December 17, 2006

Take care of the littlest ones and generations will benefit

Posted in Ireland · 27 comments ·
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Do teachers make better parents? Do children of teachers have better chances of working and beating the system?

This might sound like a provocative question – particularly if you are not a teacher – but it’s an interesting one.

The answer is that teachers do make ‘better’ parents. Most tellingly, the results of a comprehensive study by the Geary Institute in UCD (www.geary.ucd.ie) reveal that mothers who are teachers have a greater direct influence on their children’s education than fathers who are teachers.

In Ireland, children of teachers get much more out of our education system than children of other (including better-off) professionals. Teachers themselves earn 25 per cent more than the median income, yet the real payback for teachers is in the incomes and opportunities of their children.

In many ways, from a family perspective at least, teachers are the great sacrificers.

Foregoing income themselves, through their attention to education at home, they give their children an invaluable head start. This is particularly the case when the mother is a teacher.

The significance of that head start is now becoming apparent. Evidence from all over the English-speaking world suggests that the single biggest factor affecting children’s chances in school is not income, but parental participation.

There are, in essence, ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parents. This might appear self-evident, but it is amazing how simple language has been banished from public debate.

Instead we are treated to a barrage of pieties about income inequality, poor facilities and the like. While all these are contributory factors, it is the home environment, created, fostered and moulded by parents, which is the crucial factor.

Take the three economics professors at the Geary Institute in UCD, where this pioneering work is being done. All three were born and bred in Ballyfermot – reinforcing the idea that family counts more than other factors.

There are three reasons why these observations are important for the country.

The state relies on the brains of our people.

If we can get the most out of all our children, society will be much better off, not only in terms of economics, but in terms of crime, health and general quality of life.

Second, starting early is crucial. American research shows that one dollar spent on intervention in the education of a four-year-old is seven times more productive than the same amount spent on a 14-year-old.Evidence from psychology and neuroscience also shows a reinforcing mechanism whereby skills beget skills, motivation begets motivation and failure begets failure.

Irrespective of income, gaps in educational ability emerge early and widen. So it is crucial – as the Jesuits said – to get them young.

Third, last week the Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed that the biggest change in Irish society over the past ten years is the number of women at work.

Close to 60 per cent of women are working, as opposed to 43 per cent ten years ago. Many of these are mothers and, while they are better educated than their own mothers, they might not have the time to juggle homework, housework and keeping the sales targets on track.

These three factors argue for a significant change in our education system.

What is the point, for example, in getting rid of university fees if the majority of those who get that far come from families who can afford to send their kids to college in the first place? The real advantage in this would be if a lot of kids from poor backgrounds thrived in pre-school, primary school and secondary school so as to be in a position to go to college.

In Ireland, we have made enormous progress in this regard in the past few years, with university attendance almost doubling in 15 years, but there is still the problem of persistent underachievement in certain areas.

So if Dad doesn’t care about little Tommy’s maths and is more concerned about watching Celtic, or if mum is too knackered to contemplate reading with little Shannon, what should the state do?

Quite simply, the state has to invest more in the education of these children to replace lack of parental investment, because it is the state and society that will ultimately have to pay for the violence, crime and welfare dependence of these kids when they grow up.

Again, evidence from the United States (see the Perry Pre-school Project, www.geary.ucd.ie) shows that early intervention in pre-schools for poor kids and more active teaching of the very young yields enormous benefits.

Taking control of a toddler’s and young child’s education, telling them they are smart, encouraging them, motivating them, allowing them to use and develop their brains is eight times more beneficial than trying to sort things out later with programmes such as reduced pupil-teacher ratios, Fas job courses or prisoner rehabilitation programmes.

If we are to go down the road of more and more women in the workforce, and accept the CSO’s findings that only 1 per cent of Irish men describe themselves as full-time house husbands, there will be less time for helping kids with homework.

There will be less parental influence and among the underclass, no one will tell them that if they help their kids today, the benefits to the whole family in 15 years’ time will be enormous.

We should plough more state resources into education of both children and their parents, explaining that we are all in this together and the earlier we get the kids on the right track the better. This demands a revolution in the Department of Education.

At the moment we seem to be beguiled by fourth-level education – masters degrees and doctoral programmes and the like. This may well be necessary, but I suspect the enthusiasm is also being driven by seeing it as a product to be flogged to Chinese, Indians and others.

