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Wednesday 27 June 2012

Mail In Malicious Maths Muddle

The obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre is no stranger to running down the country’s education system. And, thanks to an eagle-eyed Zelo Street reader, I can now show just how far this motley rabble is prepared to go in order to accomplish its task – and along the way dupe gullible Tory MPs into nodding along with them and gifting them quotes.

What's f***ing wrong with a bit of fact bending, c***?!?

Last September, hack Kate Loveys (is that name for real?) told readers “It doesn't add up: We're even worse at maths than Albania as UK schools rank 43rd in the world”. Ho yus. And where did this gem come from? Well, initially, the source, the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2011-12 Competitiveness Report (read it HERE [.pdf]) looks pukka. Until you do a little digging.

And boy, do you have to do some digging. Not until page 445 do you get to see the table that, indeed, shows the UK in 43rd place, just behind Albania. So the successors to King Zog are besting us at sums, are they? Ah well. The question is the giveaway: “How would you assess the quality of math and science education in your country’s schools? [1=poor, 7=excellent, among the best in the world]”.

So the question that forms the basis for the table is to ask folks in each country how they perceive the standard of the education provided in that country. No comparison between countries is made: it’s just down to how people see their own system. Maybe Albania’s system has improved in recent years and doesn’t have hordes of ranting hacks queuing up to run it down.

That, though, did not deter the Mail, who the very next day managed to find a couple who had sent their son to school in, you guessed, Albania. And they also contributed quotes to the piece by the ubiquitous “Daily Mail Reporter” that said exactly what the paper wanted to hear, such as “My complaint with the system - it's all about being creative. But children need to learn science, maths and reading”.

That is followed with “Labour created a system where kids get 10 A stars at GCSE - but what does that mean if everyone gets them”. It means the Mail has a sub who has not yet learned the art of using the question mark, that’s what. But the icing on the cake of fraudulent deception was to get a Tory MP to do the quotes, and the One They Saw Coming was Chris Skidmore.

Skidmore attended Bristol Grammar School and took a double first in History at Christ Church, Oxford. He is not stupid. Yet he failed to look before leaping: “After 13 years in which Labour failed to grasp the importance of maths and science education to our future prosperity, this report shows how much ground we have to make up”. It showed instead how little he thought before quoting.

Don’t take the Mail at face value, politicians. They too have an agenda.

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