“With Secondary schooling we have a system which, in my view, is increasingly difficult to justify. It is a form of what might be called organised child abuse which repeats itself over and over again, year in, year out. The only beneficiaries of this system are a handful of private schools in each capital city. That is not to say the huge efforts and energy goes into trying to do school differently. There is an amazing array of things that teachers do to try and escape the nonsense of a sytem that was designed to send a small elite onto university in the 50’s and 60’s. But any or all of these, and particularly if they appear to be working well for students are dubbed fringe or satellite to the main game, the high status subjects of years 11 and 12.
It is important to recognise that what began as a system to select an elite has been turned into a mass system of ranking and rating that serves no purpose other than to determine access to a small number of high demand courses in a couple of universities in each State. One might say that this is a very expensive selection machine and it is. The human cost, of telling around two thirds of each cohort passing through school that they are dumb, deficient or in some way not up to scratch is an appalling outcome. While the system does not physically kill these students it stamps them as failures of one kind or other and then expects them to get on with their lives as if this trauma is akin to falling down and grazing one’s knee.” [CJ’s ‘ Lemmings and similar phenomena’]
I hardly need to mention that it’s WELL worth reading the rest.
On a personal note, funnily enough I spent a fair bit of time back home talking to some of my schoolfriends and family about the school we went to – and I can tell you it wasn’t a good review. A good grammar school stamping down can last a long time.