It is now time to use the education system actively as a part of social policy and, as away of preventing crime and disillusionment in 20 years’ time. After all, this is about the future of the country and it’s far too serious to be left to the sons and daughters of today’s teachers alone.


  1. PH

    If anyone finds the above article interesting, then you’d love the book, Raising Babies, should the under 3s go to nursery, by Steve Biddulph.
    In it he predicts that in 20/30 years we will treat our over use of creches the way we now treat smoking, ie look back and think my god what were we doing.
    He also laments the fact that at so many creches (book is based on the UK) top of the range cars are used to drop kids off at 730am and parents are sub contracting out the important job of parenting.

  2. Aidan

    Very good article David. All the research I have read shows that the more children are spoken to and read to the better they perform at school. Personally I think that a crech with highly trained professionals (a la Sweden or Finland) can provide a great environment but childcare in the rest of Europe is generally well behind. My wife minds our kids at the expense of her career but we made that choice because we want our kids to have the best start in life. I recently refused a chance to move toa betteter job because I didn’t want to move country. Overall you see that some people make choices that are good for themselves and others make choices for the children. Teachers and farmers seem to generally fall in the latter group. Wealth professionals often fall into the former but buy their way out of trouble with nannies and expensive schools. There is a big group out there like you say that doom their kids to failure from the start because they don’t necessarily even know how to help their kids. Reading to children is a major determinant of future success from everything I have read but there are many rich parents I know who don’t make this effort and less well off people who do. These are the things that make a difference and that is why states like Finland are a model that others want to copy.

  3. tony mc evoy

    Glad to see you have read “Freakeconomics” ………..

  4. Dan Hayes

    David & C0.:

    What kind of crap is this when
    you state that “that American research has shown shown that intervention in the education of a four-year old is more productive when spent in the education of a 14-year-old.”

    What the research has shown (as you very well know) is that intervention can give a
    “momentary and transitory” head start which quickly disappers with age, Of course this is all wrapped up with the disparity of blacks vs non-black IQs in America which stilll stands up despite the wishful thinking (hopes) of intellectualoids.

    And despite my somewhat accusatory tone – I am stilll trying to keep Ireland from its self-inflicted wounds, Of course as a Paleoconservative I should know bettter!

    Dan

  5. David Mc Williams

    Hi Tony…and the Freakonomics guys dubner and levitt have read Heckman, an he read Becker and he read Freidman and he read Hayek…it just goes on. everyone is just updating and adapting the pioneering work of other, best regards David

  6. Rita

    Great article yesterday. What we secondary teachers have always known.Some of us learned how to parent by observing the parenting given to our pupils. We learned what not to do.
    Parents bake the cake. Teachers can only hope to do the icing.
    The Geary research was interesting in what it said about parents taking over the teachers’ role in the Summer holidays. Visiting places like Pompeii, Stratford, Haworth Parsonage, the Yeats Country and Vinegar Hill brings what is done in school to life. Teachers are lucky in that the holidays allow them to live as humans should a propos their children. Would that all workplaces were so family friendly. This was what Betty Friedan proposed in her book ‘The Second Stage’ as long ago as the seventies.
    Making books a big part of childrens’ lives in the home is probably the biggest issue of all. Coincidentally there was a letter from Brenda Fricker in yesterday’s Sunday Times where she stated that one of the biggest shocks she got recently was when the daughter of a friend told her that she thought reading books was a waste of time.
    I also believe that narrative is important in arousing a child’s interest in in other times and other places, family narrative, parents’ and grandparents memories and the kind of response provoked by a question such as ‘ Why is there a lion and a unicorn up there?’ [The Custom House]Cicero said that those who know nothing of what happened before they were born are destined to remain forever children.

  7. I think the Geary study and the other ideas you propose here are quite intuitive. It’s hardly anything shocking to suggest a kid who has had a lot of intellectual stimulation from a caring, stable home environment turns out to be a good student.

    So – what are the lessons teachers learn from parents bad practice? Can they be published as a guide to best practice?

