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Theodore Dalrymple
The Less Deceived « Back to Story

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It seems that the gift of the gab combined with one's life experience in whatever a field one "succeed" ( or not ...), can manifest the instant recipe to understand the world.
In ancient Greece, the ( what is seems to be endless ...) enlightened "democratic" discourse ( or babbling ...) was based in the slavery- some people are obliged to plant the carrots ( which doesn't means that there is no awareness when one is mistreated in the process. Ah...memories ...Some people call it karma).

After all those years, I have not found the recipe to fix the world ( nor climate change either). I can see my feet of clay and, being English my third mother language, this mind mind lack the vitality ( or the interest) to excel in it. I'm not going this ongoing on-off lack of "concentration" and lust for wondering open space, asthma, rickets, being put down mercilessly by "the bosses" on the textile factory where I started to work aged 11-18, while studying nonsense at night at a terrible Brazilian private school ( the government ones were tougher but I could not enter it, after a 50 hours working week ...There was lack of "concentration" and longing to be outside and lose myself in the beaches of the world, "oblivious" to "success" and not envious at all of those who "succeed" - provided ....

Perhaps it is all a lack of "moral" intent. Right.
And there are the remaining allergies to bleach and other components breathed at the textile factory. So, at mentioning it all ( but it is not possible to say it all, thanks God and Goddesses) I'm here, after all those years, exploiting myself as a "victim." Right.

There is always someone who has worked harder from an early age, and "succeed" in the world ( of Wall Street included, amigos).

Beware of comparisons ...At the end of day, without ( all-inclusive) awareness, the gift of the gab might turn to be just - the end of day, and a devastating vital silence might emerge for the literate, semi-literate and illiterate alike. And the way of how one deals with such a shattering revelation cannot be conceptualized.
I was helping my daughter with history homework the other month, and explaining the concept of the "Potemkin Village".

In my daughter's school, there's a special programme for the bad and the unfortunate - the disruptive and nasty kids as well as those with learning difficulties (I fail to see why the latter should be lumped with the former, but it seems to be the way in "special schools" as well). It's called something like the K2 Programme, and the kids are 'the K2 kids'.

Back to Potemkin.

"Just consider", I said, "when the OFSTED inspectors are in your class, whose workbooks are out on display, and who does the teacher ask questions of ? Your bunch, or one of the K2 kids?"

"They can't ask them. When the inspectors come, all the K2 kids get sent on coach trips !"

If you are going to spout class warfare rhetoric in response to every point that anyone else makes, there is no point in being here. You need to see beyond your grotesquely oversimplified view of the world.

As far as good and evil, I believe that man's sublapsarian state is a propensity toward evil which needs controlling by social standards and punishment for rejecting civilised behaviour, beginning at school and at home. This is true as much of the rich and well connected as the poorest inner city dwellers. In many societies those at the top were allowed to get away with all sorts of wrongdoing while the poor were subjected to harsh laws. Do you consider this fair? Neither is the opposite policy of making victims of the lower class while holding the upper and middle class to much loftier standards.

What is your view? Seems like you support Rousseau in relation to the working class and Beza's conception of the Non-Elect or reprobate for anyone in conspiracy against the immaculate laity.

If you seriously believe multigenerational incest, child prostitution and similar brutality are products of any sort of class system you need to see somebody. Preferably a Marxist-sympathising therapist who rants about patriarchy and was an affirmative-action pick at their college. Anyone else would not even sympathise with such utter garbage long enough to debunk it.
I notice that "The Less Deceived" is gradually losing its pride of place on the front page of City Journal, class, so we've got to speed things up before we're toast.


I think our differences ultimately reduce to the philosophical question of the nature of man, JAK, that is, whether s/she is basically good or evil. Your responses seem to indicate innate qualities which, unsuprisingly, correspond to your view of the class system in England. In other words, the middle class reflects the former, while the rest reflects the latter. These are deep differences between us which wil probably remain just that, deep differences. But, as we say in Montreal, "Je m'en fou."

1. Your view of the "social contract" and its minimalist view of the role of government
simply confirms my take on you, JAK. No one said anything about "egalitarianizing" anything, JAK, just giving the "social contract" a more robust meaning.

2. Your "civil modes of behaviour" and your income tax rates are unrelated concepts, JAK. Struggle to be logical.

3. JAK, you've got to be more truthful in the exercise of your pedagogy. Your "graphic statement of your beliefs" which you "would never say to a pupil" sounds pedagogically dishonest. At least Gradgrind was up front with his pedagogy.

