Bargepoles and Such
Albuquerque

One to Watch, Methinks

Over at Samizdata, Natalie Solent provides a brief overview of the Katharine Birbalsingh saga, which may be of interest. Ms Birbalsingh is a deputy head teacher and former blogger whose first-hand account of state schooling and its dysfunction roused the Conservative conference and upset her employer, resulting in a brief suspension.

At a time when school discipline can be subject to racial quotas, Ms Birbalsingh is inclined to note, and say, things like this:

If you keep telling teachers that they’re racist for trying to discipline black boys and if you keep telling heads that they’re racist for trying to exclude black boys, in the end, the schools stop reprimanding these children. When the lawyers argue against a school and readmit a black boy, who do we think suffers the most? It’s all the other black boys who now look to this invincible child and copy his bad example. Black children underachieve because of what the well-meaning liberal does to him.

Here’s a taste of Ms Birbalsingh in action:

Readers may not be surprised to learn that Ms Birbalsingh’s disgruntled employer, Dr Irene Bishop, has political leanings more common to the teaching profession and has been more than willing to indulge them.

As Ross notes at Unenlightened Commentary,

So speaking at a party conference is too political but inviting one party to actually use school premises is perfectly fine.

Laban Tall has more.

On Ms Birbalsingh’s hasty suspension, Cranmer adds the following,

One can scarcely think of little else that the school could have done to establish the truth of every word Ms Birbalsingh spoke… And so Ms Birbalsingh sits ‘working from home’, while her governing body considers whether or not her Toryism is as perverse as theft, cheating in exams or allegations of paedophilia. Certainly, by sending her home, they equate speaking at a Conservative Party conference with gross professional misconduct.

Then asks,

How does a deputy head teacher who has blown the whistle on a sclerotic culture of excuses, criticised low standards, derided arbitrary targets and league tables, disparaged political correctness and poured scorn over the pervasive ‘leftist ideology’ in state education ever again command the respect of a staffroom populated with pathological Socialists?

It will, I think, be interesting to find out.

Update:

Ah. Ms Birbalsingh’s fellow educators really don’t want realism heresy in their midst. How righteous they must be.

Tom Paine asks,

Are teachers free to have and to express non-left political views or not?

Seems not.

Comments

dw

It's a real shame she had to shut down her blog. She posted some amazing stories.

carbon based lifeform

"How does a deputy head teacher who has blown the whistle on a sclerotic culture of excuses, criticised low standards, derided arbitrary targets and league tables, disparaged political correctness and poured scorn over the pervasive ‘leftist ideology’ in state education ever again command the respect of a staffroom populated with pathological Socialists?"

Let’s hope she doesn't get the same treatment as Ray Honeyford.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3654888/Education-and-Race-an-Alternative-View.html

Stevie of Sweden

David,

You've got to understand a thing or two:

Since right-wingers/conservatives are SIXHIRB (courtesy of Dennis Prager): Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, Bigoted -- in other words bad people with bad influence on school children -- and leftists/Socialists are the opposite: feminist, multicultural, anti-racist, pro-gay marriage, tolerant, etc. -- in other words good people with positive influence on school children -- if a teacher speaks at a conservative conference she should expect to be suspended, because, you see, she supports bad people and a bad cause, whereas a person who invites a Socialist party to use school premises, supports good people and a good cause = that should obviously be OK.

I think those of us who are on the right must realise that leftism is a religion. To most leftists, suspending a right-winger makes perfect sense. Just like it would make perfect sense to most Muslims if a Muslim teacher who spoke at a Zionist conference got suspended from a school in Gaza, Saudi Arabia or Iran.

TDK

Yes but look at the culture we live in.

BBC employee, Marc Haynes, gleefully Tweets “I don’t think there’s been one person yet on Toby Young’s BBC2 documentary about starting a school that I wouldn’t happily punch to death”

http://tinyurl.com/237jdxt

The free school reform is so half hearted and tentative that it risks undermining the whole idea of freeing schools from bureaucratic sclerosis. Toby Young appropriately tags his post "Posh White People".

Meanwhile Ed Balls says "The danger is that there will be winners in this policy, but it is dishonest not to say that there will be losers as well."

Personally, I find it hard to fathom why the act of raising one child's achievement causes another child to do absolutely worse. Perhaps IQ is being stolen and transplanted in a zero sum game?

On the same topic, there's an interesting US film (I've only seen trailers) called "Waiting For Superman" which shows the US and the UK share pretty much the same education system faults.

Review here

http://tinyurl.com/384sg6x

JuliaM

"It will, I think, be interesting to find out."

As a long-term reader of her blog (sadly no longer available - I hope because she has a book deal), I don't think she'll have many problems. Gutsy lady, and not one easily cowed.

David

TDK,

Thanks for that. The film looks interesting.

In hindsight, it’s quite amazing that Thatcher crippled the far-left union project but neglected the left’s effective chokehold on state education. Such that compulsory mingling with thugs and morons can be viewed as “progressive” because tendentious definitions of “self-esteem” and “redistributing skills and abilities” are deemed more important than academic excellence. Or, in some cases, basic competence.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/6617251/All-pupils-should-be-in-mixed-ability-classes.html

For some, enforced mediocrity seems to be an ideal.

sackcloth and ashes

'For some, enforced mediocrity seems to be an ideal'.

For the hoi polloi, yes. But I bet it's a different story for their own offspring.

clazy

I like to think that the guy who directed 'Waiting for Superman' is trying to make amends for 'An Inconvenient Truth.'
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0346550/

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