‘The school leaving age is to be raised for the first time in nearly half a century, The Times has learnt. With full encouragement from Gordon Brown, Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, has set up a team to organise the lifting of the age at which children must be at school, in training or in an apprenticeship from 16 to 18 by 2013. The change, which will affect around 330,000 teenagers, will help to tackle rising youth unemployment, with unskilled school leavers finding it increasingly difficult to get a job.’
What kind of a madness is this? If a kid wants to leave school at 16 to do something else, why shouldn’t they be able to? To insist that they stay in school longer is illogical in the extreme: it will mean that a woman can be officially considered old enough to be a parent, but must legally still be at school. It also degrades the rights of late teenagers to be considered autonomous free-thinking adults; I can still (just) recall how I might’ve reacted at the age of 16 if someone had suddenly decided on my behalf that I was still to be deemed a dependent ‘child’ with no right to options of my own for an extra two years.
Moreover, it misses the point completely: we’ve just been told that half of school-going kids today don’t pass basic GCSE exams, rendering them underqualified and virtually useless in the workplace. The solution to that problem, I would think QUITE CLEARLY, is to do a better bloody job teaching kids in the many years they’re already obliged to be at school, not just extend those years until the job gets done.
Imagine that approach being taken in the real world: you’re a magazine advertising salesman trying to hit your target within deadline, let’s say.
Unfortunately you’re a shit salesman.
Would your boss delay the publication of the magazine for an extra month or two to make sure that you sell enough ads? No, course she sodding wouldn’t. She’d make sure that her salesmen were properly trained and up to the job in the time available, and she’d sack the shit ones.
Should be the same in schools. If teachers aren’t doing a good enough job at providing children with the most basic of their educational rights, surely the government should fix the core problem and demand better teaching, not give rubbish teachers more time in which to fuck up?