4. JAK, you've got to realize that your "exculpation" for a horrid home life applies equally to high school and middle school as well as elementary since - are you ready for this JAK? - it IS explicable by the class system.

5. I'm still working on what you called the teacher, JAK. A b**** -a** ed******? Can you help me out? (I think I have the first two words, JAK, but the third one beats me.)


1. You're welcome, JK.

2. We've gone over this one before JK. All three claims are false.

3. Actually, JK, I have quite a good idea about what went on in the UK during the Thatcher years. It all boiled down to a question of - are you ready, JK? - what side of the English class system you were on.

4. JK, what were you told about your class? Was it the "reality" or just a soothing fiction? And, of course, JK, just how did you KNOW that it was one or the other? That is the interesting epistemological question.

5. I want you to know, JK, that I always admired your mind. What's more, I don't consider you a "complete stranger" at all. In fact, I was growing rather fond of you, JK.

Have a good one too, JK.

1. I was bored at work and reading your comments provides around 10 seconds of entertainment

2. Reasoned
i) You stereotype people as ring wing nuts
ii) You have no real life experience to back your statements
iii) You provide no evidence to back your claims

3. Why should we not go down the Thatcherism road? You have no idea what actually went on in the UK apart from your misconceptions and biased opinions. You have a red/blue dialectic view of the world that makes you incapable of breaking free of your programming to debate on a factual level. Let’s not go down the 'how children' behave road!

4. I'm not going down that 'class' road either, there are people in the UK who assume to be part of a class because that is what they are told to believe, rather than it being the reality. If you've read Brave New World, you will know exactly what the class system is designed to do, keep you looking up and down. There are only two real classes, the elite and the rest.

5. I left the UK 2 years ago, thanks for the complement of considering me a 'great mind'.

6. Go ahead, just keep doing what you’re doing, as long as you have inner peace and happiness, there is no need to keep responding to complete strangers on this forum.

I believe that is now the end of term for me, I wonder if teachers learn from students as much as students learn from teachers. I bid you good day.

There will always be relative poverty. Redistribution of wealth is a flagrant abuse of the social contract; governments are there to manage in the national interest, punish crime and safe-guard citizens in accordance with need, not to egalitarianise or remove perfectly apposite bourgeois privileges such as by attacking the independence of the professions and imposing a punitive taxation rate at 50p in the pound. Yes, 50p. The Conservatives are unable to change this due coalition pressures.

Civil modes of behaviour do not follow from enforced pay of more than half of one's income to support the poor, especially when no suitable criterion of desert is used. Bureaucratisation of society and big-state politics leads to a decay of civility, in fact. As for my ADVICE to the misbehaving student? It is not advice to anyone. It is a graphic statement of my beliefs, but I would never say it to a pupil. Do you think me so heartless due to my belief in the market and traditional families with old school morals?

As to the pedophile ring victim, if I were principal I would actually understand that conduct as a response to his abuse and try to ensure he received professional help promptly before more damage was done to anybody and out of respect for his own best interests. Why? First, his age at nine. Second, the behaviour was directly related to what had been done to him. Third, the severity of the abuse from a very young age.
My argument against exculpation for a horrid home life applies to high school and middle school, not elementary where childrens' sense of right and wrong is yet inchoate and they are far less capable of recognising their abusive family member/s as not being an example to follow.

Why did I include it? As an example of the circumstances you say require empathic approaches for delinquent youth and unruly children, and how they are not explicable by the class system.

As for the sarky "subtle pedagogy" comment, there are occasions where subtlety is quite inappropriate. I was not the Francis of Assisi of my school, so I will give a personal example.

At 15, I described a staff member using foul language, which was uncharacteristic of me. In the head's office for another reason, she smiled gently and said "She's a b****-a**ed ******? That's an interesting turn of phrase now." The frisson of surprise from hearing my headmistress repeat my epithets, while she simultaneously downplayed any serious offence and signalled that she expected me to come up with something more polite, was sufficient to make me think about keeping my language clean, as my maternal family do.
But what if you're raised in a home where everyone curses and it is not the exception but the norm for you to carry such language into school with you? My head's sensitive approach would have zero effect; in fact, most such pupils would respond by saying "Mrs ----- curses, and smiles and jokes about it, so how can it be wrong?" Meanwhile, detention or suspension has a serious chance of preventing them from turning the air blue, at least in presence of staff.
Good afternoon class. I see we have a lot on our plates so, in the interests of brevity (does brevity have interests?) I shall keep my comments short. I'll go paragraph by paragraph, more or less. First to JAK:

1."I support the Class System overall." I sort of figured you might, JAK, and to be frank, everything you say flows from that assertion.

