Saturday, November 24, 2007

To dinner...

...with friends: a really beautiful evening, candelight and delicious food and wonderful company and lots of good talk. Topics covered of course included education - the HUGE worry for parents is getting their child into one of the few - massively over-subscribed and enormously popular - good schools, such as the Cardinal Vaughan School or the London Oratory School. The Government solution appears to be to make all schools equally bad, in the name of eliminating "elitism". So they have whittled away at the good schools that exist within the State system - such as those I have mentioned - hindering them by various administrative restrictions and chipping away at their independence.

We also got talking about traditions and seasonal customs: the wife of an Ambassador said her impression was that Britain has retained more of these than some other European countries...I am a lot less sure...as Christmas draws near, all Western nations seem to be swamped with the same massive consumer-spending, ensuring that children will be knee-high in plastic junk toys , many of which will soon be discarded, while old customs, carols, family games, etc will be less evident. But there are lots of families - including our hosts this evening - where wonderful traditions flourish, with children singing and making music and all sorts of happy things are passed on down the generations...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thomas Sowell in Black Rednecks and White Liberals tells the story of a school for blacks which had outstanding academic results and which produced most of the black judges and college professors before the 60s which was academically destroyed during the civil rights movement because it was deemed eletist even though the parents of most of the students were working class e.g. janitors.The school today is as academically impoverished as most of the innersuburban schools.

Sharon

Anonymous said...

Very good point you make. It really does inspire me to put more meaning into Christmas.
Thank you for your contributions.

Anonymous said...

The Catholic schools have started wagging the Church dog. Their budgets and buildings are much bigger than the churches they serve, they have a bigger staff, and, most worryingly, parents seem to see a value in the school but not in the Church itself.

Of course state education is nearly worthless, but frankly the state Catholics are only less bad. And private schools are in much worse condition than anyone cares to admit. I understand the desperation, especially in London, to get ones children away the casualties of our collapsed families, but when the comment is made that young mothers are in the church to get their children into the school I think we need to sit back and think about what we are doing, particularly whether the promise of a decent school can actually be honoured, in the face of such cynicism.