11 March 2009

Crazy crusade

Tendentious stuff continues to pour out of universities based on the unfounded assumption that there is no such thing as innate ability or genetically determined personality characteristics. Or perhaps one should say, founded only on wishful thinking.

The ‘critical obstacle’ to an official crusade to widen the social class mix of students is [state school students’] poor performance compared with private school pupils, it was claimed. In a veiled attack on Labour’s record, [Cambridge University] said it had failed to break the ‘pernicious link between deprivation and educational attainment’...

In an analysis, Dr Geoff Parks and Richard Partington said state schools were ‘unlikely’ to hit the target of accounting for over two-thirds of admissions to leading universities ‘unless their exam performance improves’ ... But, said Dr Parks and Mr Partington, the real barrier to top universities was an ‘uneven’ education playing field and the link between a child’s prospects and their social background.

The research follows a Commons inquiry which found that almost £400 million has been spent on boosting recruitment of working-class students to university with barely any effect. Cambridge’s intervention will rile Universities Secretary John Denham, who believes leading universities should do more to change their social make-up. (Daily Mail, 28 February 2009)

Well, of course there is an uneven educational and academic playing field. Exceptional ability arouses hostility in its egalitarian-minded teachers and tutors, both at school and at university.

It is easy to prevent the exceptional from demonstrating their ability realistically in exam results. It is also possible, though maybe less easy, by methods such as 'dumbing down', to improve the exam results of those with much less aptitude for academic activities, which may well be combined with little natural inclination to pursue them. Both procedures seem to be a standard feature of modern education, though their effects are apparently insufficient to satisfy the expectations of ‘researchers’.

A further £400 million of taxpayers’ money has been spent on making the position of the able in modern society even worse, while even the tiniest support is rigorously withheld from the relevant departments of my suppressed independent university, continuing to prevent it from publishing criticisms of such things as this tendentious report, which has the spurious claim to authoritativeness of coming from Cambridge, socially recognised as a ‘university’ and massively supported with taxpayers’ money.

Even a four-hundredth part of £400 million (0.25%), that is £1 million, if donated to my independent university, would enable it to contribute to current debates by writing and publishing a few books and articles for a period of 2 or 3 years. That would only be a drop in the ocean of what is really needed, but it would be a start and get us out of the deadlocked stasis in which we remain at present.