johnny9fingers: (Default)
We have been rather overwhelmed by the kindness of our friends.

So many of them have given young Henry gifts of various kinds we have been writing thank you letters when our other duties have left us time.

Henry is well, and in lusty voice. He complains vigorously when any of his perquisites are interfered with; or when he perceives either of us tardy in attending to his needs. SWMBO doesn't approve of boarding schools, so there may be some small debate when he gets to an age (about eleven or so) when such a decision will have to be made; however I shall be in my sixties by then, and reining in a young man on the verge of adolescence may be rather more trying for me than it would be now. However I shall endeavour to give Henry the choice, but if there is a local school which has the right characteristics for whatever abilities or otherwise Henry exhibits I suppose we shall opt for it.

Winchester would still be an ideal, but may be beyond my ability to argue for. Anyway, I hope that whatever he wishes, we will accomodate him therein.

Of course, I would want him to be captain of England at cricket, an accomplished musician, and a classical scholar: but I will be happy as long as he is happy. If he is going to be a street-sweeper, I hope he will be a good one, and content to boot.

Life has become interesting. It is certainly novel to no longer be the most important character in my life's narrative. But that's all right, I suppose, as it goes.

Go well and do good things.
johnny9fingers: (Default)

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n10/howard-hotson/dont-look-to-the-ivy-league 

And thought that it could do with a bigger audience.

Folk in the UK's educational establishments should take note in the coming debate.

In the meantime....the son and heir is quite charming and very bonny. Both Madame and I are in love with him. So tired, however. :)


Education.

Dec. 11th, 2010 10:45 am
johnny9fingers: (Default)
So students are rioting in the streets of London because they will be forced to pay increasing amounts for university education.

And our present generation of university-educated leaders, captains of industry, parliamentary legislators, bankers, etc all benefitted from free university education.

Given the fact that it was our generation (40+ somethings) who screwed the pooch: why shouldn't it be our generation that pays for it.

I think making all those who benefitted from free university education in previous generations pay for it now would be far fairer than forcing our children to pay for our mistakes. I know any such legislation would be retrospective, but a graduate tax on those generations that benefitted from free university education in the past might go some way towards redressing our generation's total fuck up of a system that had worked until we started providing degree courses in origami, and came close to bankrupting our economy with the creative mathematics that is derivatives.

Retrospective graduate tax for folk who got their degrees during the 60's, 70's, 80's, and 90's? Fairer by far.
johnny9fingers: (Default)
I used to be very left wing.
Even in my most radical days, the one point of variance I had with my fellow travellers was education. In England (not Britain as a whole) state schools are now judged to be amongst the worst in the developed world. However the 'Public' Schools (read private and very exclusive) of England are reckoned on, in the same piece of analysis, as being the best in the world. This has been obvious to anyone since the 'dissolution' of the Grammar Schools.
Traditionally, the cleverest schools in England have included:
Winchester; Westminster; St Paul's (both boys and girls); North London Collegiate; Cheltenham Ladies College etc.
This set intersects with but does not map perfectly upon the 'best schools', a list of which would include schools that are not as academically orientated.
Grammar Schools, until their abolition, gave the best chance of social mobility that England had seen since Agincourt (This day shall gentle your condition). From the postwar period until the 70's the Oxford and Cambridge intake consisted of more Grammar School pupils than alumni of the great (or even minor) Public Schools. There are still a few Grammar Schools left, but they are, as folk point out, selective. Selection is regarded as a bad thing. Yet the few good state schools in England are oversubscribed to such an extent that house prices in the catchment areas for such schools have in some cases a 30% premium. This is in the English housing market, which is madness anyway. This means that parents who can afford to live in the catchment areas of good schools will claim those places, which is a selection by income. Grammar Schools selected by ability, which to me seems fairer.
However, there aren't a lot of Grammar Schools in London.
Given all this I can understand anyone of any political hue sending their children to a 'Public' School, should they be able to afford it.
The equivalent sort of secondary education to the one I had (with a recognisable curriculum) now costs £25,000 pounds a year. There have been numerous years when I haven't earned that in total. I despaired of ever educating potential children, which is probably the reason I didn't have any.
If I had a disabled child or an educationally challenged child, of course, if I could afford it, I would attempt to give them the best possible education in the circumstances.
Now I must admit something. I don't like Ruth Kelly. I don't like what she stands for. I don't like her links with Opus Dei. I don't like the fact that she has acquiesced to, abetted,  and been an apologist for, the war in Iraq (which in my eyes makes her a war criminal of a kind).
But I do like the fact she's doing the best for her son, and as she seems to need defending on this (and possibly only this) I find myself, surprised maybe, but nevertheless coming to her defense.
Or am I just showing prejudices typical of my caste and culture.

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