In the same breath, these Munchausen mothers weep crocodile tears over the ‘failure’ of boys compared to girls at school, dragging the poor sods away to be patronised, ghettoised, and if they’re really unlucky in Cornwall – massaged
So it’s no surprise to learn that educators have for the last two decades known exactly why so many of our children are going through schools which, when the female teachers are done deliberately marking down clever boys at the expense of nice girls, churn out one in ten ‘dyslexic’ pupils.
This is an expanded edit of a speech by a Labour MP – Graham Stringer – made under the last Labour Government – and enitled ‘Dyslexia is a Myth’ Enjoy
Any prison will do, the statistics don’t vary much.
In Strangeways, for example, roughly 80% of inmates are illiterate and a similar number are drug abusers.
I am not implying that all illiterate people take drugs and engage in criminal activities, but, the huge correlation between illiteracy and criminal activity is striking.
But I am confident that if the rate of literacy were improved there would be an inevitable decline in crime.
Children who cannot read or write find secondary school a humiliating and frustrating experience. Their rational response, with dire consequences, is to play truant.
Drugs, burglaries, robberies and worse, then, often, follow.
So why does the education system, even after the huge injection of funds over the past ten years, fail so many people and what can be done about it?
Unlike many of society’s problems, the answers are simple.
The reason that so many children fail to read and write is because the wrong teaching methods are used. The education establishment, rather than admit that their eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction are at fault, have invented a brain disorder called dyslexia.
To label children as dyslexic because they’re confused by poor teaching methods is wicked.
Dyslexia is a cruel fiction.
It is no more real than the 19th century scientific construction of ‘the æther’ to explain how light travels through a vacuum.
The sooner it is consigned to the same dustbin of history, the better.
There are two simple reasons for being confident about the false nature of dyslexia. International comparisons and the fact that so called dyslexic children have no more trouble learning to read than other children, if the appropriate teaching methods are used.
There can be no rational reason why this ‘brain disorder’ is of epidemic proportions in Britain but does not appear elsewhere in the world.
it is also pretty damning that according to Professor Julian Elliot there are 28 different definitions of dyslexia.
You don’t have to go halfway round the planet to see where this fictional malady has been eradicated. You can go to West Dunbartonshire where the Council has eliminated illiteracy.
When it started its literacy programme it had a higher than national average level of pupils entering secondary school who were functionally illiterate.
The magic bullet in West Dunbartonshire, was using synthetic phonics (sometimes known as linguistic phonics) to teach children to read.
This system recognises that there are 43 distinct sounds or phonemes in the English language.
In this system each sound is introduced initially with a signal ‘basic code’ spelling, for example the ‘ee’ sound is connected to the ‘ee’ spelling. Students are then taught to read by blending all the signs in the words, e.g for ‘ee’ the spellings ‘y’ as in funny, ‘ea’ as in eat, ‘e’ as in reflex, ‘i.e’ as in cookie etc.
This system successfully stops the confusion caused when learning to read and spell, by the fact that in the English language there are only 26 letters for 43 sounds.
The results of pilot schemes for synthetic phonics have yielded other impressive results.
On February 12 2005, the Scottish Office released the seven-year follow-up of the Clackmannanshire Research, a piece of work successive Governments have ignored, and which showed teaching synthetic phonics to be not only much more effective for children, but clearly fairer to them, yielding good results in all pupils whether rich or poor, male or female.
The follow-up work showed children taught to read with synthetic phonics were a staggering 3 ½ years ahead of controls.
Boys caught up with and even outperformed girls across the board, suggesting a cure for the frequently bemoaned fact – about which nothing is done – that boys drag behind girls in class.
Also pupils from disadvantaged homes scored virtually as well as more advantaged pupils – surely a positive indicator for those who profess to care about ‘equal opportunities’
But rather than copying the huge success of the West Dunbartonshire scheme, 35,500 students are receiving disability allowances for dyslexia.
In just one year of my Labour Government this cost £78.4 million and Ed Balls, the Minister responsible, constantly strove to identify more dyslexics.
It is a system that breeds unfairness. Certified dyslexics get longer in exams. There has been created, a situation where there are financial and educational incentives to being bad at spelling and reading.
This reached a pinnacle of absurdity, with Naomi Gadien, a second year medical student initiating a legal case against the General Medical Council because she believes she’s being discriminated against by having to do written exams.
I don’t know about anybody else but I want my doctors, and for that matter, engineers, teachers, dentists and police officers to be able to read and write.
It is time that the dyslexia industry was killed off and we recognised that there are well known methods for teaching everybody to read and write.
I started off this article by saying that I believed an effective literacy programme would reduce crime. I believe this to be the case but as important as this is, I think it is criminal that for nearly one quarter of the population, life is impoverished by the failure of the education system to teach them how to read and write properly.
This is not only a huge waste of taxpayer’s money, it is a terrible waste of human potential.