What Would Gradgrind Say?

I had a good day. I thought I had deleted my photos from my mobile phone when I transferred them to the PC. Nothing special, apart from my conclusive evidence that UFOs exist. [A pedant writes: but Eric, as much as I love your blog, surely UFOs by their very nature exist as a semantic entity in so far as...]
Anyhow I managed to get them back so the truth is now out there. but I digress....

Today's startling sensationalism comes in the form of this:

In my day, we had tests at the age of 14 prior to the start of the dreaded 'O' levels. They were not part of a Government League Table campaign. Not everyone turned up for every end of year exam. Even at a school of excellence counting at least one First Lord of the Treasury and a Film director as alumni, there were bad boys; they pretended to have coughs and sniffles when the reality was different. They were putting it on! I saw then the future of European football. Events at Celtic Park this week confirm my darkest fears. I warned people in Milan when I was there last week but obviously my counsel was ignored and Dada continued the trend of dishonesty that only really began with the advent of NuLab in May 1997.

If only the miscreant of the hoops that produced the greatest knockout since Ali in Zaire had been given the chance of winning £100. In Planet DM he would be earning that in 10 minutes by drug dealing or benefit fiddling. In the DM wet dream he will have Polish heritage, disregarding the the nationality of Messrs. Boruc and Zurawski.

Anyway, it may seem wrong to seemingly reward good behaviour while those that toe the line get zilch. There is an another argument as to whether constant testing and tabling hinders teaching professionals from increasing standards, and of course, how we measure success.

However, in the case in the article, the actual cost is minimal. It is tantamount to offering a lottery bonus ball ticket with a maximum payout of £100. This does not stop the morons of DM Land pontificating without reading or understanding the article:

  • What next - paying criminals not to commit crimes?- Adrian, Reading, UK

I'd like to think that Adrian was a figment of my imagination and a symptom of too many beers but I fear he is only too real. Adrian, you must scare people with your reasoned and incisive comment.

  • Why not fine them £100 if they 'don't' turn up?All they are doing is rewarding kids for doing wrong!- Sl, North Yorkshire

Sl, you should be Lord Chancellor. Prick.

  • How about throwing them into a tough no nonsense boot camp if they don't turn up?- Jo, London

Either this is a wind up or this idiot is obsessed with reality TV. Short sharp shock. Never did me no 'arm, guv. How about you shutting the fuck up, Jo? Come back when you have some constructive points relative to the story. Or, maybe this is your answer to everything. Global warming? How about throwing them into a tough no nonsense boot camp? Aphids on your roses? How about throwing them into a tough no nonsense boot camp..?

  • Absolutely ridiculous! Why not fine the parents of truants £100 for each test they miss? Should be easy enough to deduct from their benefits.- Julie, Fethiye, Turkey

This is outrageous on more than one front:

  1. The £100 figure shows the lack of thought Julie puts into her post.
  2. She assumes all pupils missing the tests (or truanting) comes from a low income family on benefits
  3. She pontificates from Turkey. Hardly a shining argument for educational brilliance given its struggle with past sexist history.
  • Once one received prizes for achieving academic excellence.This is - publishable words fail me - pathetic in the extreme.The next step will be to tell intelligent pupils to cool it - for fear that they are disencouraging the dumb and lazy ones.- Dr Mike Bent, Spain

Dr Mike wades in. Always be wary of people who are so proud of their qualifications. I could put some after my name, but I am always reminded of a former Uni tutor who told me how he got preferential treatment on aircraft by virtue of his PhD without ever pointing it out on his passport. He worried that his specialism in Dialectical Materialism in Sub Saharan Africa may not be much use in the event of a loss of cabin pressure. Dr Mike has awards for academic excellence! He lives in Spain. He refers to people as 'dumb'. Not so much Bent as Warped. By the way Doc, I think you'll find the word is 'discouraging'.

  • This is the height of stupidity.They will be paying all children to go to school next.What an endightment of the Labour educational policy.- C W Andrews, Sussex

Endightment? Did you go to a school that allowed you to make words up? Perhaps if you had the opportunity to win £100 you would have used the word 'indictment'. See me after class, Andrews Major.

  • Pleased to know that the taxes wrested back from my hard earned pension are going to be spent on such a 'worthy' cause. Ridiculous!- Freddie, Northants

Please give authority for your wild claims, Frederick. No lottery ticket until then, mate!

  • Sounds good, how about giving the long term unemployed a £5000 bonus for turning up at a job interview?!- Jb, Gosport, Hampshire

Now the completely bitter and twisted arseholes crawl out. Jb, I wouldn't want you working for or with me. Perhaps you secretly crave the £5000. Sarcasm is only a weapon in the hands of those with the knowledge of how and when to use it. You will never make it in the sandwich business as you spread it too thickly.

  • This is outrageous and encourages truancy.- Tammy, Milton Keynes UK

Tammy from MK encourages hyperbole and ranting without reason. Discuss. Anyone not competing the assignment will be entered into the draw for a night out with Tammy. Second prize is 2 nights with Tammy............OK old joke.....

  • Typical, stupid Labourite woolly thinking. If I was a pupil I would start becoming a truant so I could be entered into the draw. Where does the money come from? Taxpayers, again!- Diane Baker, Devon, UK

Labour's fault again! Diane does not have free thought. She would skive off school for the CHANCE of £100. Cheap or what? I think you'll find Ms Baker that pupils have more self-worth than you. How much is your house worth now, Di?

  • They'll just turn-up to claim the £100, they won't care about the test itself! So why bother? It's their lives and if they want to be losers so be it.- Adam, Leeds, UK

Adam has clearly formulated a manifesto for happiness; he is often to be found expounding his crass views on this forum. He does not like many people. Adam, read the articles before you post. Then you wouldn't look like a complete tosser. I try to put across answers to these people on the DM comments section. I do not use the sarcasm, irony, wit (?), or abuse I use here. I use only reasoned arguments. Yet, despite the claims of the DM I do not get published. Of course if you are part of the usual suspects of Weems, Mark from Poplar, Adam, Leeds, Adolf from the National Vigilante Organisation et al, you are guaranteed publication. This is the case even if your comment is as meaningless as:

  • Which lunatic thought of this?- Fred, UK


Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!"

Thomas Gradgrind in Hard Times by Charles Dickens.

If only the Daily Mail actually dealt in real facts.

If only the Daily Mail readers could look beyond the 'facts' of the DM and look for truth and analysis.