Oops. We missed this piece from earlier this month at the Social Affairs Unit site, wherein Dalrymple notes the unfortunate similarities between the English and French educational systems.
The similarities, both in causes and effects, were startling. I will just take a few of them at random.In France, as in England, recent governments have made education a supposed priority. They have done this for the same ostensible reasons: standards have been falling despite vast state expenditures, such that about 20 per cent, perhaps more, of French children leave school unable to read, write or reckon with facility. Reforms are introduced one after the other and abandoned in favour of yet other reforms before they have time to fail. Every such reform has its accompanying rhetoric, promising to raise standards, promote equality and prepare children for the outside world. None ever works, except in the sense of providing bureaucratic employment.Illiteracy has been actively promoted by the use of whole-word teaching methods, so idiotic that that they could be have been dreamt up only by a leisured professoriat in search of occupation. Spelling and grammar have been deemed oppressive to the lower orders, whose natural creativity is stunted by them. The result has been a general decline in accomplishment, even in the higher reaches of the system: entrants to the Grandes écoles now commonly make spelling errors that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.