Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's all in the genes

At least it is according to Chris Woodhead who "...says the children of middle-class professionals are likely to have 'better genes'". Thomas Hardy would never have bothered to write Jude the Obscure if he had access to this startling, scientific insight. Know your place indeed. And this should please Paulie and Shuggy
His answer is to teach all children the basics: to read and write, using phonics, and to be numerate. Then the solution is selection and grammar schools, and a voucher system whereby parents could buy their child's way to a better life.
Yep, vouchers solves all. This sums his position up:

Some children are born "not very bright" and education ministers will never be able to change that...

However, whilst ministers may not be able to change the "not very bright", they are able to appoint them as chief inspectors.


Rabelais said...

I always felt that Chris Woodhead hated teachers and education: I mean really, really hated them. Certainly on the occasions I heard him on the radio he could barely contain his contempt for teachers. And I suspect that like many right-wing controversialists his problem is largely psychological. He is deeply insecure about his own intellectual abilities and professional capabilities and he projects those anxieties onto others.

That his ignorant, prejudice falls within what the media considers legitimate opinion is a sad reflection of the state of public debate in the UK.

Brigada Flores Magon said...

My son was at a London comprehensive that his goons put into special measures about nine years ago. The school took legal action against Ofsted and forced the scumbag to settle out of court 'on a technicality' as I think he claimed. It was worth the licence fee to see him interviewed after the decision. Personally, I widnae pish in his mooth if his throat was on fire.

George S said...

I thought Woodhead was dead. It seems he is.

DorsetDipper said...

more connection between some vague quantity called "intelligence" and genes. Where's the evidence? Are blacks "less intelligent" than whites because of their genes?

Its all rubbish.

The world would be a lot better off if the notion that there was something called intellgence that was measurable and relevant had never been invented.

Eugene said...

'Some children are born "not very bright..."'

It's all straight-forward enough to evaluate you know, from the minute they're born. Just measure the circumference of the cranium, the distance between the eyes, and the width of the forehead. There are, with luck, some meticulously prepared charts that irrefutably correlate those metrics to adult intellegence.

The left, in its peverse quest to make everyone equal, has consistently sought to discredit and destroy the data.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Woodhead... talk about the crucial role a name can have in the person's life.

Laban said...

I think TH is a pretty poor example. In fact anything from the days before free universal secondary education is a pretty poor example. He was from the top end of the working class - dad a master builder and mum convinced that education was the way to rise. Unlike nearly all his peers, he was educated until 16, and also helped and encouraged by wealthy people like the Moule family and Julia Augusta Martin, the lady of Kingston Maurward house.

And I think it's a pretty poor example to translate 'likely to have better genes' into 'it's all in the genes'. Woodhead is not saying that middle-class=more intelligent - he's saying that middle class = likely to be more intelligent. As intelligence is partly hereditable, that's not terribly surprising. And it doesn't mean that all middle class people have bright kids. It's to do with statistical averages.

In Hardy's day and before, Woodhead's comments would hardly have had any truth, as class distinctions and lack of education prevented bright working class people rising. Hardy was an exceptional (and lucky) child. But we've had free universal education until 16 for what - eighty-odd years now ?

It seemed likely 50-odd years back that all the brightest children of the working class would be co-opted into the middle class via the grammer schools - and idealistic people were worried that they'd be denuded of their natural leaders.

Fortunately a few privately educated Labour Party grandees had the solution, and introduced comprehensive education just in time to keep some bright working class kids in their rightful place- and some not so bright middle class children in theirs.

Fortunately, intelligence is only partly hereditable, so there are still plenty of dimbos being born to clever parents, and plenty of bright kids to not clever parents . The bad news is that via postcode selection, said dimbos will still get a much better education than the bright kid born on the wrong estate.

PS - don't you just want to slap Sue Bridehead ? She must be the most annoying heroine in all of Hardy. She should have married that other faintheart Angel Clare, and Arabella would have done fine as Alec Durberville's kept woman. Jude would then have been free to marry Tess - a most suitable match.