STILL catching up on news stories over the Christmas period, and this one made me fume.
Now, I know I’ve been accused in the past of pandering to the whole Daily Mail/“it’s political correctness gone mad” thing, but there’s a very good reason why this kind of half-witted nonsense should be opposed.
In the 1980s, the right-wing press had a field day with the antics of left-wing councils allegedly banning the words blackboards, black coffee and “man” in manhole covers, etc. In fact, a lot of it was made up, but the damage was done and Labour paid a heavy electoral price, particularly when our cadidates were drawn from the alleged “loony left” section of the party.
Yet today, it’s almost as if Labour (and other) councils are looking at their archived press cuttings from the ’80s and saying: “Hmm, that’s a good idea – why didn’t we think of that before?”
Take this latest nonsense about red ink: where is the empirical evidence that using a red pen on a pupil’s work will have any detrimental effect whatever on his development? Where is the research? Where are the numbers? Where are the “victims” of red ink, and do they blame their own failures in life on the colour of the pen their teachers used?
Well, if they do, they’re morons. And so are the half-wits who came up with this latest idea.
Here’s a suggestion about why some kids do better than others at school – they’re cleverer! Yes, maybe it’s nothing to do with red ink, or because their school was called a “school” and not a “place of learning”… Maybe kids who are brighter, or whose parents spend time reading to them and teaching them the value of learning and books and respect for their teachers and for authority will do better than their fellow pupils (am I allowed to say “fellow”? Is that sexist? Do I care?).
All of this obsession with “non-threatening, non-offensive” language is simply a distraction. It gives succour to the right wing and their allies in the media. But worse than that, it doesn’t matter. Teachers and (I hate this word – ) educationalists should be concentrating on teaching kids to read and write, to learn stuff instead of worrying about whether the wee souls are going to burst into tears because there’s a red instead of a green cross on their jotter.