Pore old An Tolley

There she goes again. Four good education researchers – my informant says ‘the best’ – have written to her, politely pointing out the error of her ways.

They needn’t have bothered, as far as Tolley is concerned – a lost cause and a wasted space, in my opinion. The did the right thing, though, for greater society – in the same way Socrates did. Even in the face of bullshit, you have to remain calm, focused on the big picture, and get as close to the truth as you can.

The Tolley failure is – in the end – one of insecurity. Hers. Why do I claim that? Well, when you’re insecure, but don’t have the tools to deal with that cranially, you use other means to circumvent it. Typically, that involves raising yourself up what you perceive (remember this is an intellect with a flawed building block) to be the strata of humanity. Surely,  you think, when you get to the ‘top, everyone will look up to me, and my angst will be assuaged.

That doesn’t work is you get to the top in tiddlywinks, but nobody else is interested. So you have to condition everyone to want to play in your game, and at the same time, you need the majority not to have a chance. Remember,that insecurity – you’re not too confident, deep down, that they won’t overtake you on a level playing-field.

So you set up a system where everyone is striving to be like you. They can’t, of course. There aren’t the resources on the planet to allow every South-Auckland kid to acquire a McMansion and a Beamer. That , of course, suits you down to the ground.

So Tolley, as part of a clique who think (?) like that wants to set up a regime where those kids born – through no fault of their own – into a lower socio-economic (think about it!) background, keep failing. In her game, though, of course. They will come to school ‘behind’, progress through school ‘behind’, and leave (probably early through a sense of failure) behind. A sad, and societally unacceptable outcome.

What should happen, is that the child is taken in at whatever level they are at, and is nurtured through at whatever pace they can manage, with the goal of achieving their individual goals and potentials.

Which brings us to the other Tolley dilemma: The reason for churning out all these bricks in the wall in the first place.

The theory presumably goes like this: Economic Growth is the goal. Yardsticks are simple (they have to be with this kind of intellect in control) and are: rating in the OECD, and GDP. Nothing else in the universe exists, or at least matters. Which is why English can say “if it’s a stand-off between economics and the environment, economics wins every time”, and why Brownlee can say “we’re open for business” to the petroleum industry, when he has no sequestration technology even on the horizon. But I digress….

Using such a (necessarily) simplistic approach, all you need to turn out is better and better little producers and consumers, and the world will be a great place.

It won’t happen, of course. Teachers are teachers, they only stay in the job because they’re committed to the kids. There are too many other ways of making a living without the stress and the paperwork, for them to stay just for the income. That in turn, means they will keep teaching the kids about real life, the wider life that takes in Enviroschools, gardens, boating, social studies, community obligations, humanity, and the like. In short, they will teach in a rounded way, while covering their asses in the Tolley era.

Which will implode, because it is stupid, narrow, elitist, wrongly targeted, wrongly goaled, and socially dysfunctional.

Sad epitaph, Minister: ‘Could do better”.


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