From: Brian Hanwell, Tideswell, Derbyshire.
REGARDING the article by Stephen Twigg, Labour Shadow Education Secretary (Yorkshire Post, April 4), do our political leaders genuinely believe that the only things preventing all children from achieving the same educational standards are poor background and poor teaching?
If we are to believe what Stephen Twigg says, he certainly does. Are all our political leaders in complete disagreement with what all teachers know to be true (unless their political beliefs dictate otherwise) that every child is a unique individual with a unique set of aptitudes and abilities?
I taught children for 42 years and my first post was at a school on the Arbourthorne estate, Sheffield – an area referred to by Mr Twigg.
Throughout my career, I always strived to understand each individual child’s needs and provide teaching programmes appropriate to those needs. During my career I received the highest praise from Her Majesty’s Inspectors and was promoted to a headship at the age of 34.
If I were a teacher – or a headteacher – today I would probably get the sack, except that I wouldn’t allow that to happen. I would get out of the profession, or emigrate to some country where political ideology does not interfere with teachers’ professional judgment.
From: Neil Richardson, Kirkheaton.
STEPHEN Twigg’s enthusiasm for KIPP in New York’s tough area the Bronx notes hundreds of pupils moving into college (Yorkshire Post, April 3).
This argument would have been more convincing if he’d included the total number of school pupils working with the programme’s final year alongside the number signing up for college.
Maybe it’s also relevant to ask whether students must pass a tough entrance exam to join New York’s college courses.
Planning for Utopia
From: James Anthony Bulmer, Peel Street, Horbury, Wakefield.
WE see the Spaniards have been rioting in protest at the austerity measures being imposed on them by the Spanish government.
One reason given for these protests was the vast amounts of money that had been spent by the government on prestigious buildings and yet people are without jobs.
We see, especially in West Yorkshire, the building of prestigious art galleries, large entertainment venues, new council offices, water fountains and large ponds etc, all in city centres and all of them costing billions of pounds. All of these were built over the last five or six years during the boom-and-bust period.
It would appear that our attitude of grin and bear it is still very prevalent in these days of austerity and they still blame the banks?
Have we all been brainwashed into thinking that our governments were planning a Utopia or paradise for us all with all the leisure and pleasure facilities that have and still are being built?
All of these when universities are full to the brim with students hoping for good jobs when graduating.
Will they become museum and art gallery curators, librarians, IT consultants, fountain and water feature attendants or supermarket shelf stackers?
When will common sense and basics replace the greed for prestige and fame?
Mugabe must be laughing
From: Janet Berry, Barfield, Hambleton.
I AM horrified to learn that our weak government has given £80m to Zimbabwe, what are they thinking of? Robert Mugabe must be laughing all the way to the bank.
It is not the poor receiving any help but the corrupt government. Diamonds are being sold to China at a rate of eight million per month.
The white farmers were killed and the land allowed to rot. The factory in Pretoria which my daughter managed imported much of Zimbabwe’s fruit but not any more.
We visited this country many years ago and found it extremely beautiful and the people gentle and friendly.
As for India, it is a joke. I think the reason aid continues is that 70 of our government officials live in Mumbai in relative luxury supposedly to distribute the aid. This jolly is what is called creating jobs.
Anyone who has been to India, South Africa, Kenya or Sri Lanka will have seen how corrupt these governments are. We have seen food aid bags sent to Kenya being sold, the poor in India remain poor and Mugabe lives in a palace.
The British are very generous people but enough is enough. Charity begins at home.
Setting a poor example
From: Stanley M Hardy, North Close, Leeds.
I ATTENDED an event in Leeds and parked close to the Civic Hall last Thursday.
At 10.10am I was collecting my ticket from the parking meter by the Civic Hall car park D when I saw a black car, very clearly marked as one belonging to a driving school, leave car park D.
The driver was the only occupant and is presumably a driving instructor.
What amazed me was that she was gaily chatting on her hand-held mobile phone as she left the car park and accelerated into traffic.
She continued to chat as she took a sharp left hand turn with only one hand on the wheel.
If this breathtakingly flagrant disregard for the law is the norm among driving instructors these days, is it any surprise that present-day driving standards are so abysmal?