Friday, February 01, 2008

Irish airline rapped for 'sexy' schoolgirl ad

And it gives a good reply:

"A flight promotion featuring a young woman dressed as a schoolgirl has landed Irish low-cost airline Ryanair in hot water. The British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which monitors publicity material but has no powers to fine transgressors, said the image was "irresponsible" as it appeared to link teenage girls with sexually provocative behaviour.

Ryanair told the ASA that the number of complaints was insignificant compared with the newspapers' combined readership and that the model's short skirt and bare midriff was merely reflective of modern trends.

Ryanair's head of communications Peter Sherrard said it would not withdraw the advert, as many leading British newspapers regularly run photographs of topless or partially dressed women. "This isn't advertising regulation, it is simply censorship. This bunch of unelected self-appointed dimwits are clearly incapable of fairly and impartially ruling on advertising," he said.


British education failing at the basics

To develop skills requires a basic level of education. And while some skills require no reading and writing ability, would it not be helpful to be able to read an instruction manual, or understand written instructions from a client? Yet according to official government figures, 20% of pupils leave primary school unable to read or write. And going into secondary education unable to understand what they are looking at or listening to is hardly likely to grab the attention of the attention-deficit-disorderly queue lining up to be excluded at the first possible opportunity.

The reason for this abject failure, we are told by the education experts, is that targets and administrative burdens are getting in the way of teaching that class sizes are too big pupils too unruly and wanting to fail facilities sub-standard. Then there's the issue of pay and motivation.

People are not drawn to teaching by the stratospheric salaries, in much the same way that doctors are not lured into their seven-year induction to the world of patient abuse by thoughts of great pay (although it obviously helps). And, like medicine, teaching can be a very rewarding occupation. Trouble is, it can also be totally frustrating, intimidating and virtually impossible to do well. But unlike the medical profession, society sneers at teachers, as though they are somehow getting away with it - big holidays, short days, etc - and somehow seems able to begrudge them a not unreasonable 2.4% pay rise.

But lurking beneath the public sneers, there is a real concern that seems to be sidelined whenever teaching becomes the latest hot topic of conversation: the quality of teaching. There are certainly plenty of inspirational individuals within the system who do an amazing job turning uninterested youths on to the concept of learning and driving those with talent to go as far as they can. But for every great teacher, there seems to be at least a couple of out-and-out duds, backed up by a bulk of 'adequate' under-performers.

Of course, this charge could be made about any job in any profession. The difference is that only teaching has the opportunity to shape minds when they're at an impressionable age, apart, that is, from religion - which is one good argument against faith-based schools.

So where is the quality control in the teaching system? The schools inspectorate, Ofsted, is doing its level best to turn schools into hotbeds of beancounting - forcing otherwise successful, but perhaps slightly shambolic schools to toe the line on the admin front. But Ofsted somehow misinterpreted the government mantra as 'targets, targets, targets', and seems to be more concerned with the performance of the school, rather than the performance of the individuals within it. And wherever there are targets, there are small-minded individuals trying to get around the criteria, fake a way through the system.

And while the beans are being counted, inspirational teachers are leaving the profession in their thousands (more than 90,000 between 2000 and 2005), driven out by the mad rush for statistical and administrative excellence, and paving the way for administratively gifted but perhaps educationally challenged individuals to rise to the top. It seems that people who can't teach... teach.

Bad teachers struggle with class discipline, struggle to get their lessons planned and to hit the targets set by the inspectors. But by working ridiculously long hours, they manage to get their paperwork done. As a result, it looks like they're doing a fine job.

So who's been appointing these poor miseducators? And who lets them get away with it? HR must take its share of the blame. And while the profession will no doubt point to a lack of talent among applicants and the fact that families should be demanding more from their children's teachers, sadly for HR, parents don't appoint the useless ones.

Of course, we have a two-tier education system and one half - the privately funded half - is doing fine, thanks very much. Now, I'm no fan of public schools, but if they failed to deliver at the same level as state-run institutions, they'd soon go out of business. They cannot afford to fail, as people are paying directly for the privilege. And despite the fact that all our taxes are paying for the rest of the schools, the current state of affairs suggests that the state education system may be the last vestige of the old-style nationalised world of unaccountable public sector working - where failure is the norm, and possibly even encouraged where cash is poured down the drain, lining the pockets of no-one in particular and educating hardly anyone.