2. I agree, JAK, but let's spread out being "financially comfortable" and I think maybe those "traditional civil modes of behaviour" will follow. Your advice to the misbehaving student - "you have broken the rules so you will be punished no matter how much misery your drunken step-father put you through" - pretty well sums up your position. I'm sure it would be the same advice you would give to the one who had been repeatedly raped by his father and uncle at the end of your sermon. Good going, JAK. Subtle pedagogy, JAK.

3. "The fact that these ideas were NOT inflicted on haute bourgeoise children shows how bad they were." You don't find that a bit circular, do you JAK? I mean, it does rather take us back to point #1, wouldn't you say?


1. JK, if you feel that way, then what are you doing back again here on "Comments?" Why are you writing to me now?

2. JK, that's what they call a "pot & kettle" statement and, as usual, it's more rhetorical than reasoned.

3. Well, JK, that's not my understanding of Thatcherism, but let's not go down that road.
And did you ever ask yourself why it was VERY dangerous to let children or teenagers behave the way they want, JK,but did you ever ask yourself WHY they wanted to behave that way?

4. I don't know what "deluded individual" you might have in mind JK, but I'm on board with the view that the current system of comprehensive schools is unfair, not just to the gifted students from poor areas, but to all students in your class-structured educational system. Something tells me that you're not on board with one, JK.

5. JK, if the "best minds" in the UK have moved to America, Australia, and New Zealand, then what are you doing there?

6. Thanks a million, JK, I'll selectively pick out the lines from your response and label you how I see fit. (How does one pick out those lines without being "selective?")

Alright lads, that's all for today. Put down your pens and put away your notebooks. Class dismissed!

Montrealman, sorry for being late to class but I don't like to feed the troll, I don’t think I’d learn anything useful from class taught by you anyway. I would also like to clarify that I am not in any way associated with J A K.

How dare you accuse me of 'ad hominem' attacks when it is you who is the main perpetrator! I believe one can assume that 'actual content' counts as debating the article, rather than personal attacks against 'right wing nuts' and then labelling these people with your assumptions and stereotypes!

For one I am not a fan of Thatcher, through privatisation she sold what the people already owned back to them for a profit, she created mass unemployment and fiddled with the stats, her ‘training’ for the unemployed involved digging holes and filling them up again, she started illegal wars and cut taxes using north sea oil just to stay in power, she made the country depended on foreign fuel reserves, she brought us closer to Europe, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. The true nature of the Britain she created in the 80's will never be shown on the silver screen!

I am against the current system of comprehensive schools due to their unequal nature and unfairness towards gifted students from poorer areas, high house prices around good schools are a consequence of this unfair system. I don't believe this is down to 'market forces' or the 'invisible hand', someone deluded individual has decided that this is the best way forward and cannot be convinced otherwise. Sound familiar to you?

I would propose a return to grammar schools, and apprenticeships for those who are not academically inclined, but it already too late. The 'nasty word', immigration, means that some cleaver sod in government has decided that 3rd world countries should foot the bill to educate the UK workforce of the future, while the best minds in the UK move to America, Australia and New Zealand.

I'll leave you to selectively pick out the lines from my response to label me how you see fit.
1) I support the Class System overall. Communism and socialism are wicked, every society needs an elite group, and between a society where only those who make money get to the table and one with a balance of other factors that led to the English exporting the concept of being "gentlemanly" around the world the latter is probably a preferable option.

2)It is correct that those who have a good chance at university/college, or whose parents have money- not because money makes you a better person but because financially comfortable parents are more likely to enforce traditional civil modes of behaviour from a young age- are less likely to misbehave.

3)The exculpatory approach is NOT the only possible one to take, although the UK government under Labour at least wanted it to be, at least in state schools. But it is dangerous to let children or teenagers behave as they want and give only compassion and positive feedback. VERY dangerous, all the way through their lives, in fact. In primary school if they genuinely know no better due to their upbringing then make allowances. By eleven, that becomes an injustice. How about the approach of sympathising with the victim/s not the perpetrator/s and punishing those who know better than to break rules?

The approach of "you have had enough time to learn social norms and how to behave, you have broken the rules so you will be punished no matter how much misery your drunken stepfather put you through as a six year old, because your abuse is not going to help us replace the window you threw rocks at and broke, " to take one possible example.

