Is this Poetry? … More Like Sickeningly Pretentious Twaddle


Peter Davis

Some time ago, we posted some surprisingly easy, politically correct science papers on the blog HERE, HERE , HERE and HERE.

Now, I have, very unfortunately, had to do several poems from this book called the ‘anthology’ for GCSE English, and the poems I have to do are just disgusting: just take this one, by a “Simon Armitage”:

HITCHER

I’d been tired, under
the weather, but the ansaphone kept screaming:
One more sick-note, mister, and you’re finished. Fired.
I thumbed a lift to where the car was parked.
A Vauxhall Astra. It was hired.

I picked him up in Leeds.
He was following the Sun to west from east
with just a toothbrush and the good earth for a bed. The truth,
he said, was blowin’ in the wind,
or round the next bend.

I let him have it
on top of the road out of Harrogate – once
with the head, then six times with the krooklok
in the face – and didn’t even swerve.
I dropped it into third

and leant across
to let him out, and saw him in the mirror
bouncing off the kerb, then dissapearing down the verge.
We were the same age, give or take a week.
He’d said he liked the breeze

to run its fingers
through his hair. It was twwlve noon.
The outlook for the day was moderate and fair.
Stitch that, I remember thinking,
you can walk from there.

How can this be accepted at poetry?

Who was the smart-arse who put this and things like this into this book? What do you suppose 14- and 15-year-olds are supposed to write about this, commeniting on “how the author uses language to convey emotion and feeling”?

More examples of terrible poems like this are:

Havisham – Carol Ann Duffy

Vultures – Chimua Achebe

And many others that I can’t be bothered to write up. You can learn about the “anthology” here.

Foreign readers beware! This is what happens to your education system when your back is turned for a second … very long post.


Look carefully upon the sad lesson of Britain. Don’t do what we (failed to) do, by not arresting all the Gramsco-Marxian Fabiano-pre-capitalist-barbarian people-wreckers, while we had the chance, when there were about five of them.

David Davis

[eurorealist] Fw: The marching morons – Adults stumped by primary school tests

Date:

06/07/2008 06:06:31 GMT Daylight Time

From:

peter@pwwatson.co.uk

Reply-to:

eurorealist@yahoogroups.com

To:

eurorealist@yahoogroups.com

Sent from the Internet (Details)


—– Original Message —–
From: “Robert Henderson” <philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk>
To: “Robert Henderson” <philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk>
Sent:
Saturday, July 05, 2008

12:40 PM
Subject: The marching morons – Adults stumped by primary school tests

Note: That’s what 40 years of “progressive” education achieves. RH

daily telegraph
Adults stumped by primary school tests
By Graeme Paton, Education Editor
Last Updated: 11:08PM BST 29/06/2008 | Comments 4 | Have Your Say

The majority of adults in Britain struggle to answer questions fit for a
seven-year-old, according to a report today.

Only one-in-20 were correctly able to answer 10 questions taken from
primary school syllabuses. The study revealed that most adults were
stumped by the correct spelling of a basic word – skilful – with only 23
per cent getting it right. More than six-in-10 people quizzed also
failed to identify the planet closest to the sun.
The questions – given to 2,180 adults this month – were adapted from the
curriculum for seven to 11-year-olds in England. It will raise fresh
concerns over the standards of basic skills among the workforce.
According to the study, three per cent of adults got just one question
correct, while the average person aged over 18 rightly answered just
six. Of those failing to spell the word “skilful”, the most common
mistake was using too many ‘Ls’, researchers said. Only half were able
to identify the capital of
Sweden, with many people wrongly answering
Oslo, Gothenburg or Helsinki. Some 12 per cent suggested that
Shakespeare’s first name was Walter and seven per cent said that Henry
VIII was on the throne in 1900. Adults in the North West of England were
the worst performers – correctly answering an average of three questions
– while most people in the South East and South West scored seven. Andy
Salmon, founder of thinkalink.co.uk, the general knowledge website which
carried out the research, said: “Considering that these questions could
be answered by at least a seven-year-old, you might say the test was
easy and so an average score of six out of 10 is pretty weak. It’s not
that any of the questions were particularly difficult, we have all been
taught this information, it is retaining the knowledge that is the hard
bit.”
1. Which is the correct spelling? skillful, skilful, skilfull,
skillfull. (Answered incorrectly by 77%)
2. What is the playwright’s Shakespeare’s first name?
(Answered incorrectly by 12%)
3. What is the capital of
Sweden?
(Answered incorrectly by 58%)
4. What is the longest river in
Great Britain?
(Answered incorrectly by 48%)
5. How many sides does a heptagon have?
(Answered incorrectly by 35%)
6. What is the cube of 2?
(Answered incorrectly by 58%)
7. What are the dates of the second world war – what years did it start
and end?
(Answered incorrectly by 25%)
8. Which monarch was on the throne in 1900?
(Answered incorrectly by 39%)
9. What is the medical term for your skull?
(Answered incorrectly by 56%)
10. Which planet is nearest to the sun?
(Answered incorrectly by 63%)
1. Skilful
2. William
3.
Stockholm
4.
Severn
5. Seven
6. 8
7. 1939 – 1945
8. Queen
Victoria


9. Cranium
10. Mercury

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article4237491.ece
“Write ‘f*** off’ on a GCSE paper and you’ll get 7.5%. Add an
exclamation mark and it’ll go up to 11%”

“To gain minimum marks in English, students must demonstrate “some
simple sequencing of ideas” and “some words in appropriate order”. The
phrase had achieved this, according to Mr Buckroyd.

