Ed Balls and Latin


By Stephen Pollard
March 15, 2010
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Fabulous Boris Johnson column on Ed Spheroids' dismissal of the usefulness of Latin:

Suppose you are captured by cannibals in
the Mato Grosso, and you find a scrap of Portuguese newspaper in your hut
revealing that there is about to be an eclipse; and suppose that by
successfully prophesying this event you convince your captors that you are a
god and secure your release – I reckon you would be thankful for your Latin,
eh? 

And, as he writes in conclusion:

Like
me, Ed Balls was lucky to be educated at a wonderful fee-paying school where
they taught us Latin. For the past 30 years children from such schools have
dominated the study of classics at university. They have a ladder up to
follow great courses, under brilliant men and women, at some of the best
universities in the world – and to go on to good jobs. How mad, how
infamous, that a Labour minister – a Labour minister – should
seek to kick that ladder away for children less privileged than him.

...It is thanks to the efforts of hundreds of dedicated teachers and volunteers
that the tide is now turning. This Government places insane obstacles in the
path of all who want to teach Latin in the maintained sector. Labour refuses
to recognise Latin as a language for Ofsted purposes, and even though 60
Latin teachers are retiring every year, the Government will find funding for
only 27 teachers a year to graduate with a PGCE enabling them to teach
classics. That is 27 for the entire country.

In spite of these restrictions, and in spite of all the snootiness of Ed
Balls, the enthusiasts are winning. For the first time in decades there are
now – in absolute numbers – more state schools than private schools that
teach Latin. Ed Balls should be proud of that achievement. He should
celebrate it, and encourage it in the name – if nothing else – of social
justice.

 

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Mon, 03/15/2010 - 17:12

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moshetzarfati2 (not verified)

Mon, 03/15/2010 - 20:14

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Edwardum testum

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