Declining standards

I feel sorry for kids sometimes. When it comes to education, no matter what level you’re studying at and regardless of your achievements, young people can rest assured that it all counts for nothing as exams are too easy and standards are too low. As a publication which likes to view young people as somewhere between cancer and blacks on the Fear & Loathing O’Meter, the Daily Mail takes particular delight in pushing this narrative.

Why, only in the last few months we’ve been offered all of the following as evidence that educational standards are plummeting and that ‘By gum! They were tough but maybe 1950s schoolteachers had it right after all!’:

“Yea, yea” I hear you cry, “more tedious grumbling from that miserable lot who could probably even find a way to complain about something as harmless as Disney films given half the chance!” (you may joke, but to see how the Mail blames Disney for the demise of the two-parent family, click here). But wait! Maybe we’re being too harsh. It seems that the Daily Mail has a genuine reason to be concerned about declining standards: it simply can’t find literate staff to tell us how to avoid catching dangerous diseases like cancer and ethnic in a coherent, legible manner! Take this little snippet from today’s article reporting on a year old YouTube video:

Ok, so the last mistake is due to the fact that the reporter just cut and pasted the band’s ‘quotes’ from their website, but still! This article got through at least one reporter, a spell checker and an editor without anybody realising that ‘they want to to hurls the 62 pianos’ doesn’t make a blind bit of sense.

A Mail journalist (possibly Janet Street-Porter) hard at work

Clearly, this puts Mr Dacre in an awkward position. His readers are going to notice the hypocrisy of his paper complaining about declining standards if it’s coming out with lines like ‘Britain childrens is learning stupid’. And he can’t hire these ‘skilled immigrants’ because they might try to ‘shank’ him or poison him with halal meat.

I can see only one solution: Britain opens its first school for Daily Mail journalists. The school could teach not only spelling and basic literacy, but could also offer additional classes in balanced interpretation of statistics and appropriate use of the words ‘fury’ and ‘outrage’, as well as holding special remedial fact-checking sessions for Mr Littlejohn. Perhaps a school nurse might even be persuaded to take a look at Melanie Phillips. It may be drastic, but this seems to be the only way to save Britain’s best-loved chip wrapper from falling victim to the declining standards which threaten us all.

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