The chief examiner, who is responsible for standards in exams taken by
780,000 candidates and for training for 3,000 examiners, told The
Times: “It would be wicked to give it zero, because it does show some
very basic skills we are looking for – like conveying some meaning and
some spelling.”

E-mail leak of ‘degree inflation’

BBC News education reporter

A leaked e-mail shows how university staff are being urged to increase
the number of top degree grades to keep pace with competing
universities.

The internal e-mail from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) tells
staff to “bear this in mind” when they do their student assessments.

The university told the BBC this in no way related to university policy.

Last week, the higher education exams watchdog warned that the
university grading system was “rotten”.

We do not award as many Firsts and 2.1s as other comparable
institutions so there is an understandable desire to increase the
proportion of such awards
E-mail to staff at Manchester Metropolitan University

The MMU e-mail, sent to computing and mathematics staff by that
department’s academic standards manager, calls for an increase in the
number of first class and upper second degrees.

The e-mail, sent several months ago and now obtained by the BBC News
website, reveals how staff have to consider more than the quality of
students’ work – and the tension between rigorous academic standards and
universities’ external ambitions.

Student satisfaction

“As a university we do not award as many Firsts and 2.1s as other
comparable institutions so there is an understandable desire to increase
the proportion of such awards,” it says.

“Please bear this in mind when setting your second and final year
assessments, especially the latter.”

The e-mail goes on: “We have never received any external examiner
criticism that our ‘standards’ are too low so there should be quite a
lot of leeway available to us all when assessments are set.”

The e-mail also includes a joke about boosting the student satisfaction
rating. Earlier this year, staff at Kingston University

were caught
urging students to falsify their responses to improve the university’s
standing in league tables.

It says: “Please do not complain when all the BSc (Hons) mathematics
students gain first class awards next summer. Now that really would
increase our student satisfaction!”

Higher grades

The leaking of the e-mail provides further evidence of the concern among
academics over the pressure to manipulate degree awards to improve the
public image of universities and to make them more attractive to
applicants.

The number of students achieving a first class degree at UK

universities
has more than doubled since the mid-1990s.

Among last year’s university leavers, 61% achieved a first class or
upper second class degree.

Such is the level of concern that Phil Willis, chair of the House of
Commons select committee on innovation, universities and skills, wants
to examine the threat to higher education standards.

Manchester Metropolitan University

confirmed the e-mail was genuine.

A spokesman said: “This is an informal comment by a member of staff
below the level of head of department to immediate colleagues.

“It is merely the interpretation of a single member of staff which
reflects the increased awareness of comparable and publicly-available
statistics, and in no way relates to university policy.

“Decisions about degree classifications are made by boards of examiners
in accordance with the university’s assessment regulations, which
specify how classifications are determined.”

Financial pressures

This is the latest warning about university standards, following a
whistleblower’s account of postgraduate degrees being awarded to
students who could barely speak English.

This prompted thousands of academics and students to get in touch with
the BBC with their own worries – including that financial pressures were
leading universities to recruit and pass overseas students who did not
reach the adequate academic standards.

The response from BBC News website readers also included e-mails showing
how an external examiner had been persuaded to change her mind over
criticisms of a degree course.

Many have described the conflict of interest between universities’ self-
regulation on degree grades and their need to compete in league tables.

The chief executive of the Quality Assurance Agency, Peter Williams,
reflected some of these concerns about an over-dependence on overseas
students.

He was also explicit in his criticism of the current system: “The way
that degrees are classified is a rotten system. It just doesn’t work any
more.”

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/education/7483330.stm

Published: 2008/07/01 12:32:32 GMT
Daily Telegraph

Twin boys sent to primary schools a mile apart
Last Updated: 8:24PM BST 29/06/2008

A mother said she is “horrified” that her twin sons will be separated
and sent to different primary schools, nearly a mile apart.

Education officials said the three-year-old boys Connor and Brad Terry
must attend separate schools due to a shortage of places. Their mother,
Samantha, 40, is battling to overturn the decision which she fears will
damage the strong emotional bond between the twins. “To read they would
go to different schools, I thought there was some mistake. I was
horrified when I was told it was not a mistake. I cannot consider the
consequences of separating the twins at such a tender age.” Born 24
minutes apart, Connor and Brad are virtually inseparable said their
mother. But she said there was no space on the application form to say
that a child was one of a twin.
As a result the boys, who want to go to Wainscott primary school, in
Medway, Kent

, were processed separately. Connor claimed the last place
while Brad was ordered to attend Hilltop primary school a 15 minute walk
away from his brother. Mrs Terry, an accountant, said: “I cannot be in
two places at the same time – it’s impossible. But the computer
selects the places on a specific criteria and being a twin does not come
into it. They have been together their whole lives and the council is
ordering me to separate them.” A spokesman for Medway Council said: “The
way in which a council deals with applications for schools is set down
in law, and must comply with School Admissions Code, which Medway does.
“The family’s circumstances are extremely rare and changing the
application form to indicate twins or multiple births would not have
prevented the same outcome.”

daily telegraph
Universities will be forced to give poor pupils preferential treatment
By Joanna Corrigan
Last Updated: 8:28PM BST 29/06/2008

Universities will be told to give preferential treatment to pupils from
poorer backgrounds under new proposal.

The plans, in a report commissioned by Gordon Brown, are likely to lead
to applicants from state schools being asked for lower A-level results
than those from private schools. Experts are already saying that the
move would damage British universities’ international standing, but the
Government is expected to publicly endorse the plans. Children from
poorer backgrounds account for only 29 per cent of all students. At
Oxford and Cambridge the level is even lower, at 9.8 and 11.9 per cent
respectively.

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