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Archive for the ‘social inclusion’ Category

Stephen Fry–the Intelligence Debate


Never really taken that much notice of Stephen Fry before – apart from his tours around the States – but this is very, very good. I can think of many arguments I’ve had in my time that I could have done with his verbal skills.

Stephen Fry–the Intelligence Debate

Education and the Home

A recent report shows that despite 30 years of social engineering, success in educating kids still depends to a large extent on their up-bringing – with the life-shattering conclusion that kids who’s parents are successful – do better at school – even if the kids themselves aren’t the sharpest tools in the box!!

Well, you could have blown me away. Having destroyed the educational chances of millions of kids by introducing the ill-fated comprehensive system – something the current government recently admitted was not one our best moves, we’re now going to hear a load tosh about how the class-based society is still holding kids back.

Here’s my logic – and it’s obviously far removed from civil servant logic. If you have parents who don’t give two hoots about success, the chances are they don’t live in the best neighbourhoods – so not only have their children to live in a house where success is not a priority – they probably are surrounded by peers who’s parents are of the same mind. How can ANYONE fail to see that this is going to have a detrimental effect on the kids.

You’ll gather by now I am NOT a believer in the idea that everyone is equal. I don’t think kids start off equal in the womb – and I don’t believe for a minute that everyone has equal potential – because that would assume that we all start as a blank slate – and that genetics has no bearing on our development – a popular view but complete tosh.

Kids not only have different levels of intelligence – but their desire to develop that intelligence is markedly influenced by their up-bringing and the attitude of their peers. Look at any "hacker" – these kids develop devilish programs to rip off software and to devastate PCS not because of the money but because of the ego trip – if you’ve ever taken an interest in this stuff you’ll see they develop "crews" – where guys compete against each other as to who can produce the best "hack". Misguided as this may be it is an example of how peer pressure within a group can drive excellence – or the exact opposite.

Put a kid in with a group of no-hopers who’s major ambition is the next delivery of amphetamines – and with exceptions you know what the outcome will be – put the same kid with a group of peers who are enthusiastic about their education and who’s parents are supportive…..

So it seems to me that kids who come from generally bright and enthusiastic parents who’ve carefully picked their neighbourhood, have a good chance of being more successful in life than those from the opposite end of the spectrum. This is nothing to do with "class" and CLEARLY after generations of trying, we can’t markedly change ANY of this with social "inclusion".

The old USSR under communism, despite their failed way of life, had great success in the Olympics partly because they took their best athletes and gave them special training in special schools – to make damned SURE they got lots of gold medals. Perhaps it is time to start thinking about putting out-dated views of class to one side and accept that in order to survive the 21st century, Britain needs a well educated public – but more importantly, we need a small cache of world-class designers, manufacturers,business-people and others to ensure that a good number of the mega-successful companies of the future are run by British business people, that their key designers and engineers are British designers and engineers … and that we lead the world in as many subjects as possible – as against, well, not a lot right now.