4)I see you hate the class system or at least have gross bias against it. As a supporter of the class system, faute-de-mieux at least, I obviously reject all your views. But how can the initiatives I mention do anything to defeat the class system?

LGBT history week? It was upper classes who were often discreetly homo- or bisexual, and the ordinary churchgoing Bible reading man in the factory or the field who was totally against the practice. Whole language/ look-say? Fuzzy math? Should we drop everyone's standards so the malevolent villains of the Bourgeois Class can no longer have an advantage over the saintly Proles while writing a letter? Explicit sex ed, so children of conservatives can get free condoms in confidence? The fact these ideas were NOT inflicted on haute bourgeois children shows how bad they are and how they will only continue to perpetuate the class distinction you dislike.

Oh, "circumstances" of violent pupils- A friend of mine, an eminent educationalist, author and retired high school and college lecturer said that when he chaired governors at a primary the head said "many were just damaged before they even arrived" (at 4-5 years old.) Through deliberate abuse and/or neglect, British parents receive enough welfare to make sure their children are safe if neither works. The system is so generous that some 16 year olds hit upon the idea of being impregnated by an often much older man who will step to one side, then telephoning the local authority to exultantly apprise them of the news. She is now guaranteed extensive state support.

Another example of "circumstances". A boy of nine was excluded from a primary for an incident of sexual behaviour towards a younger girl. His behaviour veered from highly withdrawn to seemingly hyperactive. The truth finally came out: he had been raped repeatedly by his own father and uncle, and "sold" to other men while his mother watched all the proceedings for her amusement. He was even forced to have sex with his own younger sister for the adults' gratification. They had to go to separate foster homes after they wouldn't stop having sex with each other in care, believing it was normal. Is that sort of evil human behaviour explained in ANY way with silly class warfare rhetoric?

By the way, I am British. I am converting some British terms into US equivalent to facilitate understanding on a mainly US site.
A further bit of confusion, at least on my part JAK - your reference to your comprehensive and its "pro-Obama" assistant to the headmistress might indicate that you are an American rather than a Brit, but I'm going to proceed on the basis of my initial assumption, that you are, indeed, a Brit. So to your points:

(1) The English Class System: Far from being "beyond the scope of this discussion" I would maintain that it is central. Any school system reflects the society in which it is found and, in the case of England, that system is a deeply-entrenched class system, regardless of minor cosmetic touches at the edges. An incident: Visiting my cousin in the New Forrest region, we drove through a small town and she said, quite matter-of-factly, that it was the property of some lord or other! I immediately had (silent) fantasies of having his lordship strung up on a lamp pole but, also silently added, "Thank God I'm not an Englishman."

(2) Expulsions: While it might be true that at adolescence, "things can change rapidly," my sense is that those possessing academic ability or wealthy family backgrounds are much less likely to institute a "reign of terror" (see my next point) than their lower-class equivalents. In other words, JAK, the issue of expulsions - no suprise here - is directly related to the English Class System.

(3) The Comprehensive "Reign of Terror:" Being linked to class in the same way, its existence in the comprehensive is inversely related to its non-existence in the "top schools." Your caricature of the "empathetic and compassionate" approach to the miscreants is, in fact, the only possible one to take, given the circumstances and the circumstances, need I repeat it, flow directly from the English Class System. By extension, the same reasons apply, of course, to your caricature of those "new initiatives every year" which attempt, your blimpish posture notwithstanding, to resolve the problems created by - wait for it - the English class system.

A pleasure as always JAK.

The justice or otherwise of the class system is beyond the scope of this discussion: it is unlikely we will agree, but as for your two main points on schooling itself:

As for expulsions, they are not so frequent but happen for things like cheating on exams, abuse toward staff, bullying and violence. Children at 11 will usually follow the respectable path of their parents and go along with the rules of such schools; once they reach adolescence things can change rapidly no matter how academic they are or how wealthy their families are to afford a top school.

In the comprehensive I was at pupils were able to bring a reign of terror against pupils and staff for months before expulsion; at meetings, foster carers and social workers could advance excuses based on their behaviour being the result of bad experiences at home. The typically "empathetic" and "compassionate" left-wing headmistress and her pro-Obama deputy, a supporter of explicit sex education and the WTSC system, took the approach of feeling sorry for the pupils. They made it nigh on impossible for the less senior staff to stand up to miscreants. The problem with this is that empathy and compassion are deserved by the victims of violence/aggression/bullying not the perpetrators; it's not her job to make up for whatever was done to them before they were taken into care.