    I know my sister, a primary teacher, encounters 5 year olds who can’t mechanically understand how to handle a book. While in the same class there are already 5 year olds who can read surprisingly well. One could make a case for the first 4 years of upbringing being critical…

  8. Aidan

    @Rita
    I liked your comment very much. On the issue about books in the home I definitely notice that television has a very big undermining influence with that (actually a plus point for creches). With the choice of children’s’ channels like CBeebies or Nick Junior it is very easy to park the kids and not bother to read or otherwise engage with them. Personally I don’t think that any child will find books a waste of time if they are exposed to reading from a very young age. There are brilliant books for children by authors like Julia Donaldson and I am pretty sure that every child would enjoy these stories if the parents would take the time to read.
    In my direct environment I see two trends. Parents who are less educated parents tend to read much less to their children (I do know major exceptions though) and parents in double income families with career-oriented parent also read less. The parents who read most seem to be well educated parents who make career choices that put family first such as not choosing a job that involves a long commute but settling for less pay and no commute.
    One more thing I notice is that some parents seem to have a set limit like reading their child one book a day. At the same time the child might watch hours of television. In order to position reading strongly I believe that you have to have a more balanced split. Of course the same could be set for other activities like drawing, dancing, singing or role playing.
    It’s a struggle as a parent to make the effort to do these things but I am convinced that your child’s future is largely decided on what happens in the first six or seven years.

  9. Jonathan Benson

    Hi all,
    Interesting article. It reminded me of a documentary I had seen previously on feral children. Basically the documentary detailed the cases of several feral children and in particular it examined why some of them were never able to learn how to speak. The theory proposed to explain this was that the lingusitic part of the brain needs to be stimulated at a very young age in order to develop properly. Once a child reaches a certain age it is too late to start and the child will never be able to speak or communicate verbally. This would support the idea that early intervention in a childs development can have a profound effect. Anecdotal stories from friends working with children with learning difficulties often agrees with this.
    From an economics & social point of view I don’t seen how parents are going to be enticed out of the workforce to oversee the upbringing of their children. It is simply not affordable for most people on an average wage (30k amoung 2 adults & kids & a skyhigh mortgage). I also doubt that the government want mothers to give up work, quite the opposite. Therfore it looks like parenting will remain subcontracted out, as P. H. said in his posting. If this is the case then some radical changes in pre-schooling and creches will have to be considered. Anyone have any ideas on this?? Maybe pay parents a reward based on the academic performance of their 5 year old?? ;)

  10. Aidan

    Jonathon,
    I agree with what you are saying except that both parents working and a sky-high mortgage is a choice. It is always possible to make do with less but in Ireland most people don’t want to give up the lifestyle they aspire to or are accustomed to in order to look after their kids. In Holland you actually have the opposite phenomenon, the government wants more women to take career jobs and put the kids in the creche but the culture here is that women generally works part-time or not at all when the children are born. Here most of the political parties want to offer better childcare to be able to offer an acceptable substitute for parental care as they have in Denmark or Finland (at great cost to the taxpayer though).
    Aidan

  11. Ciarán Mc

    Aidan,
    I see your point about both parents working to pay a sky high mortgage being a choice. There is kind of social rat-race going on. Nevertheless, consider the family where the main earner can only find a job in Dublin say, or even in say Cork city. The average house price within an hour’s commute of the city centre is near 400k in Dublin. This requires a mortgage of more than 350k which is unaffordable to the vast bulk of one-income families, and indeed is out of reach for many two income families. Yes, both parents could move to The Bluestack Mountains in Donegal and live as the local bar tender or learn a trade. In reality though if one has invested one’s time and interest in a particular career, and wants to live in a city, then there isn’t the breadth of choice that your comment suggests.

  12. Billy

    I was with you up to this article. Now I think you are smoking crack.

    The notion that Irish education is any good is just that. Only a notion. It is good in the minds of the Not Invented Here folks but out in the wider world it is just another example of Irish folklore.

    We teach kids great ways of jumping through byzantine hoops but nothing about how their own brain or bodies work. Not allowed and “off the curriculum”

    We still teach them the revolutionary fodder of Irish and Religion. Neither of which is relevant to the modern age. A DeValeran notion of self sufficiency that was past its sell by date on inception. Immaculate I am sure.

    The children of teachers do well because they are well versed in nonsense and the adherence to illogical rules. Jumping through hoops is great if all you aspire to is to work for someone else.

    Instead of looking to the Americans for inspiration we need to look to and follow the Asian model. Korea in particular is light years ahead of Ireland as regards literacy.

    Irish education has been kidnapped and used as a political football since the foundation of the state. No attention has been paid to the end result except the bizzare and reaffirmed notion of a bilingual state. When the politics is taken out of education and the child inserted back in we will get progress. Until then we will be hobbling each and evey kid as per the norm up to now.

