Saturday, 12 September 2009

The blaming nation

Part of the problem with Badman reports and issues with anything is

a) problematising and
b) blaming

I'd like to take b) first. When I was emigrated to Canada - I say it that way because I had no choice - one of the first things I did was ask my Dad if he would buy me a bike. I had given my bike from home to a friend who could make good use of it. After our move to Canada, we were living in a fairly rural area; a few dirt tracks and some houses, near my Dad's cousin.

I got my bike. I went out on it. Confession: my biking skills were not that great. We had lived in a terrible place for the care and exercising of bikes. Lots of killer cars and a wobbly me who hadn't biked for long. Anyway, it was the summer so I forged up and down on my new shiny bike.

Then I hit a stone and went over, down on one knee. That hurt, but the humiliation hurt more than the bloody long graze.

What happened then?

Did I sit there and condemn the bike? No. I was not a good cyclist, but that wasn't the bike's fault.

Did I pulverise the stone into a million pieces for causing my fall? No, it wasn't the fault of the stone; it was just doing what stones will do and have done for centuries.

I didn't blame anyone or anything.

It was an accident.

They happen. They happen a lot. They happen to everyone.

So why do we blame the LA personnel for educational problems? Why do we run to the legal system to squeeze out money after someone has done something to us? It's because we blame other people. There is a strong tradition of blaming people or groups in this society.

Often seen headlines: "Politicians slammed for failure to..." or "The government was criticised for..."

I don't think the blame game is healthy and, often, it doesn't help at all. Blaming parents for educating their children when the alternative is an inadequate education - even in an inadequate place to be (have you seen some school buildings?) - at the hands of a state-sponsored system is not a sensible response. If your youngster were suffering from asbestos poisoning in a room, wouldn't you take him out of the room? It's the same principle. After all, unless you are completely turned around mentally, you do actually want the best for your offspring.

a) Problematising.

Problematising is making something a problem when it hasn't been a problem and it isn't a problem. Home education is not a problem. Schooling is. Home education is natural and unproblematic, has been happening since the dawning of recorded time and before that or we wouldn't have survived as a species. Schooling isn't natural and unproblematic and hasn't been around since the dawn of time. Problematising happens when a group of people - like politicians - haven't got enough to do and cannot do much about what they are supposed to do something about so they create a problem, and then they create another problem when they problematise what wasn't a problem in the first place. A politician creates problems because he wants to have solutions that he can measure to say to people "Look how well I'm doing my job. The problem (that I created) has been solved so I'm clever and creative at solving problems.' That's a vote winner. Or has been.

And you know what they say "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." Definitely you'll be part of the problem if you generated the problem in the first place.

Home education? No problem!


  1. Spot on although I do think that like your cycling skills some LAs could do with correcting.

  2. Hi ducks,

    Oh, I do so agree. I guess I was thinking that if the LAs were not responsible in law the pressure would be off them and they'd calm down a bit.

    Call me naive (as well as a poor cyclist!)