The state schools here have teachers frequently complaining of "a new initiative every year", all coming from the top and often contradicting the ones a few years before. The several u-turns on reading methods while prep schools have kept synthetic phonics all the way are just one example and they have been able to escape what you would call "fuzzy math" and "comprehensive sex ed" and sectarian nonsense such as gay/black/women's history week/month.
Good morning JAK. Sorry for confusing you with JK but you can see how I did it.

Yes, JK, I knew the article was about England which, if you don't mind my saying so, makes matters even worse. As it happens, I've just finished reading Ferdinand Mount's "Mind the Gap" which deals with the continuing class stratification there. I think youj'd like it as it has a general Thatcherite inspiration - raising up the working class by means of small property ownership so that it has a stake in society and therefore a sense of communal responsibility. But, given the urban demographic make-up of England today, I wonder if this is feasible.

Anyway, I'm not sure if segregated, private schooling is going to resolve the problem. Yes, private schooling has "greater resources" (i.e., more money per student), the "ability to expel troublemakers" (not many I'm sure in view of its powers of initial selection), and insulation from what you describe as the "ideas of fickle educational theorists." A bit of name-calling there, JAK, and not entirely justified in my opinion.

But isn't there a middle way, one which embraces all classes in England equally and to the benefit of society in general? I think there is, but that "way" is not to cultivate a siege mentality harkening back to another age distinguished by sharp class divisions.

Anyway, nice talking.
There is an episode of the popular animated television program "The Simpsons" in which the students of Springfield Elementary School are preparing to take their annual standardized tests, part of a program called "No Child Left Alone". In order to raise the school's score, the principal and superintendent concoct a ruse to ship off the school's worst students on a special day trip, to prevent them from taking the test. I guess life does imitate art.
By the way, I am not JK and I am not from the south or west US to say "gubmint", I am from England, which is exactly where the article is about.

Private schools providing superior education? Due to greater resources and more ability to expel troublemakers, resist ideas-of-the-moment of fickle educational theorists, etc. If wanting more market principles in education, a more traditional curriculum and old fashioned discipline is right wing (and I think it is) then it has everything to do with my conservative views.

I don't have any nasty words. Only constructive opinion.
Good morning class. I see that JK hasn't arrived yet but I think we can proceed without him.

Let's start with CH and go point-by-point, shall we?

1. Why is it a mistake to call people "wing-nuts" in actual debate, CH? As I always say, "Call a spade a spade."

2. I'm "an ignornant troll who doesn't understand anything about education," and consequently "mischaracterize" people's positions. I don't want to give my background in education, CH, both in theory and in practice. I don't want to intimidate you. (It's also bad manners.) So all I'll say is I'm sorry, CH, but your assertion is just false.

3. CH's "amusings" can be quickly dismissed in serial order:

(a) The Best Education: Private schools may provide "some of the best education in the world," CH, but it has nothing to do with your right-wing views. Can you think, CH, what it HAS got something to do with? Write down your answer in the space provided.

(b) Housing Prices: Look at your statement again regarding housing prices being caused by state education, CH. Now think about it. Do you see any cause-effect relationship, CH? I mean, really a cause-effect relationship and not simply your blinkered, constructed one?

(c) Empirical Evidence It's up to the one making the empirical claims to provide empirical evidence CH, not the one responding to them.

(d) "Gubmint:" Go west (or south) young man, go west (or south).

(d) I'm an "ignorant, ill educated fool." I don't know, CH, it doesn't sound to me like you're being "amused" any more.


A little racial slurring there, Frank? I bet you go along with JK's little "nasty word." Am I right? Anyway, Frank, I see that you are drawing on deep psychology here so I'm just glad no one will force me to give up my delusions just yet and that mummy will come and make me feel better. I know I'm going to stop whining and quivering when I see that grand conservative edifice, Frank, and I want you to help me see it.

Now, put down your pens. Class dismissed.
Oh dear, have pity on the poor Lefty, le p'tit canadien. They sense their time is coming to a close and in typical Lefty fashion cry, whine and hue about it, hoping that mommy (but not daddy) will come and make them feel all better. There, there, no one will force you to give up your delusions just yet. There are still enough conservatives keeping this edifice going so that the whiners and the quiverers can still feel safe and even pretend to matter.
'Montrealman', you appear to mistake calling people 'wingnuts' (whatever that is supposed to mean) with actual debate.

You have not 'won' this round, rather you have made yourself look like a crass and ignorant troll who doesn't understand anything about education and can only respond to people by deliberately mischaracterising their positions.

Typical of the left, unfortunately.