  13. Aidan

    Ciarán,
    You are right that houses are expensive in Dublin or indeed Cork. Renting is now relatively cheaper. My point is that a given family can live in say Dublin in a rented apartment and have no commute and more time for the family. People don’t do this because Irish people tend to want to own property at all costs even if it means living a major commute from their work in a housing estate on the edge of nowhere.
    Aidan

  14. Ciarán Mc

    Aidan,
    Your point is well taken. I lived in France for a while and home ownership wasn’t quite the obsession there that it is here – though of course most people would prefer to own their home. But one difference between France and Ireland is the level of protection that renters enjoy. In Ireland I certainly wouldn’t like to have two or three kids in my appartment and be at the mercy of the landlord. There have been some improvements in Ireland recently but there’s a long way to go. Besides, though some modern appartments are better, much of the older stock in Dublin was built with the mentality that these boxes are for young single people who don’t need the space or facilities to raise a family. I know this for I lived in some of Dublin’s appartments. Finally, though rents have softened recently, getting a place that avoids a commute in Dublin – i.e central – is quite expensive and for a given floor area would at least approach the cost of servicing a mortgage. Then one has to think of the longer term whereby one pays 14k a year for say 5 years and has absolutely no more security than before. When all is said and done, I think you can begin to see why families are seduced by getting a place of their own and taking the pain of commuting. If this issue is to be addressed it will require some long term thinking, huge planning and investment. In essence our cities and accommodation patterns need to be restructured. There is absolutely no sign that any of this is happening. The market is doing a very bad job of sorting this out and so some kind of government intervention is required to start to structure it in a way that delivers more sustainable results. Don’t hold your breath.
    All the best,
    Ciarán

  15. Frank

    What I would like to here is some theories as to why reading is so good for children and the counter why is TV so bad.
    It is something I have heard said many times but never a compelling reason as to why.

  16. David; interesting point. Can I add another dimension to this argument: I published an article in The Irish Times (15 December 2006) arguing that individualisation is arguably in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and may also be contrary to the Constitution. Lets not forget that individualisation, in whatever form, in the tax system today, imposes a tax penalty on one income married couples.

    When two income married couples are due to have their first child they must choose whether to leave one spouse in the home to mind that child; the government individualisation package means that those couples not only have to sacrifice one income, but also must pay more taxation. Is that fair? Is that government interference in the family sphere? I think it is.

  17. Ciarán Mc

    John,
    I read your article and this is indeed a very interesting take on the subject.
    For salaries in a range that is probably typical, however, I find that the economic incentive still favours the single income family if you compare two families with the same total income. For example, one-income family with kid total income 50k. They pay about 11% of earnings in tax and prsi. Another family with total income also 50k, let’s say in this case one earner is on 30k and another on 20k. Their tax burden is lighter for sure – but only marginally. They will pay a rate of between 9 and 10 percent on their total earnings. Not a huge difference. Then, take into account that this second income couple will also need to pay for childcare because both are working. So they still end up with less disposable income despite the fact that both are working. So the single income family in this case still wins. What if we take a one-income family earning only 30k. Well, they will already pay virtually no tax and will have no childcare costs.
    My figures are quite rough so please excuse them. And I see your point – the state puts single income families in a higher tax bracket. But if we were to create child-friendly, one-income friendly tax policies, who far should they go and what would be the economic consequences? Yes we’d reap a social benefit in better parenting (one hopes!) but if that resulted in a very tight labour market and an economic retreat, how do you balance one off the other?

