What went wrong with the West? (3)

In the era of great social changes post-WW2 schools usurped a range of new roles which had traditionally been the domain of a family. Before this shift the schools’ job was to teach the kids maths, language, science as well as some practical skills like woodwork or cooking. In parallel with the demise of a traditional family the schools started to teach social and political subjects. Child’s parents (parent?) could no longer be trusted to convey all the “correct” messages pertaining to issues like society, politics, race, gender, sexuality. The way young citizens were brought up had important social ramifications and required a structured, consistent approach.

This division of labour suited many parents who pulled out of the areas which were being encroached on by schools. The parents who tried to resist being squeezed out found themselves fighting a losing battle. With the weight of governments behind them, backed by the educational theories produced by “progressive” academics and social engineers the schools were simply too powerful.  These days few people even realise that teaching social studies or gender issues in public schools is a relatively recent concept.

There seems to be no end to what else school are expected to teach. I did a brief search of the News section on the BBC website using keyword “schools”. The following articles published in the last two weeks include “calls” for schools to become involved in an astounding array of behavioural/social/environmental/health issues:

Overall staff in schools do not yet have a clear understanding of their corporate parenting responsibilities


It also wants schools to look out for bad behaviour as a potential indicator of abuse at home.


All school children should take part in compulsory body image and self-esteem lessons,


Schools have a duty of care to their pupils and should agree a policy with parents on who applies sunscreen to children while they are at school, and in what circumstances.


There has been a low response rate for secondary schools to get involved in the [book] rental scheme. This has been criticised by the National Parents Council.


We need to encourage more entrepreneurship from the next generation – and focus on giving them the basic business and money-management skills as part of the schools curriculum.


The shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg has called for all state school pupils to be given lessons in public speaking and interview techniques.


Maddii Lown, a head of Year 5 said that education is needed to prevent racism in schools.


There is not enough exercise in the school curriculum


It is hoped the film, which is about the kidnapping of children for sexual exploitation, could be shown in schools and hospitals in the South West.


Calls for free sunscreen to be given to under-11s at schools in Wales have been rejected by an assembly committee.


Babies are set to be brought into primary schools in Cardiff to help improve pupils’ empathy levels and help reduce any bullying and aggression.


Schools should keep detailed records of the languages spoken by ethnic minority pupils, according to a report.


A father who lost his son to leukaemia is calling for secondary schools and colleges to include one lesson on how to donate stem cells, blood and organs.


I will repeat: the above list of suggestions on what schools should do on top of what they are already doing has been compiled from the articles published on one website (BBC) over a period of two weeks. Small wonder the core subjects like maths and English fall by the wayside and graduates in the West leave schools ill-equipped to deal with the demands of employment, only to join the dole queue.

What went wrong with the West? (4)

Update 8/06/2012. This one is a real beauty:

Mrs May is also expected to announce a £500,000 fund to help schools and other agencies spot early signs of a forced marriage.



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