Thursday, January 16, 2014


In the UK 40% of teachers leave teaching within five years of becoming qualified.

Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools, says the main reason why teachers quit is the lack of discipline in the classroom.


In the USA, anywhere between 40 and 50 percent of teachers will leave the classroom within their first five years.

One teacher gives a reason: "It’s just a lack of respect.

"Teachers in schools do not call the shots. They have very little say."

Those that remain in teaching are not necessarily good teachers.

1,000 teachers accused of having sexual relationships with pupils in last five years

Pew Research Centre

The 'culture' in the USA and UK is sick.

Nick Clegg accused of 'cover up' and 'cowardice' as Lord Rennard is cleared

In 2012, the UK's Telegraph reported:

"Pupils are being allowed to run wild with a 'total disregard of school rules' because of a lack of proper discipline in the home, it was claimed.

"The Association of Teachers and Lecturers warned that a quarter of members had been physically attacked at school in the last 12 months, with staff being pushed, scratched, punched, bitten, kicked and spat at. 

A third had been forced to deal with violence directed at them or other pupils.

"Half of teachers said behaviour - particularly low-level disruption - had worsened in the last two years.

Bad behaviour in schools 'fuelled by over-indulgent parents

Essentially, schools in the UK and USA are like special sorts of zoos where the lions are not separated from the lambs.

And the government officials who are ultimately responsible for these zoos are corrupt fools.

According to The Economist: "People who don't get on ... have the option of avoiding each other."

Behaviour | The Economist

This is not true for most children when they are at school.

The typical school is like a weird sort of zoo - where all the animals are placed together in the one large cage.

According to The Economist: "It is probably not a good idea to put two animals with high dominance scores in the same enclosure."

Behaviour | The Economist

Prince Charles at Gordonstoun

Similarly, it is not a good idea put someone like Prince Charles into a school like Gordonstoun.

"A prison sentence," was how Charles described Gordonstoun. "Colditz with kilts."

"Like penal servitude," agreed William Boyd, a Gordonstoun contemporary of Charles. "I happen to know, from his own lips, that Prince Charles utterly detested it."


Ideally, children have a choice of schools and education styles.

My town used to have several small schools.

Now, sadly, there is only one giant school.

Michael Gove played the school chaplain in the 1995 film A Feast at Midnight.[11]

Governments should not dictate how schools are to be run.

In the UK, the government minister in charge of education is Michael Gove.

Gove is making a mess of education.

Gove wants more rote learning of facts.

New curriculum swings back to an out of date teaching style - FT

It is surely silly to have kids memorising huge quantities of dates and facts and figures, when such information is now available online.

Neil Carberry, director of employment and skills at the Confederation of British Industry, says that Gove's emphasis on rote learning might not be the best way to prepare pupils for employment.

According to Stephen Heppell, an education adviser to governments around the world:

"Schools should prepare pupils to interpret data and understand uncertainties.

"We need kids that can make things and do things, and that won't happen by giving them a heap of facts."

New curriculum swings back to an out of date teaching style - FT

UK education minister, Michael Gove, living in the past.

The school system needs to become more flexible.

"There is no systematic use of the internet...

"Teachers still stand up in front of pupils and read out from their own lesson plans; kids still turn up to classrooms, sit behind desks and listen, taking notes.."

Schools are failing our children

In the UK, 19.8% of school pupils have special educational needs 

(eg learning and behavioural difficulties)

The EU average is 4%

Photo by Bert Hardy

Why does one child succeed in life, and another one 'fail'?

In How Children Succeed, Paul Tough writes that what matters most is character skills.

These are skills such as self confidence, optimism, perseverance, curiosity, conscientiousness, and self-control.

In other words, emotional intelligence, as taught by good parents, good mentors and good private schools, is what matters.

Both rich children and poor children can lack emotional intelligence.

"Suniya Luthar, a psychologist at Columbia University found significant psychological problems at the high end of the income spectrum... These problems arise most often in those high-income homes where children feel simultaneously a great pressure to achieve and an emotional distance from their parents..."
'How Children Succeed' — Q&A with Paul Tough

Bill Brandt

"Apparently medical reasons explain why children who grow up in abusive or dysfunctional environments generally find it harder to concentrate, sit still and rebound from disappointments. 

"The part of the brain most affected by early stress is the prefrontal cortex, which is critical for regulating thoughts and mediating behaviour. 

"When this region is damaged - a common condition for children living amid the pressures of poverty - it is tougher to suppress unproductive instincts."
School reform: Stay focused | The Economist

Website for this image...

Children who do not have good parents need good mentors and tutors, according to Paul Tough.

"Studies show that early nurturing from parents or caregivers helps combat the biochemical effects of stress. 

"And educators can push better habits and self control. 

"The 'prefrontal cortex is more responsive to intervention than other parts of the brain,' writes Mr Tough. 

"It stays malleable well into early adulthood. 

"Character can be taught."

School reform: Stay focused | The Economist

The problem is - how does a child from a problem family find a good mentor?