  18. Brian

    comment removed at poster’s request

  19. Ciarán Mc

    Brian,
    Your points about the Gaelscoileanna and the religious interference in education are bang on.
    Also, I would agree that it’s a shame that the Irish education system has so little time for philosophy or ‘thinking’. And indeed speaking – for example public speaking. Though these are slowly getting better and transition year children get some exposure to presentation skills and so on.
    Having said all that – our writers continue to enjoy a good reputation abroad, so our literary capital seems to be replete.
    Regarding the Irish language – your comment is rather unfair. It is a minority language, has been since the foundation of the state, and so it’s a lot to expect that its tiny community produce works of world wide appeal. Nevertheless, Cré na Cille by O Cadhain, and the works of Mairtín O Direáin do earn a fair respect outside of Ireland. Unfortunately we failed to stop the decline of Irish – let alone revive it – and so the number of people who write in Irish is now absolutely minuscule. I would go so far as saying that, given that the Irish writing community is so utterly tiny, it is remarkable that it continues to produce any praiseworthy works at all. And yet somehow it does: This year for example a lovely book called, Fontenoy by Liam Mac Coil won the literary award at the Oireachtas Festival. Why we failed to stem the decline of Irish and the what is the significance of recent developments are debates for another day.
    In the main, however, I would fully agree that our education system needs reform.
    As a postscript – the question of articulacy in children or young adults is interesting. I wonder how much it depends on things outside the classroom, such as how good parents are at expressing themselves. Let’s not forget that mass education only ramped up in Ireland from the early 70s through to about 1990. (As free education introduced in 1967 rippled through the system). So Ireland contains a generation of parents now in their 60s where the vast majority did not complete 2nd level let alone 3rd level. When the present generation passes through, and their children grow up, perhaps we will see a positive change in terms of confidence and articulacy. None of this of course removes the need for reform and improvement in education.

  20. Aidan

    Ciarán,

    Your comment about the need for a broader educational focus made me think of something I was talking about with an English colleague yesterday. He was telling me that his son was interested in Asian languages and we were talking
    about the secondary schools in the Leiden area (where we both live and work).

    I was amazed to find that the public secondary school in the area I live in offers not only a bilingual education program (half of the subjects through Dutch, half through English) and offers Mandarin Chinese and Spanish as subjects.

    This is taken from the school website “Pushing the boundaries of communication – that is one of the characteristic educational features of Visser. Therefore students (and parents!) at our school learn Chinese. Speaking Chinese gives you a head start in the world of tomorrow. In the vision of the Visser ‘t Hooft Lyceum there are three world languages: English, Spanish and Chinese. Thus each of the three languages is taught at Visser. Specifically we mean Mandarin, as spoken by 850 million people.The Chinese lessons are given outside of the standard roster by trained teachers, who are either native speakers or near to that level.”

    The idea that a school would have such a modern philosophy and actually enact it is incredible for me but I guess that I am a typical product of the Irish educational production line where you learned to pass exams to get to university to get a good job.

    The growth of the Gaeilscoileanna in Ireland is a very positive move but you have to wonder why intermediate forms of education like the bilingual immersion programs in Holland or Canada are not being introduced. The vision of Irish politicians now seems to be to have a bilingual Ireland but how can that ever be achieved without active measures to achieve bilingualism.

    Aidan

  21. SpinstaSista

    I’m all for children becoming bi-lingual or even tri-lingual as early as possible. Like most people educated in Ireland, I learnt Irish from primary school level and any other languages were learnt at second level. Unfortunately languages were badly taught in my secondary school. The standard of Irish taught in 2nd year in secondary school was behind that taught in 6th class of primary school. I learnt French in secondary school and did night classes in German, but no matter how hard I work at these languages I will not have the fluency of someone who has been taught these languages from age 3 or 4.

    Our immigrants put us to shame in this area – most of them speak two or three languages. We Irish need to pull our socks up and teach languages properly from an early age. Learning Irish at primary level is good because it primes a child’s brain for learning languages, but we need to introduce languages other than Irish at an early stage.

    We need to cop on in Ireland – our communication abilities are poor, whether it is Irish people’s language skills or the availability of broadband and second generation internet connection. If we cannot communicate with the rest of the world, not matter how well we think we are doing now, we will get left behind in the medium to long term future.

  22. Ciarán Mc., you raise a valid point, however the differential may not be as insignificant as you think in a given case. Let me give you the following example based on one married couples’ situation that I encountered:

    He is earning 46k
    She is earning 20k

    Their combined income means they fall into the lower tax bracket (now 68k since the Budget). However, they have just had their first child and she has decided she wants to stay at home and mind the child. In that way they lose one income (20k pa). Now, because they are only a one income family some of his income falls into the higher rate for the first time. He pays the lower rate until 43k and then the higher rate on the remainder. PLUS they are afforded one less employee tax credit (1760k pa). To partially compensate she will receive a home carers allowance, I think that figure was EUR 770, from Budget 2006.

