“I don’t know if I would call it a witch-hunt..”

Interesting snippet from yesterday’s Irish News, although I’m not sure the Sinn Féin Bulletin can be accurately called a newspaper.. ANYhoo.. Apparently the Education Minister, Sinn Féin’s Caitriona Ruane, is hearing voices.. [scroll down]

“Look at who controls the media and in whose interest the media works,” Ms Ruane said. “There is, and I am putting this in inverted commas, the old boys’ network and I think that is what you are seeing.

“The voices that we are hearing are the voices of the establishment. What we need to hear are the voices of the people who are pro-change and I am meeting them every day. “I don’t know if I would call it a witch-hunt. What I do know is that there are many people trying to block and frustrate change but I have never let loud voices stop the work I do.”

That would include these ‘old boys’, presumably..

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  • “Mick, You advocate comprehensive education a socialist/marxist construct”
    by Essentialist

    Apparently this guy actually believes the above nonsense, of course he uses such language as he clearly believes it will enable him to smear all those who support comprehensives, when nothing could be further from the truth as those who support comprehensive schools come from right across the political spectrum. They include lefties like me, right across the political spectrum to the current leader of the tory Party David Cameron. Indeed in recent years some of the finest arguments for the ending of selection [and public schools] have come from the conservative right.

    What I find interesting about this is that Essentialist and his ilk are the ones who are condemning Ms Raune for not reaching a consensus over selection. Yet given his hatred of marxist and socialists who he claims are behind comprehensive education, it must be pretty obvious that he would no more reach a consensus with such folk than he would give a cuddle to a gay guy.

    Which is a shame as essentialist clearly rejoices in ‘some’ children doing well at school and some of his views about the lack of ambition being a major factor behind the inability of some kids to prosper at school are far from daft. However he fails to see the link between this and selection, not because the evidence is not there but were he to do so it would upset his world view, which is stuck in a cold war time warp.

  • willis

    It is interesting how advocacy of selection at 11 goes hand in hand with denigration of vocational skills. Life would be very complicated if you had to select on practical ability as well as maths and science. That is one reason why a properly run comprehensive system could deliver better results than a selective one.

    How is it that the selective system in England only lasted 20 years after the 1948 Act whereas the Comprehensive system has lasted 40 despite nearly half that time being under a Tory Government?

    Has Scotland or Wales begged to go back to selection once they got their own governments?

    Not a chance. Comprehensive Education is the “settled will” of the rest of the UK and all the ranting about standards is not going to change it.

  • Essentialist

    Willis,
    The selective system still operates in England along with a significant independent sector. 164 grammars in England attain the same results in A-levels as 1500 comprehensives. At least in that jurisdiction parents have a choice. The propsals to introduce comprehensives here are more about removing the Protestant (for Catholics readnon-denominational) grammar schools.
    Envy can never be satisfied. If there are those who don’t want grammars fine but it is remarkable that the only only faith-based schools in Northern Ireland are Catholic. Perhaps Caitriona Ruane will cease to fund such schools on the basis of equality of treatment.

    On the devolution issue. Can you really call the N.I. Assembly a government? It closer resembles the permanent division of power among four political parties with no accountability or ability to lead. The education reform project was introduced under Direct Rule and therefore Ruane is merely carrying out the policy of a British government inherited from unaccountable local civil servants and academics. The Bishops are pushing their luck with the “fear and uncertainty” line. It has been clear for years what they intended to do and what Sinn Fein intended to impose. This mock concern does not extend to the children of the Shankill Road. Perhaps the Bishops may turn their attention to the “Enriched Curriculum” project and issue a statement on the moral and ethical aspects of the experiment that failed those children. Where is Catholic social justice when it affects Prods?

  • Don’t you just love it when potential allies fall out, of course schools should be totally secular, the church of Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church and the rest of the god botherers should not be allowed into the class room itself and certainly should not receive a penny of tax payers coin. That they are is an indictment of the present system.

    In truth if ever there was an education system that needs remaking from top to bottom it is in the north of Ireland. I see the ending of selection as a first and long over due step down this road.

    As to the lack of educational opportunities for the children on the Shankill, in 2004 are wrote a long article about just that for the ‘Other View’ magazine. However it is beyond me to understand how maintaining the present system will bring educational improvements to some of the most deprived children in the north.

  • Essentialist

    Which issue and what title Mick?
    The enriched durriculum project represents all that is bad about the educationalists’ deception. Strong forces aligned to keep the facts about the failed project from the public particularly the working class communities affected by the experiment, while Hain’s poodles milked and continue to milk it for all it’s worth.
    Look at the DENI consultation documents on the literacy and numeracy strategy if you need to see deception in action.