is, from the age of five or so. Primaries have been too focused on the three Rs, the report says, to which one can only reply that if this is true, there is something horribly wrong with their focus — a clear case of aiming low and missing. One does not have to be Thomas Gradgrind to believe that a primary education that doesn’t teach all children to read, quickly and well, within a year is a failed education. A child who can’t decode words confidently at seven is a child handicapped for life.

“That doesn’t mean all children must start at four or five or six — many are not ready in any way, although others may already be fluent readers at three and four. But phonics itself — at the right age — can, with a well-trained, charismatic, fun-loving teacher, be good fun, as well as fast and efficient. It is forbiddingly formal only in the hands of poor teachers.”

Yes, phonics is essential, but it isn’t always ‘fun’. Iit can be hard work for many children, but getting used to hard work is not a loss. Wrapping children in cotton wool and pretending the world will always be kind, effortless and ‘fun’ is another form of dereliction.

Nor, in present circumstances, can teachers go untested by dropping SATs or whatever. There is greater anathema to poorly trained ‘teachers’ and their disgusting unions than measurements of standards.

In scanning the article, I came across the name Vicky Pollard. Who? I asked the beloved Google and I found this.

Vicky Pollard, 'Little Britain'

What an icon of ‘new’ Labour ‘policies’.

But those ain’t genuine chav kids! Did she have ‘new’ Labour fertility/dole treatment?

Marker at abelard.org

Glenn Beck, in his very useful new book Arguing with idiots - a compendium strewn with useful factoids:

  • highest spender on ‘education’: New York, $14,884
    grade 4 (10yo) reading 223, math 238
  • lowest spender: Utah, $5,437
    grade 4 (10yo) reading 221, math 239 [p.72]

And ‘new’ Labour is alive and well in Michigan!

“...in 2004 the number of failing schools went from 1,500 to 216. A remarkable achievement - until you discover that all the state did was to lower the passing score from 75 to 42.” [p.80]

Glenn Beck even puts his money where his mouth is. His children have been yanked from the state union cartel (about 2 million children are home schooled in the USA).

Arguing with idiots by Glenn Beck

Arguing with idiots
by Glenn Beck

£16.92 [amazon.co.uk]
$16.47
[amazon.com]

Threshold Editions, 2009
ISBN-10: 1416595015
ISBN-13: 978-1416595014

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modern society - “she did nothing wrong”, “the driver will get counselling”

Little wonder Obama et al. don’t close down the loons in Afghanistan.
Little wonder Brown the Clown hides under the bed every time there’s a problem.

Darwin takes a holiday:


00:34 secs.

The mother did nothing wrong?
How about putting the brake on the pushchair?
How about placing the pushchair so it will not roll directly into the line?
How about standing between the pushchair and the line?
How about, as in climbing, always keeping one point - one hand always holding on, or a foot blocking a wheel?
How about dressing properly before leaving the house?

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hitler, the arch liar

What fascinates me is the willingness to believe lying politicians, years after it has become obvious that not a word they say can be trusted.

Particularly in Britain with Brown the Clown and Bliar, and increasingly in the USA with Obama, it is blindingly obvious that they are serial liars, and yet people still listen and believe.

There is something seriously wrong with an education that encourages people to believe spoken or written words against the daily evidence of their own eyes and experiences.

As Abraham Lincoln noted, “Some of the people can indeed be fooled all of the time.”

Written in 1941 by an ex priest (Joseph McCabe) who became a tireless propagandist against Rome:

“But, while the concurrence and lead of the Vatican is certain, the ground of its policy is not clear. The key to it seems to be the extraordinary persistence of Pacelli in trusting the promises of Hitler. He had in 1932 made, in return for valuable service, a promise of a very favorable agreement with the Vatican. He had immediately dishonored the agreement, yet Pacelli and the German bishops had continued to appeal to him. In 1936 he had opened the series of vice-trials of priests and monks which had dealt the Church a heavier and more ignominious blow than ever, yet the Vatican had, with occasional mild complaints about persecution and paganism -- never about crime and brutality until Catholic Poland was threatened with extermination -- remained friendly. We shall see that at the opening of the great war he had made new promises to the Church, and we shall find the German bishops in 1941 complaining, while they still supported him, that he had not fulfilled his promises! This persistence in looking to the man who had plainly said years before in his book that he made his own moral law -- "What is Necessary is Right" is the title of a chapter of Mein Kampf -- is the key to this strange development. I say strange because, even if we admit that the annexation of Austria was inevitable, we should expect the Austrian Church to have met it with quiet dignity instead of waving Swastika flag's and chanting "Hell Hitler" like the treacherous scum of every country that Hitler invaded.

“Whatever Hitler promised Cardinal Innitzer in their very cordial interview he cheated with his usual fluency. At the moment of writing this it is confidently reported -- and as confidently denied, of course -- that Myron Taylor has taken to Washington certain terms of peace, or certain new promises, which the Pope is transmitting on behalf of the arch-liar of modern history. One would have thought that by 1941, when the Pope had seen Hitler lie and cheat so brazenly for eight years, he would have been ashamed to produce any proposals from such a source. For within three months of his pleasant and confiding talk with Hitler the cardinal was a prisoner in his palace, and hundreds of his priests and monks were in the hands of the police, generally on the usual disgraceful charge. Swiss papers said that "50,000 Austrians have left the church this quarter, and a further 50,000 are expected to quit in the next quarter." The Church in Austria was, as a result of its trust in Hitler, disestablished and reduced to the same pitiful condition as the Church in Germany. It had helped Hitler to secure one of his bloodless victories. It now bled.”

