You lucky, lucky people.
I used to have a friend who was very fond of science fiction novels which he would insist I borrow. One which sticks in my mind is Ringworld by Larry Niven. An alien creature, a Pearson’s Puppeteer is assembling a team for an expedition to the Ringworld. He recruits Louis Wu, an intergalactic all action hero, aged about 202, a couple of scientists, some other motley aliens with useful abilities and a bimbo called Teela Brown. It turns out that in the over populated Earth of the future reproduction is carefully controlled and limited to people of proven ability, with exceptions granted to winners of the birth lottery. Teela is the offspring of 8 or so generations of lottery winners. The human race has been effectively breeding for luck and the Puppeteer needs some luck to succeed.
There have been sequels but I have not read them, science fiction is not really my preference.
But I was reminded of this character when my attention was called to the website of the Office of the Schools Adjudicator recently, and I looked at his decisions concerning entrance to Secondary Schools of England and Wales for September 2007, which will affect how that school admits pupils in 2008.
Every complaint by parents whose children were admitted or declined by an oversubscribed school by a lottery or at random was rejected.
“. . . is no more likely to cause distress to individual children or uncertainty to parents than any of the available alternatives. . . chosen mechanism is clear and objective and consistent with the requirements of the Code”.
Every complaint that I read where a local authority objected to a school, particularly a school with a speciality (such as “Bogthorpe Comprehensive A Specialist Sports College”) trying to assess whether prospective pupils had any aptitude for the speciality, was upheld and the assessment deemed invalid. Even a school that asked parents to write a brief paragraph as to why they wanted their child to go there was held to be penalising certain sections of society.
Like Mary I went to an old fashioned Grammar School and while the selection process used in 1965 could have been improved I believe that in principle identifying those children who would benefit from the opportunity for an academic education is a good thing.
Certainly better than what we are doing now, which is breeding for luck.
Posted on 08/30/2007 1:05 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
30 Aug 2007
Yes: ..." in principle identifying those children who would benefit from the opportunity for an academic education is a good thing."
Melanie Phillips' book, 'All Must Have Prizes' (1996), is stimulating on this, and related themes.
30 Aug 2007
Quite so. The system is absurd - but the rich lefties love it.