TCS Daily

Hey Kids, Leave Those Teachers Alone

By Val MacQueen - July 27, 2005 12:00 AM

The 28-year-old teacher ran screaming down the corridor to the refuge of the staff room. She was quite a sight - almost naked, and so covered in blood, bruises and welts that her colleagues were at first unable to recognize her. In a frenzied 12-minute attack, she had been beaten, punched with a closed fist, raped and severely bitten by a hulking 15-year-old student who also made a serious attempt to strangle her. It was her second day on the job. The attack occurred in September and the woman, a dedicated teacher, has not yet been able to steel herself to going back into a classroom.

In many British state schools, there is a new fad going round the play yards. "Happy slapping", it is perversely called. Little girls of 10, 11 or 12 choose another little girl as a victim, surround her and, holding her so she cannot escape, hit her head and face with force while one films the attack on her mobile phone, laughing uproariously. Some little victims of "happy slapping" end up in hospital or at the doctor's office. At least one was left lying unconscious on the concrete playground when her attackers ran off shrieking with laughter. It has now spread to gangs of young teen boys who roam streets and parks.

Meanwhile, more advanced 10-year-olds who have put childhood pursuits aside are demanding the birth control pill. As one threatened a doctor in Scotland, "You'd better put me on the pill, because if you don't, I'm going to keep on having sex with these three boys anyway." To be fair, the doctor involved has been called up before the medical board for contributing to the rape of a minor. But, given the utter indifference of the mother - her "partner" of 10 years ago unlikely to know of the existence of a 10-year-old daughter - what was he to do? Report her to the ubiquitous "social services", who would "counsel" this little girl to make "a mature decision" and give her the pill anyway?

An undercover reporter for Channel 4, Alex Dolan, posed as a substitute teacher in several state schools and came away from the experience shaken. One feral girl, playing her mobile phone music at high volume throughout class despite being told by "the teacher" (Dolan) to stop, lost her patience and, putting her face inches from Dolan's, hissed, "Don't make me hurt you. I swear to God I will do it." Dolan posed as a substitute teacher in 16 schools and "came away saddened". That she didn't come away rigid with fright speaks well for the sang froid of undercover journalists. A full account of her investigation is here.

A lot has been written in recent years of Britain's feral children and the breakdown of civil behavior. From a confident, disciplined society, large strata of Britain have descended into the final days of the Roman Empire. I have written of the phenomenon myself for TechCentralStation.

The decline in standards of behavior can be laid at the imposition, often against the will of parents ambitious for their children to rise in the world, of Tony Blair's socialist, politically correct philosophy. His government has not only destroyed all tax advantages for normal families with a father living in the household (every style of "family" is equal, after all), but has actually provided incentives to discourage such stability. Conservative commentator Melanie Phillips points out that there is now an £8,000 ($14,000) tax advantage to parents who live apart.

In the socialist world of Tony Blair (who sends his own children to a "selective" school and has in the past seconded civil servants from the Ministry of Defence to come over to Downing Street to coach his son on tests to get in to university), with his Alice-in-Wonderland "all must have prizes" philosophy, has destroyed the long internationally respected gold standard of British education. GCSEs are end-of-school-year exams for 16-and 17-year-olds, set by panels of universities. They are graded, anonymously, by academic specialists employed by those universities, not the schools. Passing these very tough exams was a source of tremendous pride to students and their families. An important by-product was that they provided a route for bright children to step out of the blue-collar class and be welcomed into the professions.

Unfortunately Blair and his cabinet made up entirely of former Trotskyites, Marxists and presidents of the Students Union (a communist organization officially embedded in all British universities) cannot, in their chic chatterati compounds, understand that all children deserve a rigorous education to provide them with equality of opportunity - it's too judgmental otherwise. The socialists say: Why not just cut to the chase and ensure equality of outcome? Everyone wins. Passes of the GCSEs, once a proud badge of academic merit, have, under Blair, become a human right. This means the universities no longer have the dependable 50-year-old yardstick by which to judge applicants.

The mentality of the socialists, with no rewards for arduous application and no penalties for spending classroom time making calls on mobile phones, putting on make-up and walking around visiting with friends and chivvying the elbows of children who were trying to work, has taken hold. The result is a decline in civil society in general. Encouraged by Blair's "entitlement" culture, teachers are now subject to bullying and sometimes physical assault by parents whose children hadn't performed but demanded passes for them anyway.

Motivated, ambitious youngsters only know what they are told at school: that British GCSEs are the envy of the world. Those students who take responsibility for their own future still place enormous faith in the power of getting good grades.

Undercover reporter Alex Dolan quotes a letter written to Tony Blair by a 15-year-old student worried about her future. "Dear Prime Minister, me and my colleagues have a problem. We have had 26 supply [substitute] teachers since the start of the year, when we should have a proper teacher because our GCSEs are at risk."


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