Showing posts from August, 2012

Convention Time - With Some Hollywood Weirdness

I have posted a piece about the Republican convention, with links to good online comments, at the Tutor2u website.  Clint Eastwood's bizarre speech has taken quite a few headlines and it really is a pity that such an iconic figure has so misjudged an occasion that he has briefly become a figure of ridicule.  The best thing Eastwood could have done would have been to arrive on stage, wave to the delirious audience, deliver perhaps a couple of slightly re-jigged movie lines, and retreat to the VIP stand.  The man who derived his movie cult from delivering only the most limited of words when on screen has shown us exactly why that was such a good move all those years ago.

Meanwhile, vice-presidential  nominee Paul Ryan's speech was well received by his audience as expected, but critics pointed out numerous distortions within it - a sign of things to come, as Ryan's legislative record becomes subject to close scrutiny.  As for the nominee himself, the best thing to be said fo…

Romney's VP Pick

Congressman Paul Ryan is Mitt Romney's pick as Vice-President candidate, doubtless in an attempt to reassure his right-wing base.  British commentator Dan Hannan thinks Ryan will be key in helping Romney win the White House, but the reality is that VP choices don't make presidential campaigns, even if they do sometimes break them.  Just ask John McCain.

Janet Daley's Bilge

If the Daily Telegraph is actually paying Janet Daley for her ridiculous columns, we should make sure we never take heed of that paper's regular injunctions to government about wasting money.  They are past masters at it themselves every time they publish one of Ms. Daley's columns.

She is on fine, caricaturist form today with a lot of bilge about the terribly uncompetitive, mediocre  nature of modern Britain.  Apparently, the British Olympic success has actually occurred in the midst of an irremediable downturn in British civic ethics.  It has been a "celebration of all those aspects of the human condition which the political fashion and educational ideology of the past 40 years has attempted to denigrate."  Er, right.  So despite the insidious efforts of a large portion of what commentators like Ms. Daley often refer to as the 'British Establishment', we've still managed to produce an unprecedented number of medal winners.  They're not very s…

Cameron and The School Sports Debate

It’s great that David Cameron has been prominent in attending the London Olympics, and even better that he has been sufficiently enthused by the tremendous success of British competitors to make a call for greater sports emphasis in schools.  But is Mr. Cameron na├»ve in passing the blame for a ‘lack of competitive ethos’ on to teachers?  Or is he simply the latest in a line of Prime Ministers from Margaret Thatcher on to pay lip service to the idea of sports in state schools whilst simultaneously cutting the funding that makes it possible.
The problem, as ever, lies with both government and school leaders.  Since the education revolution of the 1980s, government has been immensely successful in focussing attention on academic results.  The annual publication of exam league tables has forced schools into an ever more intense cycle of relentless grade chasing.  Good, you might think, for the academic side of education.  Not so good for all the other aspects of school life.  School leade…