Sunday, January 07, 2007

The follies of educational dogmatism

Cranmer’s readers may well expect today some focus on the corruption in the Catholic Church - with an aspiring cardinal revealed to be a former Communist spy; or the fears of the Archbishop of Canterbury - that he may preside over schism in the Anglican Communion. Whilst he does not wish to disappoint his regular communicants, he feels drawn to circulate more widely the revelation that a Cabinet Minister has chosen to send his/her child to a private school, costing £15,000 per annum.

The identity of the minister is a mystery – he/she not revealed in The Sunday Times, except to say that he/she ‘used to be a key part of Tony Blair’s education team’.
UPDATE Mon 8 Jan
It is revealed that the minister in question is none other than the representative of Opus Dei to Her Majesty's Government, Ruth Kelly.

Of course, the child, a dyslexic, has every right to remain anonymous, but not so the hypocritical minister who preaches one dogma whilst practising another – simply because she can afford to.

Labour has closed 117 special needs schools since 1997, insisting that all should be educated in mainstream schools. This has had the unintended effect of forcing schools to find £100,000s for infrastructure improvements and specialist staff to cater for the plethora of divergent needs that these children have, not to mention the adverse effect some special needs children may also have on the education of others.

It is also a little irritating that this minister has not sent her child to a special needs school within the catchment area of the London borough in which she lives, but to a rather more pleasant school in the home counties. It is reported to possess ‘extensive grounds, including a heated swimming pool, and also offers riding and golf’. It teaches just 60 students, offering an enviable student-teacher ratio. So why do our dyslexic children (and those with Asperger's or Tourette's - the list is vast) have to be educated in mainstream schools, while the minister's child enjoys the best that money can buy?

Mr Blair’s 10-year focus on ‘Education, Education, Education’ has manifestly failed to deliver, at least to the satisfaction of Ruth Kelly. But then, she is simply following the example of the Prime Minister himself, who sent his own children to a grant-maintained, selective, Catholic school. Harriet Harman also sent one of her children there, and another to a selective grammar school in Bromley; and the left-wing MP Diane Abbott sent her son to the fee-paying City of London school. When one adds the names Paul Boateng, Lord Falconer, and Baroness Symons to the list, one may very justifiably ask why politicians only become aware of the absurdities and inadequacies of their educational dogmatism when the practical outworking begins to directly affect them.

So why, O why, is Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition embracing such dogma, opposing the introduction of new grammar schools? They have been a formidable engine of social mobility, and a manifest educational success story. Doubtless Mr Cameron’s policy will endure just as long as his own children are of the age they are, and not directly affected. In the meantime, we ordinary folk simply have to put up with the system, and pray for our politicians to be more empathetic of the trials and tribulations they inflict upon us.

Philosophical dogma is only worth spouting when the political consequence is good. That must be the universal aim of all human ethical activity, and it must begin with education, since reasoning is a distinctive human capacity. A life lived according to reason, and aimed at virtue, results in the happiness that comes from fulfilling one's purpose in life. Why should any deficient educational dogma be permitted to interfere with that noble pursuit?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You proddies make me laugh. Jealous of the Apostolic Catholic church, your own faith controlled by wooly thinkers to such an extent that it is more a cultural society than a religion. Woman priests, openly gay priests and approved gay marriages. The next head of your faith is a divorced adulterer. No wonder the numbers are declining.

7 January 2007 at 17:12  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

" ... one may very justifiably ask why politicians only become aware of the absurdities and inadequacies of their educational dogmatism when the practical outworking begins to directly affect them. "

Applies to everything else too: mass immigration, housing, healthcare, transport, export of our decent work ... need I go on?

When they have to live cheek by jowl with Muslim ghettos too, as we lower classes do, then maybe something will be done about that.

Is anyone really surprised at this story? Hypocrisy rules.

And people wonder why the BNP is gathering in more and more support. Huh!

7 January 2007 at 18:05  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I thought the best one was an MP - Parr ? Whose son spent 4 days at a Comprehensive before being moved to the great Manchester Grammar School !

As for Anonymous above, I would not get too excited about Roman Catholic probity especially when one considers the catamites and the treachery against THe Templars.

Then again a Catholic education fails to point out that it is not the Protestant Evangelicals who have corroded the Church of England but the Affirming Catholicism crowd like Jeffrey John - "women at the altar, boys in the beds" -

The Protestants are the ones closest to Calvin, Luther, and Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide. It is the ones who are into interpretative religion who seem to have adopted pagan rites like revering bleached bones and bits of cloth; or substituting Man's Infallibility for that of God.

Protestants have Faith, those who are playing heretical games have none.

7 January 2007 at 18:11  
Blogger Rob Spear said...

I guess we're in the "let them eat cake" phase of the current mode of western civilization.

7 January 2007 at 21:43  
Blogger DV said...

Kelly is just another two-faced on-the-make Socialist, dripping in hypocrisy. Good Post.

8 January 2007 at 10:27  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

The bizarre thing is that the touchy-feely Tories are supporting her for 'doing the right thing by her son', instead of attacking the rank hypocrisy of the woman.

8 January 2007 at 14:00  
Anonymous dexey said...

His Grace wrote: "It teaches just 60 students, offering an enviable student-teacher ratio."

So it has two teachers like my local schools.
The hypocrisy of Labourites knows no bounds.

8 January 2007 at 19:23  
Anonymous Voyager said...

that the touchy-feely Tories are supporting her

Yes but on the grounds that Labour is not abolishing private schools so there is no hypocrisy. It appears that the privately-educated Shadow-Cabinet is happy so long as they can buy private for the rest to be treated in educational experimentation tanks in the State Sector

9 January 2007 at 06:36  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The rules also stop a school giving priority to pupils whose parents put it as their first choice.

New School Admissions Code !!!!

9 January 2007 at 11:43  
Anonymous Matt Wardman said...

That would presumably be corruption in the ROMAN Catholic Church, Your Grace.

We should not be falling for the Papal Pretensions, should we now?

Matt Wardman

11 January 2007 at 18:32  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Wardman,

Welcome to His Grace's august blog of intelligence and erudation.

Indeed, indeed, he quite accords with your correction, yet the upper-case 'C' has manifestly come to mean the 'Roman' sort of catholicism that it almost no longer merits stating.

It is also worth noting that the term 'Roman Catholic' is a manifest oxymoron.

11 January 2007 at 20:34  
Blogger dearieme said...

Wouldn't it be a handy convention to use "Catholic" for the years before the schism with the Orthodox, and 'Roman Catholic' thereafter? Or should one say "Protestants and Papists" or "Romans and Reformers"? Any advice, old bean?

11 January 2007 at 21:03  

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