It is amusing that your criticise private education as being 'macschools' when private schools provide some of the finest education in the world.

It is also amusing that you do not understand that it is the fault of a failed State education system that house prices should rise around the few decent State schools precisely because there is nothing resembling a free market in education for the majority dependent on State education.

It is also amusing criticise the previous poster for not providing empiricial evidence when you provide none whatsoever yourself.

It is then even more amusing when you accuse other posters of pronouncing 'government' as 'gubmint', and where would the empirical evidence for that bizarre claim!

Congratulations on making yourself look like an ignorant, ill educated fool.
Well, JK (dropped the "A"?), judging by your intemperate "ad hominem" attack, I certainly seem to have touched a sensitive nerve but, in the spirit of cool, rational debate, I shall briefly address your points, such as they are.

I find your assertion to the effect that I have failed to add to the "actual content of the debate" odd since that is what I thought I was doing, but it seems it is you who is the one who legislates on what is to count as "actual content." Do you have any grounds on which to make the claim, JK? No, I didn't think so.

I actually have read quite a bit of Darymple and enjoy him considerably. It wasn't so much him I had in mind by "right-wing wing-nuts" but rather people like you, JK, who tumble out of the tree after Darymple has given it a shake. In other words, JK, it's YOU who sounds like someone who has "an inherent prejudice of any opinion that does not match your own," but I won't bother touching all the bases.

However, I do think you have the wrong end of the stick in claiming that it is the school system that inflates property prices around the "best schools." I thought it was your beloved "market forces" that did that, JK.

Similarly, I never suggested that Daryymple should offer any "magical solution" to anything, JK, only that, in respect to the schools he might have done a bit better than his "unnanounced pop-ins" by the inspectors.

And then, JK, we get down to the basics. When anyone, like you writes about someone painting a "true picture" of anything or "getting people to face the truth" I always say to myself, " Hmm. The truth, eh?Is that so? Where's the evidence?" I have found that it's usually the case that they simply award that correct insight into the true nature of things to themselves, JK, just ike you. It's like legislating on what constitutes that "actual content that adds to the debate." Ring a bell, JK?

Anyway, JK, I've gone on long enough, but yeah, you do sound like someone who'd be against that "nasty word." (If you don't mind my saying so JK, think Darymple is as well.)

Chin up, JK. You lost this round but I expect you'll be back.

Later, JK.
Montrealperson, please spend less time attacking other posters and more time on actual content that adds to the debate.

First of all I disagree that Mr Dalrymple comes from the 'right-field wing nut perspective', if you had bothered to read his articles, you will know he speaks from actual experience. This is your inherent prejudice of any opinion that does not match your own, you cling onto these boxes you want to put people into so it is far easier to live in your delusion rather than have it exposed for the fraud it is. 'If you label me, do you not negate me?'

Why should Mr Dalrymple offer this magical solution that fixes all the world’s problems? Would you expect this of all journalists? Should reporters of the problems in the Middle East offer solutions to how Muslims and Jews can better co-exist? Mr Dalrymple is one of the few journalists that paints a true picture of what the UK is really like, 99% of the population choose to ignore this and bottle it up as passive aggression, the first part of the battle is to get people to face the truth!

The current school system already favours the rich, by inflating the house prices around the best schools only the rich can send their children there, how is this egalitarian? I would like to see a return of Grammar Schools, the ability for an intelligent child to get a high standard of education regardless of the financial status of their parents. And also put a stop to that nasty word that always puts people into the ‘right wing nut’ box, immigration.

You sir are nothing but a troll, revealing in your own over-inflated believe in your self-righteous, you have fallen foul of the common dialectic of left-right politics, why don’t go find a nice liberal paper to comment on where you can constantly agree with other non-entities such as yourself?
Well, JAK, you should try to read over jerym's comment again. It might help you out.

After your initial disclaimer in your first paragraph, the meaty parts pop up in the second. You maintain, "in theory" - always a tip-off Jak - that you have nothing against publicly-funded education BUT - now here comes the right-wing rhetoric -"pontificating functionaries," "parents as clientele," "ineluctable decline" and then the kicker, "private companies." Get the drift, JAK? Any empirical support JAK? No, I didn't think so.

I checked out your reference to my mentioning "government" twice in my previous post. I bet you pronounce that "gubmint" - am I right JAK?

Now give us a cheer JAK - "Go Big Mac High, Go!"

