Physics gets dumbed down beyond belief.

I have this argument every year. The media has this argument every year. The government denies the dumbing down. Every year. But it is happening, has been happening, and given the woeful lowest-common-denominator attitude of this country (every one must be equal! so let us drag everyone down!) it will continue to happen.

And do you know what I hate? The facile argument that by saying this, we denegrate the work The Kids™ have done. Because if you gave The Kids™ more stimulating, more rigorous, more challenging work, I bet they could excel at that, too. Won’t someone think of the children? As those in charge certainly aren’t. And they wonder why Britain is no longer great.

Oh, but sure isn’t teaching better these days. As may be, but why don’t they teach the subjects? Reading over that link above again, I go from depression to anger, and back round again. Even in my day, the change from O Level to GCSE hearalded a dumbing down. (The Norn Iron education board wasn’t quite as bad in those days as the wussy Engerlish ones, but I reckon that has changed now.) We used to use old O Level papers (as there were none of those easy GCSE ones at this point, me being in the first year to do them, even though we still did O Levels as well) for revising. And by God they were tough. Then we got to the actual GCSE exams, and laughed. How simple, how trivial, how glad we were, safe in the knowledge that we were going to storm through them no problem. And we did. And remember, this was the first year of them, so they still had a decent chunk of the syllabus left over from O Levels.

Years later, I recall helping out Cassandra’s little sister with some maths. And she gave me a paper to look at. Even then, a decade or so after I had sat them, the difference was apparent. No calculus at GCSE level. Sure, there wasn’t that much in the O Level, but it was there. But now, dear God, now. They push the hard stuff from GCSE to A Level. Then they push the hard stuff from A Level to where? Do they expect the universities to pick it up? Oh, right, they do. Make the courses an extra year longer, so the students can be taught what they should have learned in school. Boohoo! Maths is too hard! Make it go away, Mr. ExamSetter.

Stop excusing it, UK, deal with it. I despair for the country. Actually, that is a lie, I am more concerned with my children. They are all excelling at school. But I don’t think they are even remotely pushed. There is nothing wrong with pushing harder. Yes, the South Cambs education system is good, especially when I compare it to horror tales of some of the inner city English schools. But it could be better. It could offer more. If I could afford it, would I send my children to a private school? Without hesitation. Do I sometimes wonder how much more my little polymaths could do if they were in such a place? I do. Of course I do. I want the best education for my children. And while I believe they are getting the best the State sector can offer, I also believe they could get so much more from one of the posh schools. (I don’t boast about their achievements in this here weblog, but my eldest came second in the Maths Challenge thing they do. Not first. I guess he was having an off day. But luckily for him there are a few others at his level, and the school knows this, and develops it as best they can with their State-shackles on. They are also well over a year ahead of where the State says they should be if they were top of their current key stage.)

Cassandra and I have an old argument, every so often. I am a great believer in pure education. Maths, Physics, Latin, English. You have time enough out of school to learn how to press buttons on a washing machine. She thinks it great they get a chance to do things we never had the opportunity to do. But at the expense of what?

Want a few A* grades? Answer the following:

Maths: 7 has hurt 11’s feelings. How should 4 intervene and smooth things over?
History: Believe it or not, once England had an empire. When do you think the Evil Merkan empire will fall?
Geography: How many jumpers do you need to wear at the equator because of cars pumping out CO2?

Would I home school? Raymond found it rewarding, and more power to him. I am probably not organised enough for it. I might have given it a go, but I do realise there are benefits for the children to be interacting socially with their peers. It might have been fun, but I never really gave it much consideration. Maybe I should have.

The sooner the tinkering stops, and there is a good look at it, how we can stop the rot and do better for those in school, the more chance there is of saving the soul of the nation. Personally, I don’t care about anyone else. I want the best for me and mine. And if everyone had that attitude, maybe standards would go up. People, you have to care. You have to believe things can be better.

Again, I have this discussion in work quite regularly. Why can’t the sheeple see what is happening. Why don’t they care? As long as they have their vacuous celebrities doing dumb stunts for their low-brow entertainment, they are happy, passive consumers. As long as their masters, the ones they voted in (or those who managed to look up from their copies of ‘Heat’ long enough to walk to the polling station) tell them what to do, what to think, how to live, they are happy, passive consumers. Lethargic, passive consumers who have lost more recently than they have gained since the days of the robber Barons.

Dismantle the State-run conformity system. Now. Bring back education.

Dismantle the State. Now. Start thinking for yourselves.

  1. that means a couple of things, if GCSE’s started in Ireland at the same time as here then you are the same age as my brother and that we agree. However I am not about to get into it, my soapbox is tucked away and there it will stay for now.

    Sun 10 Jun, 3:59PM

  2. And further - a sample exam paper

    Sun 10 Jun, 6:23PM

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