Saturday, September 18, 2021

The challenge of a new school year

Quiz at a St Catherine's Trust Summer School a while back. We've not had the Summer School
for two summers due to the pandemic.

My first article in a new initiative, a weekly Digest (bulletin) from Voice of the Family.


Two recent news articles greeted the start of the academic year. The Irish Times informs us that official statistics confirm that since teacher assessments have in whole or in part replaced anonymised formal examinations, the relative performance of boys against girls has fallen. In the Daily Telegraph, Melanie McDonagh complains that her 14-year-old daughter’s Catholic school has brainwashed her into being a woke activist.

These are both troubling claims, and they may seem extreme, but the people making them are far from marginal. The problem of systemic bias against boys has been acknowledged by the Irish government, which is hardly a bastion of cultural conservatism. It was in fact established on the basis of world-wide statistics some years ago, in a study sponsored by the OECD. The creation of a generation of school-child activists all saying the same things about race and gender has been denounced by Professor Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. Lest anyone imagine she is some conservative culture warrior, she recently made headlines apologising for Oxford’s education of the prominent Conservative Party politician Michael Gove.


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