So, as laudable as the government's skills drive might be, it will be virtually impossible for businesses and government agencies to deliver as long as one-fifth of the working-age population cannot read or write. And it's that fifth who will be required to step into the breachif the government ever hits its 50% degree-educated target. So it definitely is time to get back to basics: the basic task of employing the right people to do the right job. The nation's children deserve a better service. And the nation will be better served by a properly educated workforce. It's not rocket science.


UK Government Education Guidelines: Don't use terms "Mom" and "Dad"

And here's one reason why Brit schools are failing to teach basic knowledge and skills: They are too busy inculcating Leftist propaganda

Government guidelines for training school officials to be more sensitive to homosexuality, instruct teachers not to use the terms "mum and dad" when referring to students' parents, and to treat "even casual" use of terms like "gay" as equal to racism. The guidedance was commissioned by the Labour government directly from the homosexual lobby group Stonewall. The document was launched today at a Stonewall conference by Schools Secretary Ed Balls.

Ed Balls said, "Homophobic insults should be viewed as seriously as racism." "Even casual use of homophobic language in schools can create an atmosphere that isolates young people and can be the forerunner of more serious forms of bullying."

The guidelines say that the word "parents" must replace "mum and dad", and that teachers should educate pupils about civil partnerships and gay adoption rights.

In Britain's current political climate, even young children have been subject to police interventions on accusations of making "racist" or "homophobic" comments. In October 2006, a 14-year-old school girl was arrested by police and detained in a cell for three hours after she asked to be moved into a group of students who spoke English in class. Stott was denounced to police for "racism" by her teachers. In April 2007, a ten-year-old boy was questioned after the boy sent an email calling another boy "gay".

In the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of the guidelines, in answer to the question, "We have to respect cultural and religious differences. Does this mean pupils can be homophobic?" the guidelines specifically state that those with religious views regarded by the homosexual movement as "intolerant" must be silent. "A person can hold whatever views they want but expressing views that denigrate others is unacceptable."

For Stonewall, youth and sexual innocence is no reason for an exemption. To the objection that primary school students are too young to understand issues of homosexuality, the guidelines respond, "Primary-school pupils may be too young to understand their own sexual orientation but it is likely that some primary-school pupils will know someone who is gay." "Homophobic language is used in primary schools without the pupils necessarily realising what it is that they are saying. Primary schools should respond to homophobic bullying in an age-appropriate way whilst demonstrating that it is not acceptable in school."

For parents who object to their children being exposed to instruction on homosexuality, the guidelines say, "Regardless of their views on gay people or sexual orientation, parents and carers have to understand that schools have a responsibility to keep pupils safe."

Stonewall, perhaps the most successful homosexual activist organization in the world, has been accepted by the Labour government, first under Tony Blair and now by Gordon Brown's leadership, as the leading voice on all issues regarding homosexuality. The guidelines take this a step further in actually allowing the lobby group to author a government document.

Under Tony Blair's "New Labour" government, Section 28 - the law which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools, was repealed. Since then, homosexual activists have used their influence in Parliament to implement a full roster of training for both teachers and students in normalizing homosexuality.


Britain's stupid Green/Left: "Only three "sustainable" homes built in UK so far. Gordon Brown's dream of "eco-towns" with tens of thousands of homes powered by wind and solar power has failed to grip the public's imagination. Officials have confirmed that only three low-carbon homes are being built in the UK. The Prime Minister made the plan for 100,000 sustainable homes a key element of his pitch for the Labour Party leadership last summer. But individuals have failed to match the Government's enthusiasm for cutting household emissions. Only three households have taken advantage of a tax-break for all new zero-carbon homes, the Treasury revealed last week. The Treasury minister, Jane Kennedy, said the Government expects the number of applications to increase "as more properties eligible to claim the relief go on the market".

No comments: