Monday, August 17, 2009

If You Can Chew Gum and Walk, You Get a PhD

If I had made this story up, readers would have castigated me for producing such an outlandish and far-fetched confabulation.

How much stupider can we make ourselves before the Visigoths clamber over the walls and sack what’s left of our civilization? Presuming, of course, that they don’t die laughing when they encounter the foolishness that passes for modern Western culture.

This British teenager got a prize for waiting at the bus stop. Imagine the honors he would have received if he were really brilliant, and could, say, tie his own shoelaces!

According to The Daily Telegraph:

Teenager Given ‘Council Certificate for Getting on Bus in Greater Manchester’

A teenage boy, Bobby McHale, has been awarded a certificate from a holiday scheme in Bury, Greater Manchester — for getting the bus.

The 15 year-old got the certificate from exam board AQA after attending a three week holiday scheme run by Bury Youth Services earlier in the summer.

Some of Bobby’s friends also received the qualification although others, including Bobby’s younger brother Joe, 13, missed out it.

Oh, well — don’t worry about Joe: he’s got a great future in the Labour Party.

A Bury Council spokesman said: “For several years, young people in Bury have taken part in a summer activities scheme called BRAG (Bury and Rochdale Active Generation). This is a two-week programme of sports, dance, and arts events, run through Bury Youth Service, with events taking place at several venues across Bury and Heywood.

“Participants receive a BRAG pass, details of the activities taking place, and a free bus pass. This is designed to encourage young people to be self-reliant — they have to plan their own schedule and ensure they get to the different activities on time.

“Youngsters receive a sticker after completing each different activity: if they collect eight, they can take part in a Golden Week of bonus events, such as trips to Blackpool or activity centres.

And how much does this important pedagogical enterprise cost the taxpayers?
- - - - - - - - -
“The annual cost of running the BRAG programme of events is £20,000, paid for through a Government grant.”

Just for the record, here’s the set of complex skills Bobby had to master in order to earn his certificate:

Using Public Transport (Unit 1)

In completing the unit the student has demonstrated the ability to:

1. Walk to the local bus stop.
2. Stand or sit at the bus stop and wait for the arrival of a public bus.
3. Enter the bus in a calm and safe manner.
4. Be directed to a downstairs seat by a member of staff
5. Sit on the bus and observe through the windows.
6. Wait until the bus has stopped, stand on request and exit the bus.

Thanks to the incomparable British educational system, it’s quite obvious that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

Hat tip: Gaia.


Tuan Jim said...

Actually reading some of the comments on other articles about this I think there was a bit of a misunderstanding. The program in which this guy had accidentally been enrolled may have been one of those ones targeting learning-disabled kids or those who have difficulty adjusting to social circumstances. It's nothing academic, but rewards social interaction and meeting personal goals.

S'marty Says said...

When I first read about this, I was hoping this was a program for people with social or learning disabilities. If that's the case, then getting on the right bus really is a big deal. If it's just another "feel good" exercize by liberals, however, then it's a prime example of dummying-down the system to the point of absurdity.

spackle said...

Yeah. This HAS to be for the mentally retarded. Otherwise it was created BY the mentally retarded.

Homophobic Horse said...

"“Participants receive a BRAG pass, details of the activities taking place, and a free bus pass. This is designed to encourage young people to be self-reliant — they have to plan their own schedule and ensure they get to the different activities on time."

This is what socialism does to people. It turns them into demoralised cripples.

laine said...

"This is what socialism does to people. It turns them into demoralised cripples."

There are laboratories even in nominally capitalist countries where this hypothesis has been put to the test and found to be true. They are called black ghettos, native reserves, white trash and Muslim no go areas. See? It works on everybody regardless of race or religion.

Conservatives believe in a hand up, meaning the person being helped still has to help himself to the best of his abilities. Workfare is an example.

Socialists decided they wanted to look more generous (and not incidentally buy more votes and power) so they increased the state largess and decreased demands on the recipient to zero.

Although many credit socialists with good intentions, they always pave the road to sloth and hell for anyone who takes their poisonous handouts.

When your client groups end up worse off in the long run, and you still give them the same rotten medicine, can you really be said to have good intentions?

Or are you pathologically narcissistic and/or so stupid that you refuse to look at your outcomes like some 5 year old child feeding his younger sibling mud?

bewick said...

I'd guess that in the UK today Pavlov's dogs and lab. rats would receive certificates for their obvious learning abilities. Provides jobs in a bankrupt nation and hides the true unemployment levels you see!
More Government funded jobs - the L- Dopa of our generation (ruinous and extravagent welfare benefits is another variety which happens to attract "asylum seekers" in numbers) attracts yet more votes for corrupt New Labour. Don't bite the hand and all that.

WELL before I was 15 (like 50 years ago) I worked to get Scout badges. I had to display some actual skill to achieve that. Catching a bus and getting to where I was supposed to be and on time was an everyday and very easy task by the time I was 10. No cars you see. Then again I usually walked or ran because buses cost.

More intellectually I CAN see the value of such a certificate to encourage the less mentally able to strive but this kid was not mentally impaired. Nor have I seen any reports at all that this was a bureaucratic mistake so can only conclude that it is what I thought - a public service job creation programme for those who issue the certificates (and all in between including teachers).
Yup I agree that successfully chewing a whole range of gums and writing a critical thesis could well result in the award of a PhD in the UK today. It totally devalues my and my peers achievements and I could cry at lost values. I won't though!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, folks, it's obvious this is not a program for retarded children. Read the article and see the picture. This is a perfectly healthy and normal kid :

"It just seems really silly to me," said Bobby, who is set for A grades at GCSE.

"At first I thought I'd got some sort of GCSE early. When I read out the details to the family we all fell about laughing."

Tuan Jim said...

Whether or not the kid in the story intended to get "signed up" for that program doesn't change the basis behind the program itself.

A few more references (keep in mind that the PC media might not be using some of the same terms that we would either)....BBC, The Sun.

I think it's pretty clear a normal guy like him isn't exactly the target subject for this type of thing.