Later, JAK.
Yes some of you should actually read the lines and not pontificate on what you imagine is between them
Montrealman (one word),

I do not understand why you are calling me a wing-nut and most of my ideas were not even right-wing. There are left wingers who accept the decline in school standards and would like to reverse it, because consistent with their professed worldview, it would then be easier for the disadvantaged to do well in life.

In theory, I have nothing against publicly-funded education, but in practice the field has became so dominated at the top by functionaries opposed to anything that doesn't give them job security and a chance to pontificate that good teachers can't change it and are forced to "move with the times", as the bureaucrats say, as if such decline was ineluctable. Perhaps competing private companies would be more motivated to provide what parents, as their clientele, want and thus deliver better. I am more for reorganising the state system to its amelioration than dismantling it though, so not a right wing extremist by any means.

Your comment itself- by using "government" twice- seems to make the point that he isn't anti-government, only anti-announced inspections. Until 2006, much longer notice was given to schools with even worse effects on probity. As he never suggests private sector provision of all education and his main point is the deceptions of schools under a regime that allows notice for OFSTEDs my reasonable assumption was that you were calling that idea reactionary.
Oh, dear, a right-wing wing-nut pops up immediately in reply to my post but, of course, it was not unexpected. One need only look at JAK's first sentence to immediately dismiss his claims, such as they are.

He writes, "Why is it 'reactionary' to want school inspection to be conducted in such a way that minimizes the ability to cheat?"

Well, of course JAK, it isn't "reactionary" at all and I never said it was. You must try to attend to what your interlocutor actually says. What I did say - are you sitting down JAK? - was that Darymple, stunningly, pulled the curtain aside to reveal - wait for it - his magic cure, those "unnanounced inspections." All fall down.

The rest of your post was, tiresomely, little more than the usual right-wing, wing-nut rhetoric. The issue is, can you establish a single point? Get over it, JAK, life will be easier for you if you do. Maybe there might be a right-wing militia out there in the northwest which will be interested in recruiting you. Do you have guerilla training?

And that's "Montrealman," one word.
Montreal Man,
Why is it "reactionary" to want school inspections to be conducted in such a way that minimises the ability to cheat?

And education is the cultivation of the mind if done properly... not when exams are continually made easier to inflate grades, whole disciplines and faculties of universities devoted to destroying our once-common culture and promoting continuous resentment and reprisal over things that happened decades or longer ago, and pupils are taught in a way that minimises the actual core knowledge retained and over-emphasises faddish theories that turn into nightmares once implemented.

All of this since education became compulsory and state-funded, yet private schools here in England follow a curriculum almost identical in its rigour and complexity to the pre-WWII one.

And pray tell me what you would have to put in place of "money-making endeavours" and "Big Mac school", or why poor children are most likely to grow up having to take some sort of qualification supported by industry that leads directly to work, any more academic and authentically liberal education closed to them by left-wing ideologues who call it "irrelevant"?

If it was left to the market, maybe the bottom decile could actually learn Aristotle and Shakespeare, not ebonics and how to roll a condom onto a dildo.
Theodore Darymple's "The Less Deceived," coming out of the usual right-field perspective, predictably drew the usual cheers from the reactionary, wing-nut peanut gallery. "Down with the government inspectorate!" he cries. But what does Theodore have to put in its place? Nothing, really. Only unannounced (as opposed to announced) government inspections, by the look of it. Good going Theodore.

Of course, the reactionary wing-nuts want education placed in private hands where education, conceived as the cultivation of the mind, will soon be given over to an unswerving devotion to the market and all its money-making endeavours in its various guises. What we need are more Big Mac Schools! Let's hear it, reactionary wing-nuts!

Jan's comment is spot-on. Modern education is built upon the iron rule of no accountability and no reason. Period. The intellectual virus that is crippling us knows its enemy and inoculates its pupils against it: logic.

No Fallacy Detectives roaming modern school classrooms...
Who should be surprised at this? Even if the inspections were working as planned, what would be the result?

It is been dismaying to see the UK transformed into something unrecognizable. We all know the causes, but with the means of communication firmly in the hands of those who only want to perpetuate the practices that led to the current system, there is almost no hope of change.

