Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Those college students

Critical Mass are having their 10th anniversary ride this Friday starting at South Bank under Waterloo Bridge, after 6pm. Want to see whether London still has any pizazz? Check it out, and decide once and for all. You can be walking, cycling, skateboarding, whatever..... and doing it with as much colour as possible.


My lecturer at the college where I do an evening course was confiding in me today. He is a really nice English chap in his late fifties, who is a fine example of his generation : he tries very hard and does his very best for everyone, with the best temperament that you could expect of anybody. He was telling me how he despairs at the daytime classes because of the current generation of youth.

Now if you haven't had anything to do with the bottom half of the school leavers over the last 6 or 7 years, you will probably be entirely dismissive. Basically they are lost. So many of them come from single parent families, broken families, families with interrupted parenting scripts (ie. they have cut themselves off or have been cut off from grandparents and great-grandparents). Most of them are not deprived, not by any measure that is used by 80% of the world's population. They may not be rich, but they are definitely not deprived: they have TV, Walkmans, games, and they know more about music than they know about London, let alone the rest of the world.

He was complaining about how they argue about all the silliest things all day long, accomplishing little. And that everything they say is a pack of lies. (I hope they didn't learn that from the House of Commons). They are a generation that has been lost to the economy, and oddly enough, the Jack Straw set of the Labour party is totally clueless about it.

I had to work as a temp for 3 weeks in a Hackney school 2 years ago. The children were anywhere between terrifying and "a bit worrying". The permanent teachers complained that it was because of a lack of resources, but this was not the complaint of anyone who had seen schooling outside Britain. An American supply teacher who had even taught in Los Angeles ghettoes gave up on the school after a week, declaring that these children were beyond hope.

I have witnessed corporate organisations, nothing as genius as Tesco, B&Q, or John Lewis, and I very soon saw the really horrendous problem in this school. The teachers each had their own socio-political agenda, and demonstrated no common united face towards the children. The Teacher's unions added to the confusion by pandering to individual gripes. Being Hackney, the school attracted teachers whom thought they were helping the world by treating these children as poor victimised members of society. Ask a parent struggling to raise today's children, and they will tell you that you must never let children get the upper hand, or you've lost control of them. The teachers, being the kind of people that were still rebelling against their own memories of their own upbringings, and being the kind of people who disavowed themselves of ever becoming parents, were their own worst enemies.

The school is closed down now, because even the Education authority realised that pouring money into the infrastructure of the school would not solve the problem. There was no other way of getting rid of those teachers.

And now that Britain is paying adolescents to stay on in school beyond 16, and go to college, I wonder how they are going to remedy the education of this generation? Or do the Jack Straw set really think that their pet social agendas that were formed under Margaret Thatcher, still have any place in today's different circumstances.

Intransigent adherence by adults to the tenets of Libertarianism have helped to form this generation of youth, and much as I regret how boring London has become, even I admit that a decade of being boring is needed to rebuild this society for the future.

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