    The home carers allowance notwithstanding, their total income into the house has dropped to a point where she realises that she can’t afford to stay at home – she realises that she must work (and by all accounts was devastated on hearing this news)

    This couple are the losers of this taxation policy, and it hardly seems fair. However, other couples have lost out too, couples who are simply paying the higher rate of tax much earlier than they would be if the tax bands were applied in the same way. I’ve been asking economists to give me a figure since I published that Irish Times piece (perhaps David will assist) as I want to know what the total differential has been between married one income and married two income families since Budget 2000. One analyst said it was greater than 15k but he didn’t give me a final figure.

    Yes of course there is an argument the other way, that two income married couples must pay child care through the nose if they cannot afford to keep one spouse at home. In that way, looking back at the example above, the couple in the example will lose out regardless of which way they turn. On the one hand, she can stay at home and they have one less income and pay more taxation, or, on the other hand, they can both remain in employment in the greater economy and pay child care through the nose and run the risks outlined above in David’s piece.

  23. Ciarán Mc

    John,
    Good example.

    Another side of this is that over the last number of years childcare has moved up the political agenda. People have started demanding much more government support for childcare provision, something like they have I’m led to understand in Scandanavian countries. If the government were to act on this demand (so far there have only been token gestures) and were to provide say higer subsidies for the industry to make care cheaper, then in effect, they’d be subsidising further the double income couple. They’d be taking (more) tax from single income families and distributing it to double income families. It would be yet another policy which would bolster your argument about constitutionality. Even constitutional matters aside – one wonders how far we can go in this direction and what, as David points out, are the costs to society in terms of raising balanced children. The theoretical limit is that ALL families who can be twin incomes will be, but probably there’s a curve whereby the marginal return tapers off, let’s say at 85%. But at the moment we’re at I think 60%. The other aspect to this is that it is in some respects self re-inforcing. If most families are twin income then the purchasing power chasing the supply of housing is going to push out the one-income family, thereby giving another imperative for the second spouse to work.
    In any case, this is certainly an area that deserves our attention.

  24. eoin

    Brian is getting to be a bit of a joke, particularly with the same old sleeven comments against Irish language training. The American education system is useless, I have met university graduates who could not find significant European countries on the Map, or know their own history – nevermind the history of the rest of the world. heck, a large portion of the country cannot find the US on the map. Of course the Irish system is way better on history, English, Science, mathematics etc. we even get to write essays rather than multiple choice; anyone who does not believe that should try and get any graduate of a US high-school to complete a leaving cert exam – not a hope. In fact the American high school graduation exams are generally about 6th class level in Ireland, there being no standard exam, or exam at all in cases ( where the SAT is applied) it varies widely, and the only thing the US excels at is it’s ( very few) great third level education facilities, which are great by historical accident – Europe’s intellectuals decamped there en masse during the Nazi era, and after the 2nd world war. Prior to that the centre of intellectual power was Europe, particularly Germany. Many of the best facilities are dependent on European intellectuals and non-US students to maintain standards. Korea’s education system produce automatons.

    As for the “confidence” factor which is missing in Irish kids, that too is a product of sleeveenism. Nothing to do with the education system. In fact studies show that the brightest people underestimate their abilities ( aware of much brighter people they have read, or worked with) and the stupid and undereducated massively overestimate it. Or just watch the X-Factor, for an example of this in real life: people who have been brought up with the confidence to “believe in themselves” get to meet simon cowell, and illusions are dispersed.

    Lastly american teachers are far less well paid than Irish teachers, are less well educated ( a bachelors degree not always required), and from a lower stratum of society, and probably have a much lower IQ.

    In short everything Brian says is wrong.

