Creating the generation we want – warts and all!

Thank you to so many people for your imaginative and intelligent responses. This piece attempts to recognise all the comments, and it is hoped you will recognise your own input as you read through.

Educationally, there is a need to bring back the old technical colleges with a wide variety of practical courses that would lead to self sufficiency of local communities (permaculture, dressmaking, blacksmithing, carpentry etc.) plus the provision of medium and higher technical jobs that the country needs.

I did several years in workcamps as a CO alternative to military service. Very useful and enlightening. I would consider introducing some such practical service/training for all young people between school and higher education, to broaden horizons and give them a variety of experience and company before choosing courses and careers.

Bankers have made robbery legal, how can we blame people for learning from example.

Much of the rioting was a response by people who feel powerless. It’s what happens when far too much of society is in servitude to markets. We’ve had more than 40 years of it. Blair was only marginally better than Thatcher in this respect. They all were, and still are, bonkers to imagine that it didn’t matter how much wealth was siphoned off to the richest 5%.

A fantastic email. I can say outright I agree conceptually with the need for radical and imaginative rethinking for our society to operate and have at least a hope that things can improve with time.

Surestart – under threat in England from the cuts but protected in Wales  – in part aims to do this.

First observation….Kibbutz

There’s definitely some merit to the ideas. I would advise that the underlying emphasis should be on enabling the true potential of humankind to blossom. For this purpose, we must be prepared to explore the nature and depth of essential values and truth in the design of any new processes for real education. With the right level of guidance, such process will serve to avoid systemic collapse due to the same old issues.

Look at Norway placed highest on the Human Development Index. What is wrong with adopting some of their great ideas for social inclusion and welfare?

I have to say that your emphasis on boot camp and benefit withdrawal is really out of tune with the overwhelming opposition to authoritarian approaches to ‘back to work’ measures amongst people affected by unemployment.

Add regular home/clinic visits by public health nurses in the first two years, to check milestones and development, assist with any problems parents might be having, and as a lifeline for new young isolated mums, and you have my vote!!

Where such a large proportion of what is wrong lies with inequality and the quasi-criminal actions of the rich, big business and the consumption-obsessed societies and economies they have constructed, it seems curious that almost all your remedies target the conduct of the poor and, especially, poor parents. (not actually true – it made no distinction)

We used to have a system in NZ called Plunket Nurses – which assisted parenting from birth, through to primary school  This system picks up not only nutritional, developmental, health and behavioural problems early, but also child abuse, enabling early intervention with parenting skills as well as to assist the removal a child (and mother) from a dangerous situation if necessary. It also connects young mothers with others in the community, and provides an opportunity for a wealth of health promotional activities in child and maternal health, and family planning, as well as a referral service to health and social services as needed. It was accompanied by Karitane Hospitals and Health Camps for school-age children who were not achieving developmental milestones (eg weight, height, learning etc) and involved children staying for at least six weeks, usually 3 months, but sometimes longer, where they were fed a healthy diet, their immunisation status was checked and addressed if necessary, had a regular exercise regimen, and they attended school at the camp. NZ dumped this system as a cost-cutting measure in the neoliberal experiment of the 1980’s and children have been suffering ever since. The Plunket system could be easily adapted to dovetail in with your child centres at age 2, and health, rather than boot, camps serve a holistic purpose in ensuring total (physical, emotional, social) health intervention, without the stigma. Worth thinking about!!

Thanks for this, it makes a lot of sense. Single sex education from puberty is certainly an idea I would back. You have provided an element of hope.

Problem: consumerism and widening inequality. Solution: hard work and common values.

What about teachers, career advisors and youth workers who have been trained to work with young people in civil society and whose main burden is persistent undervaluing, under-resourcing and underfunding.

I completely do not agree with this text, I really do not want a society this person wants.

Use progressive taxation to fund better housing, better social infrastructure, better schools, youth centres, play areas, not ‘parenting classes’ but neighbourhood centres and facilities for young parents, etc. Why not structure our work, taxation and pensions systems so that young parents, fathers and mothers, are ‘free to stay with their children’ part- or full-time, as they choose?

Invoke the Green Party policy on citizen’s income.

Surely ‘bad parenting’ is not something that can be ‘mopped up’ but something which gradually diminishes as we build societies (at local and national level) that offer genuine hope of improvement, involvement, participation and creativity.

There have always been feral children…both in town and country. What we have that is new is feral parents.

If we stop the wars and cancel Trident, we could afford a decent future for the next generation.

Like many of my generation I was “trained” by ex military personnel. As with all groups, some were natural born educators and enthused us. The majority were bullies. Those at my school were even bigger bullies.

I do think a four year degree level course in educational sociology and psychology and pulling apart the building blocks of your subject is a preparation for teaching. (It is interesting to note that recent teacher training courses have not done this but have been a dumbing down involving lots of capitalist propaganda about “targets”- revolting business speak.)

Great to hear some common sense; a welcome antidote to the tidal wave of nonsense from the media. I wish people had the same sense of outrage about the bankers.

Community Service for Life as a sentence for looter bankers.

So there we have it. People with opinion, ideas, experience and healthy disagreement stepping up to the mark, and whilst it is good to disagree, please in future bring to the discussion constructive criticism AND your ideas for building the society we can be proud of.

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