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Monday, 23 February 2009

If it looks like a duck…

I recently lamented the state of the nation and with the product of so many of the UK’s schools: kids turning out with little respect for others, less themselves. (") We have produced a youth of today that finds it much easier to deliberately diss the efforts of others, where young people get seem to get some kind of Schadenfreude joy. I think it’s sad but true. So let’s call it what it is and not duck the issue.

Yet there are those in the education sector who believe that all is well with the system and that no child has been ‘left behind’. Too much testing, a rigorous ‘teach-for-the-test’ approach, a rigid, failsafe way to produce results not smart, creative individuals, is what’s at the heart of the British system, but it is not the only problem.

If you read the report that came out recently about youngsters in the UK being the unhappiest in the developed world, you’ll know what I mean. Here’s the headline - ‘Childhood ruined by ‘me-first’ society, landmark report claims - Children’s lives are being blighted by Britain’s selfish society, a landmark report has concluded.’ Here’s the URL if you’re interested (

As the author of the article says,

‘The Good Childhood Inquiry claims that almost all of the problems now facing young people stem from the culture of “excessive individualism” that has developed in recent decades. It says the “me-first” attitude of adults is causing family breakdowns, competition in education, a growing gap between rich and poor, unkindness among teenagers and premature sexualisation by advertisers. The pioneering two-year investigation, backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and based on interviews with 35,000 children, parents and professionals, claims British children are less happy than those in almost any other developed country.’

How strange then to read in The Daily Telegraph this morning that the root cause of so much of this misery is connected to the recruitment system. We learnt today for example that Almost 7,000 criminals 'applied to be teachers' last year’. The convictions were uncovered in a Freedom of Information request to the Criminal Records Bureau. (

Is it any wonder with these problems that today’s kids are turning out with a ‘me me me’ attitude with absolutely zero respect for the world they find themselves in? If 7,000 were criminals were detected, it’s more than possible that twice that number applied and are now teaching in schools up and down the country. Is it any wonder then that the kids grow up full of resentment given these problems? When the morals they learn at school play a big part in defining who the will become as adults?

A spokesman for the The Department for Children, Schools and Families said, ‘It's important to remember that these figures are for people who applied for a job in teaching and do not refer to those who were appointed. These figures show the system is effective in blocking those who should not be working with children. And since 2007, tough new regulations provide that all those convicted or cautioned of sex offences against children are automatically barred from working with them.’

Somehow I do not feel reassured by these words.


cos67 aka costick67 aka cosine67 said...

Hi Tom,
I concur about the kids of the UK being lost, as are many of those in the US. It's no surprise that those two countries are extreme examples of 'me first' countries. Its strange that while Americans are seen as aggressive, I also feel that the Brits are very individualistic and focus on little more than how to get their way. They'll even use a really crass version of politeness which stinks of insincerity.
This is how strange it is. I get people, after knowing me for well over a year, commenting on how polite I am. It takes them 12 months to see that this is no bullshit routine. I actually believe in the role of politeness as being beneficial to society, and yet I'm no angel, as you know. I just don't always think 'me,me,me' all day long.
It's so bad now what with the Crisis cramping everyone's style, many people don't even recognise the presence of others in a room. I look at folks, and they seriously make me feel invisible. No loss, because I don't think I want to know them anyway. And so I go through most of my days. It's no wonder that most of my friends are from amongst my foreign students.
Cos67 the outnaboutcanuck.

cos67 aka costick67 aka cosine67 said...

Do you think this social attitude has something to do with those two countries having been the source of the greedy, evil financial-games-without-oversight mess that they've dragged us all into. Me thinks yes. They're the same Western countries with some of the worst public services.
They refuse to believe that there's no such thing as a free lunch, because they know that there's a sucker born every minute- a true American maxim. They'll get their millions, world be damned.
Ever seen any Canadian banks in trouble?