Not much difference between the UK and the US - we are only a few years behind.
1 in 4 can't read, but it goes on because HM Inspectors do not themselves UNDERSTAND what the system in phonics IS. Anyone wanting to know, come and see me for one hour.
Mona McNee, 2 Keats Avenue, Whiston L35 2 xR
I worked for many decades in private industry for various wall street firms, and I have to say that 'official inspections' by corporate higher ups or government regulators were always the biggest charade going.
We were always, and I emphasize, always, notified at least one day in advance of any such visits. Office refrigerators were immediately cleaned out of anything remaining in them that could no longer be recognized as any food substance, an outside cleaning crew was brought in to shampoo the carpets, scrape the chewing gum off the underside of the conference room tables,wash the windows, and dust and wax the office furniture. Employees were instructed to remove personalized screen savers from their computers, obscene or not, and replace them with one of the microsoft plain-vanilla screen savers. All topless hawaiian hula dancer bobble-head figurines were to removed from desks, and stickers saying such things as 'take this job and shove it', or 'excuse me, why do you think that your problem is my problem' had to be scraped off of cubicle walls. All male employees were instructed to wear a clean white shirt and a plain dark blue tie to work; female employees were told that extra tight-fitting pants or skirts more than one inch above the knee were also verboten during the next day's visit. And, we were warned, if the surprise visit occurred after lunch the next day, no one was to have any alcoholic drinks at lunch. (We did have one person violate that last edict; visitors from the SEC asked a few of us to sit with them in a conference room and chat a bit about one of our computer systems. One of our fellow employees appeared quite sober, but when it was his turn to talk it was quite obvious that he was intoxicated to the point of incoherence).
The surprise visit went very well, and even the last incident appeared to have been overlooked. The next day all was back to normal.
Dalrymple has it all too right as usual.

Three years ago, at 15, I prepared a note on the first day of an Ofsted inspection apprising the team of the subterfuges that had been conducted and failures to comply with statutory requirements on the school's part in the areas of curriculum and child protection.

I passed my summary to a supposed friend; fearful of the punishment she would receive for handing the note to inspectors (she would not have been punished, unless the inspectors themselves were corrupt) she gave it instead to a senior teacher.

So what happened? My mother was called and told to keep me off for "home learning" the next day, to prevent me coming into contact with Ofsted. I was not even suspended in accordance with protocol; the headmistress said this was to avoid affecting my chances of getting into a good sixth form if they saw an exclusion on my record. I and many others thought it was more likely that she did not want to have to explain why I, as a pupil who had never been excluded before, had one on the register.

I said afterwards, "this school has embellished itself with a superficial facade of propriety, for the delectation of Her Majesty's Inspectorate."

I am a medical applicant now. The lesson I learned is that if I see malpractice or ignorance of protocol anywhere on that course, I'll act like the Three Wise Monkeys.
The problem the inspectorate has is that it is politically impossible to face up to the fact that educational results are slipping.

This gaming of the system is done not only to make bad teaching look good. It may serve the further purpose of making poor students, taught perhaps as well as may be given their home circumstances, look good as well.

That way, every last uncomfortable reality escapes official notice.

How bad will our health and education system have to get before people realize that a government monopoly stifles creativity and inhibits cost savings that a private competitive market would provide.

Here in Canada, I wish our government would simply hand over the entire health care budget to Walmart, and tell them, you set the rules, spend the money as you see fit, and keep 10% in management fees.

I'll bet we'd have better health care than we do now.
When principals cheat, is there any reason to condemn students for cheating?

I don't suppose there's any point in suggesting that one good measure of a school's effectiveness is the percent of students graduating, and the percent of them going on to higher education - or, even better, to steady jobs. (Though I suspect that in Britain's economic climate, that may be too much to hope for - as it is here in the U.S.)
The same deceptive charades go on in the US education system. US public education began to decline in the 1960's, when busing and other heavy-handed school integration techniques broke up neighborhoods and forced schools to dumb down their curriculums so as to conceal the enormous academic gap between black and white school achievement. There was also an enormous socialization gap about what was acceptable and what was unacceptable student behavior. The sequalae are as follows:

Many US high schools now subscribe to "social promotions" and will pass students on to the next grade whether or not they actually know the material.

Colleges and universities constantly strive to game the admissions process so that stuents who performed poorly in high school can gain admission based on "life experiene" or "hardship" (AKA racial preferences).

Public school teachers are not the best and brightest, and students in teacher certificate programs are believed to draw the dumbest undergraduates in college.

In some school districts (mainly the lowest performers) teachers have been implicated in coordinated conspiracies to falsify student test scores.

Teachers are unable to deal with disruptive or anti-social students because administrators won't back them up and remove such students from the classroom.

Parents blame teachers for low achievement or behavior problems, when dysfunctional parents and unstable/violent home lives are often to blame. Guilt-ridden suburban white liberals often agree with these parents.

The effort to avoid pinpointing racial factors corrupts the whole system and causes the quality of education to decline for everybody.