  25. Catherine

    I am a woman/mother/teacher but I believe that the state now wants control over the little ones to brainwash them and to de-humanise them.There was a time when children were hugged when they fell, but not now with all the FEAR of abuse charges.Fear of showing love to children is very damaging to the little ones.They sense it.It confuses them.
    Take America the other day where a 4 yr old was given detention for hugging a teacher at the end of the day ..because he snuggled into her bosom.How utterly crazy is that???
    I took my children out of state education to avoid the catholic brainwashing and the state brainwashing too.I home educated.My son has his own company at 15 and my daughter is off to Uni next year. Oh…not in Ireland…..
    Teachers in America and Britain are the ones who cannot get much else as their standard is way lower than here by far.
    I do believe that the little ones NEED their mum full time at home till they are 4 years old in order to bond properly and be fully nourished by mum as nature intended.This way they are confident and well bonded internally.
    The state believes it should control children from birth like Britain and U.S.
    A mother who is working full time and keeping house and rearing children is exhausting hersef and is of little use to either her children,family or workplace.
    The Government sees women as a baby factory to create more people to pay tax.I saw it written in the paper recently where the minister was celebrating the large number of over 15 as they are the tax payers of the future.Nice to know what they think of us all then..slaves to the state.!!!!!
    When I di teach other children I did not keep to the curriculum strictly as all children are different. At lunch boys and girls learned to cook food using proper meat and veg etc.We also did lessons on paying bills,getting a flat,getting a job,etc.It was a poor area and the children had never been outside the country so we arranged for them all to go and experience Europe..so the incentive to learn French was ignited.
    Being a good teacher requires enormous energy to do the job right.It is a lot more than religion and exams.Neither of these prepare children for the bigger world.

  26. For anyone still tuning in to this page I want to draw your attention to an extended essay on individualisation entitled: Whisper the Dirty Word:’Individualisation!’ which can be read in full here http://www.johnpbyrne.ie/catalog.23.html

    Thank You

  27. Glen Quinn

    Hi John P Byrne,

    I read your article on individualisation and I completly agree with you. Individualisation is a Socialist concept and it is introduced first in order to bring in equal rights. It is a way of getting rid of marriage in order to bring in equal rights for everybody i.e. single people, couples not married, gay couples not married, couples married and gay couples marrried. Just look at the new bill of cohabitation that just came out. The government thinks that it is doing right but in the long term they are destroying society as the children will grow up to be in-human, not think much of human life, confused and they will have a different value system to us now.

    Also Napolean and Hitler were Socialist and nothing good has ever come from Socialism. I bought a DVD from the Imperial War museum which had an interview of Hitlers personal secretary. The interview was done in 1974 and in the interview she spoke of Hitler telling her that in less that 100 years (from 1945) there will be a new Socialist government that will become like a religion. (It scared the crap out of me). I reckon if you read Mein Kampf then you will see alot of similarity with Europe today that is why the book is banned in Europe!

    What amazes me most is that in revelation in the bible, the bible speaks of a country of empire as a beast. The beast is in-human and the beast laws brings about evil laws. I believe that all our laws should be based on our Christian principles. This would stop the following Socialist laws from coming about: Abortion, Euthenasia of old people, Euthenasia of handicapped children (Hitler also done this), Getting rid of marriage, saying that homosexual activity is the same as hetrosexual activity.

    Also Facisism got rid of the human concept and saw women as baby factorys in order to bring about a population boom. If you do a comparison on Facism in German in the 1930′s and compare it with Europe today you won’t see much of a difference.

    Also the Catholic church and most Protestant churchs (Anglicans, baptist, etc) have acknowledged that Napolean and Hitler were anti-Christs. Which means there form of government was also evil which today we know to be true. Also Gobbles was Hitlers speaker in which he spoke Highly of Hitler, in which Hitler was basically GOD. Now if you look at revelation in the bible it speaks of an Empire (Socialist government), the anti-Christ (Like Hitler) and the false prophet (Like Gobbles). Now how scary is that.

    The number of the beast 666, very simple. The bible tells us that if we reckonise the number of the beast then we won’t be fooled like the rest of the World. First of all 6 is mans number since GOD created man on the sixth day.

    First 6 :- The beast comes out of the sea. This descripes the evil empire since the empire is rising out of a sea of people. Since the empire is coming from people then it is man made.

    Second 6 – The beast rises out of the Earth. This is telling of the anti-Christ himself. Who will come in the form of a man.

    Third 6 :- This is another man who is the false prophet and power is given onto him.

    I don’t mean to get Biblical but as a scientist and a mathematician I can see alot of truth in what the bible says. I have never seen it before and it came as quite a big shock to me this year. Just look at the story of Sodam as an example of how bad laws desroyed there society (There society had full equal rights in that there was no distinction between homosexuals or hetrosexuals).

    The point that I’m trying to get at here is that in a proper society there must be limits. In that people will have freedom up to a limit and the same with equal rights.

    For example If I’m getting harassed by a neighbour all the time then it would be in my human rights to go to him and to kill him, since he is putting undue stress and strain on me. In a normal society this would be illegal but not in a society that has full equal rights this would be allowed.

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