Lessons from the past for education

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From: Jack Brown, Lamb Lane, Monk Bretton, Barnsley.

THERE is only one way to make poor, white, working-class kids educationally equal (Bill Carmichael, The Yorkshire Post, June 20). It would mean diverting cash from the wealthy middle-class so I can’t see it happening.

I was born in a Victorian terrace a few hundred yards from Monk Bretton pit and raised in notorious Lundwood. Nevertheless, my mother taught me to read phonetically from the Daily Herald by the age four. My first reading, the Bible, was the only book in the house. Thereafter, the public library fed my voracious appetite. I wore clogs to junior school but I went to grammar school.

The three essentials in this process are parental ambition, phonetic teaching of English as a second language (regions may have a dialects of differing remoteness but all working class language is deprived) and faith in the education system. Parental ambition is fleetingly available with the idealism of the first child. Despite proof of the superiority of phonetic teaching, too many

Educationalists egg on too many schools to deplore and ignore it. The failure resulting from that and child-centred methodology has killed working-class faith in education.

Working class mothers should be taught how to teach reading of English as a second language phonetically in their first ante-natal stage. They should be encouraged to be their child or children’s teacher until they are five. The money being spent on childcare and maternity and paternity leave should be spent on these purposes. Until that happens, let’s have no more crocodile tears.

Football not just for boys

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

STEPHANIE Smith and her 
circle of football widows 
are way out of touch (Life & Style, The Yorkshire Post, June 18). 
Yes, football still may be too much of a man’s world thanks 
to the FA’ s half-hearted recognition of the women’s 
game and the loathsome Sepp Blatter’s suggestion that female players might wear tighter shorts.

Yet women’s football is the fastest growing sport in Britain while fewer boys and men are playing the game.

Your fashion editor’s brief concession to World Cup viewing should also have revealed to her the significant proportion of women fans attending the matches.

How cynical, too, to boast that the fashion industry is worth much more globally than football.

That seems to me like knowing the price of everything and the worth of nothing.

It may, however, be of some reassurance to your columnist that 90 per cent of the male pub and sofa experts never actually go to matches.

Take a tip from Wallace

From: John Redhead, Owst Road, Keyingham, East Yorkshire.

ACCORDING to President Obama, to doubt the concept of man-made climate change is akin to believing that the Moon is made of cheese.

Clearly the President has overlooked the work of the celebrated Yorkshire academics, Wallace & Gromit, who some years ago established by personal observation that the Moon is in fact made up entirely of finest Wensleydale.

He may also not have noticed that despite the mythical “carbon” global temperatures have not risen for 17 years and predictions based on solar activity indicate a slight fall in temperature over the next 12 years.

Perhaps the President can’t tell his weather from his climate.

Standards
under threat

From: Ewan Jones, Talbot Terrace, Leeds.

FOLLOWING the food scandals of recent years, people are becoming much more aware of what goes into our food. The last thing we need is lower legal standards, but a deal being negotiated between the EU and the US could result in exactly that.

The EU-US trade deal aims to “harmonise” European and American rules in food safety and many other areas, which in practice may mean slashing European standards to match the much lower US levels. So, products like hormone-treated beef and pork, and chicken washed in chlorine, sold by US companies but currently banned here, could appear on supermarket shelves in the UK.

Food is just one area in which this deal would give multi-national companies much more influence in our lives. Health care and education are among the others. The deal threatens our ability to run our society in the way we choose, and it must be stopped.

Has the penny
dropped yet?

From: Richard Harrap, Priory Crescent, Bridlington.

MAY I suggest some basic training in the nomenclature of current British coinage for the writer of the article (The Yorkshire Post, June 19) about foreign currency being used in Morrisons self-service machines?

We may then avoid a repeat of the howler informing us that an Iranian 250 rial coin is worth “about one pence”!