Tuesday, May 18, 2021

THE KANSAS CITY EXPERIMENT

 

From fevered veins of angry teacher rads
And such conceits as clownage keeps in pay
We’ll lead you to the zealous halls of learning
There to hear our professors of education indulge
Their fantasy in equal scale and appetite
To the lofty stash of stolen public money
There to whip their impatient dream to shape 
Or not, as your eyes see it.

 

A Shining City on the Hill

That which cannot be referenced in educational discourse, although it is the endpoint of our hubris. 

Imagine all educational fantasists were given a blank cheque and the instruction to do everything they can to make education work for our disadvantaged children – as it should. Whatever the complaint or deficiency in our school system, fix it. Plan it deep, get the best, rack up optimism. Prove your arguments that disadvantage, and not culture or intelligence, or dare you think it, race, lies behind historical lack of achievement. At last enlightenment dreams meet political will: Individual PCs to take home, personal mentors, limitless resources, after school activities by the bucket-load, free breakfasts, free this, free that and the next thing, Olympic-size swimming pool? – you got it. Disadvantaged parents not forgotten either with vouchers galore for everything, excepting alcohol. Every incentive dreamed by man or god made manifest in this one place. Failure was made impossible by this power of righteous imagination married to educational science.

Spent, built, remodelled, recruited, encouraged, provided, indulged. And the result; a complete failure. A COMPLETE FAILURE by any metric. Well beyond the bounds of the darkest gainsayers. Indeed, outcomes were inversely proportional to expenditure. It has to be independently confirmed to be believed. Do so.

Of course, the meeting with reality only slightly set back the educational fantasists for their faith is made of sterner stuff. Perhaps they a missed heartbeat when faced with the ruin of their hopes, plans and literally the founding stock of their Utopian future. The lesson to them; there was no lesson to them! Their Jacobin attentions to the educational system were doubled down, the inconvenient fact silently, swiftly transited to the memory hole. Any who dared to mention it were,..well, you know what they were called! Institutional racism was apparently to blame, even for the blue on blue stabbings. 

The lesson to us: our fantasist enemies do not operate in the rational realm. Their complaints and programmes (and pogroms) are not about fixing things, but breaking them. And us. And your children, who are not their children.

It is these parasite-professors and destroyer-activists and suchlike creatures that stand in the shadows behind too much of our educational ambitions.

You did not read this. You do not know about any such experiment. Nor do you want to. Is Kansas City even a place?

PS. And should they be required, apologies to Marlowe. Such thievery has its impulse from deepest admiration.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

HOMAGE TO CHAUCER

 

Whan that May with his sonne sa bryght
 

Whan that May with his sonne sa bryght

Maketh ye earth warm and setteth alle to ryght

Then shal lytel byrdies mak melodye

And giveth preyse to him wha sitteth on hie.

 

Then cometh tymme wi langre dais

And man to womman turnes hys gais

Wi amorous thochtes of futur blyss

Yf onlie she wad chuseth to be hys.

 

Quod he, I love thee marvellyss welle

be my guidwyf and with mee dwelle.

I am but a sympell churl, tis treue

but seeeth eternitee in a lyf with you.

 

Now womman thinketh to be wyse

Picketh a mate with lovynge eeyes

And thee shal everr blesst be

By loveth hym as he loveth thee.

 

Based on The Canterbury Tales prologue*, I’m hopynge that this explains itself, and does not seem like a mock of the great parent of our world-encompassing language. 

With a little effort (and a modern font) Chaucer’s Middle English comes alive and reads quite easily. It is great fun all round having children read it out and they can, using rhyming couplets (as above), reproduce their own homage. The vocabulary and spelling has to be supported, of course, but the only tricky bit is getting the first line. After that’s done, it more or less writes itself for the first couple of verses. And then you've done it; your primary pupils have written in Middle English! We did it recently for April (hence the prologue reference) to meikle delyghte and som pryde tae.

After such a lesson, there's only one direction; onwards and backwards to Beowulf! Kids love this, Beowulf slays Mylie, Nikki, Ariana and all the other swamp-owned succubi.

 

*

 Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote

              When April with its sweet-smelling showers
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
               Has pierced the drought of March to the root,
 And bathed every veyne in swich licour
               And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
Of which vertu engender├ęd is the flour;
               By the power of which the flower is created
...............
FYI: There are many youtube examples for how to pronounce this; some are rubbish, but you'll quickly identify them.