The best mentors are often grandparents.

But not always.

The silver-haired safety net


Anonymous said...

We removed a child from school at the age of 10 to home educate (the preferred term in the Uk, not home school, as education and schooling are not necessarily synonymous). There are numerous reasons why school can be a direly unhappy place for a child, and eventually we could no longer justify expecting them to drag themselves there day in and day out while hating every single minute of it. As an adult, if you loathe your job you can at least seek alternative employment, or make a different career choice. If you are assaulted at work, victimised by your boss or your colleagues, accused of something you didn't do or punished because of the misdeeds of others, you have legal recourse. Imagine if you didn't. Imagine if the law required you to stay in that situation no matter how much you hated it and no matter how it made you feel. Imagine if, when you went through the complaints procedure, at every step the people who were supposed to help you closed ranks to protect themselves and their jobs and the reputation of the institution. This probably happens to adults sometimes. It happens to children a lot. They feel angry and helpless, their self-esteem plummets and they lose faith in everything, even their parents, whose power to protect them and advocate for them within the system is limited. When you start to home educate you find out how many other families there are who withdrew their kids from school for similar reasons, but you also meet lots of families who home educated from the start, whose children have never been to school, and realise how much better some of these children's social skills are and how much more confident they are, never having been polygonal pegs rammed into square holes, at best, or actually traumatised at worst. Read John Holt ('How children learn', 'How children fail' and 'Teach your own') and John Taylor Gatto ('Dumbing us down'). Had we been able to afford a small, private school we might have gone down that route, but now, with a lovely teenager making their way through college, we have no regrets at all.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Children are promoted despite poor performance so there is no incentive to do their work, meet deadlines and behave. There are many paraprofessionals in the classroom who pull kids out that are already behind so they can never catch up. Now that kids have computers at their fingertips, they should be taught to sort out disinformation. Instead, most reading material is fantasy. Basic learning, the three r's are not taught well so later learning is superficial.

Anonymous said...

Unruly children; broken families; clueless parents - if there are parents at all; liberal sexual mores; fun, fun, fun; it's all part of the hidden, marxist agenda: moral decadence to ruin christian civilization.

We need a new Restauration of the Catholic Church!!

'How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization' Thomas E. Woods Jr.

Anonymous said...

Homeschooling is awesome! I have been homeschooled my whole life until college early at 15. While I was freshman at college, a discuss about school bullying began during one of my classes. I could not believe the pain and torment these young adults were forced to have endured. Everyone had a horrific story. Being the only student not speaking, the professor asked what I thought. I told her I was homeschooled and never had any of those experiences. The whole class bulked.

Ironically, all my life ignorant strangers have accused homeschoolers as "lacking socialization." I guess I now now what school "socialization" looks like.

Anonymous said...

Although it's easy to blame 'bad parents' for badly behaved kids (and I don't deny bad parents exist) the 'system' has a lot to answer for. The so-called 'peer group' could actually be seen as a very contrived and unnatural way for children to learn social skills. When, as adults, are we expected to consider a group of 30 or more others as our friends and peers, based on nothing but the fact that we were born in a particular year? As an adult, the people I choose to call my friends range from about 20 years younger than me to 40 years older than me. Effectively, because kids are forcibly grouped into such narrow age-ranges, they're in the catch-22 situation of having to learn social skills from each other, when none of them have actually developed social skills yet. Particularly in secondary schooling, the low adult-child ratios mean there is little opportunity for beneficial mentor relationships to develop, never mind the constant control needed to force-feed a dull, uninspiring curriculum into bored, uninspired, unstimulated minds. One of my most passionate interests, as an adult, is human biology. I hated it in school - delivered in a dry, dull monologue by a humourless, petty tyrant with no apparent interest in the subject. It's no wonder that adults so often come to be seen as 'the enemy'.

Anonymous said...

If you ever have a chance to talk to children about the pain and sadness of their lives you will get a floodgate of heartbreaking stories.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:50

You are so right!! It is very wrong to put children in 'narrow age-ranges' This is one of the things I loved so much about Italy. You will find whole families together: grandparents, parents, children. At least untill the 1980's you would find the whole village dancing together. The elderly sitting and chatting and the younger generations dancing together.

That's the catholic way: FAMILIES!!

Europe has to restore the Catholic Church, but the CC has to clean the infiltrated Vatican first!!

Anonymous said...

@Anon 4:10

my comment is aimed at you and all who see themselves in what I am about to write.

In Australia today. a beautiful young boy/man was farewelled by his beautiful and devastated family.

He was an innocent, 'king-hit' by a delinquent who is now facing murder charges.

Our Governor General was shown on national television telling the sheeple that this kinda violence is un Australian and unacceptable.

In theory of course, we all would agree.

However, at the same time, a teacher in NSW was has been forced to resign because he 'stood up to a student who threatened to 'king hit' him.

And more tragically, an Australian Army Captain, known to be emotionally disturbed following service in Afghanistan, has been found frozen to death in UP state New York.

