Tag Archives: United Kingdom

Europe is gone: Brexit has happened!

With the United Kingdom voting to extricate itself from the European Union late last week, MyThinks spoke with supporters of the successful Leave campaign. Lord Montague Nez Marron du Chevalier, a member of the Tory Party since he was 3 years old, headed strategy for the Leave campaign in the West Midlands. 

Britain is great. That’s why it is called Great Britain. And this is a great day for Britain. My Britain; your Britain; but not their Britain.

Great Britain is a proud nation. We invented kippers, jellied eels and pork scratchings – all those bits of the animal or whole animals that nobody really wants to eat. We packaged them up, marketed them and people ate them. That is how great we are.

And now, with the successful leave vote, we can get back to being the nation we once were. The nation where any red-blooded Britain could go down the pub for his lunch on a Saturday afternoon and then head off to his local football ground to fight while his team played on the grass in front of him.

Before this weekend, that wasn’t possible. Men would have to hide in their houses being protected from their wives as all the fighting was done by kipper-eating Albanians who were here to undercut our builders by working for £1 an hour – exactly the same amount they paid to fly here on EasyJet in the first place.

Now we have our football grounds back. Now we have Boris Johnson, a representative of the people. A representative of all those working class gas fitters and miners who all went to Eton before heading down the mines or the shipyards.

We all worry about what the future but there is absolutely nothing to worry about. My French father and my German grandmother have both left me millions of pounds so I’m able to hide out on my estate here in Shropshire. I’m sure many of our bus and taxi drivers, builders, plumbers, teachers, nurses and other hard-working Brits will be doing exactly the same.

Well done Britain. Top marks and ballyhoo.

Toodles.

Lord Monty.

PISA a Load of Bovine Excretia?

Here’s a link to a story from the Independent newspaper in the UK. There is talk of the PISA ranking tables put out every three years by the OECD. Michael Gove the wondrously gifted Education Secretary in the United Kingdom who believes education is all about the rote learning of facts bases his whole reason for being on the PISA rankings of his beloved England. Mathematicians have studied the methodology and… whoops!

Ultimately the article features arguments I’ve been wondering about but I’ve never really expressed. I’ll let Dr Hugh Morrison from Queens University in Belfast kick things off.

…the model used to calculate the triennial rankings is “utterly wrong” because it contains a “profound” conceptual error that confuses objective and subjective probability. “Pisa will never work”, he added.

Utterly wrong! Profound conceptual errors! And in the very next paragraph…

Professor Svend Kreiner, a statistician from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, also said the Pisa model is fundamentally flawed. In a paper published this summer, he challenges Pisa’s reliability and shows how results fluctuate significantly according to which test questions are used. He also reveals how, in the 2006 reading rankings, Canada could have been positioned anywhere between second and 25th, Japan between eighth and 40th and the UK between 14th and 30th.

It looks like New Zealand could lie anywhere between first and 30th as well – we have been quite close to Canada in these studies.

It’s all summed up with this rather nice bit from Prof. Kreiner.

“It is meaningless to try to compare reading in Chinese with reading in Danish.”

Or reading in English for that matter.

If you want some idea of how Michael Gove operates, I’ll finish with a quote from the end of the article.

Michael Gove has often been accused of citing flawed or non-existent research. A Freedom of Information request revealed that PR surveys by Premier Inn and UKTV Gold were the source of his evidence when he said British teenagers were ignorant about key historical events.

Yes. Let’s cite studies done by a hotel chain and a TV company to guide our educational policy. What a miscreant.

Mr. B

Source

Academics deride league tables that guide Michael Gove’s academic reforms – the Independent: Fri July 19, 2013

Rise in teachers off work with stress – and union warns of worse to come

This is an interesting article from the Guardian today. UK teachers are getting more stressed. So much so that there has been a 10% increase in the numbers being signed off for sick leave.

You can put much of this down to the fact that Tory Education Secretary Michael Gove has spent much of 2012 slamming teachers over and over again.

How valued would you feel if the government criticised you? Over and over and over and over again and again and again? Pretty devalued?

Like in this country, much of the criticism is centred around teachers’ refusal to accept ideological based reforms such as charter schools (academies in the UK) and national standards and the associated league tables printed with glee by the mainstream media.

Recently Gove even suggested teachers should be disciplined (sacked?) if they threatened industrial action.

Does this remind you of something? 9-11? You’re with us, or against us.

It’s spin 101 really – attack the people who disagree with your policy by labelling them as extremists or mental for daring to have a contrary view. Apart from the fact we live in a free society, I thought we lived in a free society?

Surely it’s better and easier bring in reforms to a sector if the frontline workers on your side? Although when your reforms are ideologically based and not developed using evidence or best practice or the experience and wisdom of the trained professionals working in the sector then you are probably going to have a fight on your hands.

But then common sense was never a big driver of Tory policy. It’s always about the money.

Anyway, best of luck to all my UK colleagues who are struggling at the moment. I hope 2013 brings some better times for you.

Mr B.