Friday, January 4

Education, Education, Education

The words of a Policeman. Reproduced from The Policemans Blog

J Edgar Hoover Was Half Right

I had the misfortune to attend one of our less academic local schools a week or so back. I won't bore you with the details, save to say that, while it wasn't the crime of the century, it had left a young girl quite distressed; on balance, I suppose, it was worth attending, though in my day it would have resulted in six of the best from the headmaster and no 'outside agency' would have been required. (My day is only 20 years ago, but it increasingly seems to have been in another era altogether, and possibly in another country).
Teachers (honest ones), parents (intelligent ones) and police officers now know that a significant minority of the schools in our cities offer almost nothing in the way of education.
In the worst 10 per cent, it's far more serious than a simple lack of schooling: drugs are openly sold and consumed, pupils are often drunk and/or pregnant, hardcore pornography is widely available and eagerly swapped, casual sexual assaults and threats of serious violence are commonplace and there is very little, if anything, that the teaching staff can do about any of it. It's heartbreaking, actually.I looked around. All I could see were lost souls destined for the scrapheap. At 13 years of age, they had literally no hope of ever achieving anything in their lives, without the intervention of a lottery win or some other piece of outstanding good fortune.
I thought about my own grandfather. He was one of seven, and grew up in a slum dwelling with an outside standpipe for water. In his 90s now, he still reads avidly, lobs bits and pieces of Shakespeare about and can talk you through you Partition, the
Beatles and the Falklands with equal clarity.
I saw a young lad I vaguely knew. His hair had been shaved at the back into an approximation of the letters 'MUFC' and he had a gold stud in one ear. ''What's happening in Afghanistan at the mo, mate?'' I said, conversationally. ''You what?'' he said. ''Afwhat?''
I happen to know that this lad's father is doing time for murder, and that his mother is an alcoholic and occasional prostitute. I hate to sound like a bleeding heart, but is it his fault he doesn't know what's happening around him? Is it the teachers' faults they can't educate him? What is going on in this country?

J Edgar Hoover was half right when he said, 'The cure for crime is not the electric chair, but the high chair.

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