“In one of his most important and most carefully prepared speeches, a vast American as well as British and French public listening on the radio or reading the printed word next day (August 25, 1941), Churchill deliberately described in these words the relation of the French to the Czechs in 1938:

“A French government deserted their faithful ally and broke a plighted word in that ally's hour of need.”

“Note carefully that this was not an attack on the miserable group of Catholic weaklings which was called the Vichy government. If it were, we might allow for strong feeling and over-emphasis. But it was a cold and responsible Statement of what had happened in the tragic days of Munich. At that time Britain and America were cordial friends of France, and the betrayal was softened with vague phrases or even, since the whole world was still steeped in calumny against the great Soviet civilization, excused on the ground that Russia could not be trusted. In war, as in wine, the truth comes out. France basely deserted its ally. Why?” [Quoted from infidels.org]

supplementary
Laying the foundations for sound education

related material
the psychology and development of Adolph Hitler Schicklgruber
did Hitler know about the holocaust? A psychological assessment
‘Lie detection’

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the delusion of stability

No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
[Winston Churchill, in the House of Commons, 11 November 1947]

There is no way to stop crooks and fools like Madoff, Enron and Gordon Brown the Clown. All you can do is imprison the destroyers, or shoot them, or vote them out of office and forget about them, and hope it encourages the others. In the words of Voltaire [1694 – 1778 ], “Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien” - The best is the enemy of the good.

There is no perfection to be had, there is only improvement. Vast amounts of energy are wasted on worrying over some delusional perfectibility, while second-rate minds labour over idealistic and shallow masterplans for perfect societies, and third-rate minds follow those second-rate minds to perdition and destruction.

The world would be a far better place with more Churchills and Voltaires and less ignorant idealists.

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kinds of sanity in society

There are two kinds of sanity:

  • Reality-based sanity, broken when you believe you can fly off a high tower by flapping your ears, and try it.
  • Socially-based sanity: when you conform to the madness around you in order to survive. Other people’s madness is your reality.

Here is Robert Bolt putting words/attitude into the mouth of Thomas More:

“God made the angels to show Him splendor—as He made animals for innocence and plants for their simplicity. But man He made to serve Him wittily, in the tangle of his mind.”

And here again on the rule of law:

“Margaret: “Father, the man is bad.”
More: “There’s no law against that.”
Roper: “There is a law against it. God’s law.”
More: “Then God can arrest him.”
Roper: “Sophistication upon sophistication!”
More: “No. Sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what’s
legal, but I don't always know what’s right. And I'm sticking with
what’s legal.
Roper: “Then you set man’s law against God’s?”
More: “No. Far below. But let me draw your attention to a fact. I am
not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find
such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the
thickets of the law, there I am a forester. I doubt if there’s a man
alive who could follow me there, thank God.”

Of course, More got chopped into two.

And here again from the same source:

“When a man takes an oath, Meg, he’s holding his ownself in his own hands. Like water. And if he opens his fingers then – he needn’t hope to find himself again.”

I think that any person who has no point at which they will go to the wall, that person is not seriously better/different than a dog in the street.

A Man for all Seasons by Robert Bolt

A Man for all Seasons
by Robert Bolt

[1st ed. 1960]
1990, Vintage Books,
ISBN-10: 0679728228
ISBN-13: 978-0679728221
$9.95 [amazon.com] /amazon.co.uk

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more on the great mad ‘war on drugs’

“SO FAR this year, about 4000 people have died in Mexico's drugs war - a horrifying toll. If only a good fairy could wave a magic wand and make all illegal drugs disappear, the world would be a better place.”

“ The argument most often deployed in support of the status quo is that keeping drugs illegal curbs drug use among the law-abiding majority, thereby reducing harm overall. But a closer look reveals that this really doesn't stand up. In the UK, as in many countries, the real clampdown on drugs started in the late 1960s, yet government statistics show that the number of heroin or cocaine addicts seen by the health service has grown ever since - from around 1000 people per year then, to 100,000 today. It is a pattern that has been repeated the world over.

“A second approach to the question is to look at whether fewer people use drugs in countries with stricter drug laws. In 2008, the World Health Organization looked at 17 countries and found no such correlation. The US, despite its punitive drug policies, has one of the highest levels of drug use in the world.”

Marker at abelard.org

decriminalisation of ‘drugs’ in portugal

“Mr Greenwald claims that the data show that “decriminalisation has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates in Portugal”, which “in numerous categories are now among the lowest in the European Union”. This came after some rises in the 1990s, before decriminalisation. The figures reveal little evidence of drug tourism: 95% of those cited for drug misdemeanours since 2001 have been Portuguese. The level of drug trafficking, measured by numbers convicted, has also declined. And the incidence of other drug-related problems, including sexually transmitted diseases and deaths from drug overdoses, has “decreased dramatically”.”

“The share of heroin users who inject the drug has also fallen, from 45% before decriminalisation to 17% now, he says, because the new law has facilitated treatment and harm-reduction programmes. Drug addicts now account for only 20% of Portugal’s HIV cases, down from 56% before. “We no longer have to work under the paradox that exists in many countries of providing support and medical care to people the law considers criminals.” ”

related material
Drugs, smoking and addiction

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