Caring Society??? Do not believe the guff of those in so-called 'power'. The so-called 'elite' are in reality the 'useful idiots' while the rest are slaves or otherwise 'useless eaters'.

Only Masters and Slaves allowed. God bless all the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

In case I did not make myself clear: the devastation of the parents of a deceased and beautiful young boy, king hit, is relative to the pain of the boy who delivered that king hit.

And the journos et al are calling for the government to do something about alcohol fuelled violence.

Anybody see the elephant in the room?

family breakdown
crap education
no jobs
no real future for too many

Anonymous said...

Hullo Aang,

This is tangential but you may be interested - Asia is very different to here. I was an English teacher in Japan for a couple of years and their relationship to teachers is really something.

Teachers are categorised with doctors and get to be called 'sensei' instead of 'san'. It may not sound like much but everywhere you go you get called 'sensei'. It's cool.

Further to that every time there's gift-giving going on teachers must be included. It's small potatoes, and no one was ever going to get rich from it, but it's nice regardless. Teachers (along with nakodo, matchmakers, feature prominently as those who will receive nengajo, New Year's Cards, every year for life.

Certainly the Japanese system is not perfect and their classroom arrangement is a sure recipe for bullying. In Japan the nail that sticks up is always hammered down.

But still! I have to say that what with having been one half of the equation, ie. a teacher, and thus a recipient of the love and respect that goes with it, in the face of what you outline here, I think we could at least declare that the respect of one side for another is a good start, enough to make one think that this is a job worth having.

Of course that's not to say that such a societal trait could be jammed into the English system and problem solved. The Asian respect for teachers is not a discrete stand-alone element but rather an inseparable part of the bedrock of Confucian filial piety. I note that in China Confucius is having a resurgence - a movie starring Chow Yun Fat featured strongly a few years ago.

Regardless, between an Asian filial piety and a relentless Western emphasis on that most oxymoronic of things, 'youth culture', (wherein kids always know better than their parents - watch any TV show - it's always this way), only one of them has a future that makes sense.

Here's what the West needs to wake up to: kids are not going to lead us to anywhere useful. Declaring that adults are out of touch and that we must ask the kids what they want is a mug's game. And a disservice to kids frankly.

No simple answers to the problem here, certainly not for something as debased as education has been made, but it's a thought.

best etc. etc.

Anonymous said...

The will of a child should not be broken.
Its soul has not been made for others to tame and ride for their own convenience.
Its origin is historic. A child is not an empty vessel ready for filling. Not a poison container for the hang ups of the generation preceding its arrival. The new are not born to fulfil the old but to renew them.

Children seem to me to be processed through a prison system designed to make them dull and fit for purposeless tasks to fit later into the factory and animal farming system that is in place. This happens to them when they are defenceless and unaware of the hierarchical system that they will later be set up against.

Unfree to move and learn in the world of nature - on their own terms, the young of the poorer classes find themselves fenced in the endless suburbs and industrial wastelands. Not a bird nor a tree to experience happiness with. Sometimes there’s a park or a patch of garden where a public right of way exists – but it’s then something special to search out instead of being all around.

That’s the path the industrial world has chosen in its quest for money and power over others
Almost everybody has been repressed whether they know it or not.

Schools keep a child captive. The environment with its constant demands, makes a human give up their sense of separate identity and any decision over what they want to do with their day and hus their life. Schools are only bearable because of the other children being there.

Italy’s first female doctor, Madame Montessori, had to leave Italy because of the rise of Mussolini. She went instead to set up schools on a different basis in Chennai in India. She was convinced of the good heartedness and natural industriousness of the autonomous human child.
She wrote: “‘Like others I had believed that it was necessary to encourage a child by means of some exterior reward that would flatter his baser sentiments, such as gluttony, vanity, or self-love, in order to foster in him a spirit of work and peace. And I was astonished when I learned that a child who is permitted to educate himself, really gives up these lower instincts. I then urged the teachers to cease handing out the ordinary prizes and punishments, which were no longer suited to our children, and to confine themselves to directing them gently in their work.’

I think a great deal more speace must be offered to the children.

Anonymous said...

anon 9.22
my understanding of MM was that she gave birth to a child with her teacher mentor, already married. She gave her child to a nurse in the country, carried on with her 'work' and later in life her son carried on with her work.

Like the Christ, I am not really interested in arguing on the facts, since none of us really know the facts.

Just because we read stuff, we have to read an awful lot before we can draw our own conclusions, and then, that is what they are: our own conclusions and opinions blah.

Living in Canada in the eighties I looked at a Montessori school for my precious daughter.

It was NOTHING like I had expected from my readings, and I did not enrol my daughter there.

Now that I am old, I would home school my own children.

Maria was no doubt terrific, but she gave up her own son for the 'system;. Rudolph Steiner was another terrific understander of the radiance of childhood. Yet another is Alice Miller.

Alice Miller (deceased) is probably my personal favourite, altho she never seemed to get over her own anger at the system.
Her anger made her books difficult to read.

I read them all, anyway.
Please do look her up.

Love xx

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