Seeing red over yellow belly usage | Letter | Education

Writing about spineless cabinet ministers, Polly Toynbee calls them yellow bellies (This revenge reshuffle shows absolute power resides in No 10, Journal, 14 February), thereby risking offence to all the countless Guardian readers from Lincolnshire. Perhaps she doesn’t realise that “yellowbelly” is a title that some Lincolnshire people wear with pride, deriving, so it is claimed, either from the yellow waistcoats of a Lincolnshire regiment or from the underparts of the frogs that were native to the Lincolnshire Fens. It…

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Don’t Fear Summer Lee. Fear the Devil’s Bargain Labor Leaders Are Willing to Make Opposing Her – Education Article

 Cancer or unemployment.   That’s the choice Pennsylvanians are being asked to make in 2020.   Do we allow hydraulic fracking to continue to destroy our environment and increase our risk of cancers and other debilitating illnesses?   Or do we clean things up and risk losing jobs?   Some labor leaders seem willing to chose the former on behalf of their constituencies.   That’s why the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council (PA AFL-CIO) voted to oppose the re-election of…

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Two-thirds of Boris Johnson’s cabinet went to private schools | Politics

Nearly two-thirds of prime minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet were privately educated, according to research. The proportion of ministers who went to independent schools is twice as high as Theresa May’s 2016 cabinet, at 64% compared to 30% according to the social mobility charity Sutton Trust. In David Cameron’s 2015 cabinet, the rate was 50%. The figures mean that ministers in the prime minister’s cabinet are nine times more likely to have attended a fee-paying school for all or part of…

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Let’s call time on unpaid electronic labour with a legal right to disconnect | Will Stronge | Opinion

Too many of us know the feeling: you sign a contract for a nine-to-five job, but you find yourself answering emails, texts or even phone calls well into the evening. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like the working day ever truly ends: the very thought – or threat – of an email pinging into your inbox means your free time isn’t really free at all. This shared experience makes Rebecca Long-Bailey’s recent announcement of a proposed policy enshrining the “right to…

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Alarm at Ofsted-style plan to rank universities by graduate earnings | Education

Government plans to introduce Ofsted-style rankings for universities, with courses that produce lower salaries labelled as failing, would punish institutions outside London and threaten arts and humanities courses, worried academics are warning. In November the Conservative manifesto set off alarm bells in universities by promising to tackle “low-quality courses”. Now senior academics close to Westminster say the government is pressing on with this in a plan that could replicate the four Ofsted categories used for schools, flagging up university courses…

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The national curriculum barely mentions the climate crisis. Children deserve better | Fiona Harvey | Education

There were toddlers in prams, babies in carriers, wrapped up against the cold, young children clutching placards and teenagers, thousands of them, banging drums and chanting protests. The energy and sense of urgency among the 500,000 climate marchers through Madrid at the last UN climate talks in December stood in stark contrast to the stalled, static and bloodless conference itself, where talks on the arcane technicalities of carbon markets fell apart amid acrimony. Schoolchildren have led the way in climate…

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Pupils draft their own climate bill as anxiety grows over lack of guidance for schools | Education

Like many young people, Joe Brindle, 17, is scared for the future because of the climate crisis. He is, he says, “angry about the injustice that is allowing the most vulnerable people in the world to suffer from the actions of the richest and most powerful”. So Brindle, who is preparing for his A-levels in Devizes, Wiltshire, decided to do something. On top of his studies, he founded a campaign group, Teach the Future, which has spent the last few…

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Humanities are not the right courses to cut | Letters | Education

Catherine Fletcher is completely correct to warn about the damage that current policies – not only in universities but also in schools – are doing to the humanities (We’re in a mess and we need the humanities more than ever, Journal, 5 February). But her warning comes much too late. As I and other scholars have shown, the rot started with the 1985 government green paper which declared that the fundamental purpose of higher education was to serve the economy.…

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There Are No Bernie Bros, Just Diverse Supporters Being Made Into What They’re Not – Education Article

 It’s time to call the whole “Bernie Bros” phenomenon exactly what it is – racist, sexist, homophobic propaganda.     I don’t mean that Bernie Sanders’ supporters are any of those things.     I mean that the term used to lump us all together is.     There is no monolithic group of angry straight men backing the Vermont Senator’s bid for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020. Nor was there in 2016.    A substantial portion of…

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Give people right to ignore work emails at home, says Long-Bailey | Politics

Rebecca Long-Bailey has called for workers to be given the right to ignore work emails and messages outside working hours to end the “24/7 work culture” and protect mental health. The Labour leadership candidate said she would bring new ideas to the party, having worked on her policy positions for four years. Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Long-Bailey, the MP for Salford and Eccles, defended the manifesto Labour fought on in December’s election, saying it contained “some of the most transformative…

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PPE: the Oxford degree that runs Britain | Education

Monday, 13 April 2015 was a typical day in modern British politics. An Oxford University graduate in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE), Ed Miliband, launched the Labour party’s general election manifesto. It was examined by the BBC’s political editor, Oxford PPE graduate Nick Robinson, by the BBC’s economics editor, Oxford PPE graduate Robert Peston, and by the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, Oxford PPE graduate Paul Johnson. It was criticised by the prime minister, Oxford PPE graduate David…

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Attainment gap widens between disadvantaged pupils and their peers | Education

Ministers have said more must be done to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils in England, after last summer’s exam results showed the gap between children from poor families and their better-off peers had widened further. A breakdown of GCSE results issued by the Department for Education (DfE) showed the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others increased for the second year in a row. The introduction of tougher exams appear to have halted the improvement seen in previous years. “The…

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Gov. Wolf Proposes Saving $280 Million a Year in PA With Charter School Reform – Education Article

    Charter schools waste taxpayer money.   Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf proposes we stop wasting that money by holding charter schools as accountable as the state’s authentic public schools.   The Democratic governor made his most recent proposal yesterday as part of his 2020-21 budget address.   It’s a common sense proposal that only seems revolutionary because officials have been so blinded with school privatization fantasies.   Charter schools are funded with tax dollars but can be run by…

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Some MPs enjoyed a New Labour education. Do they know how lucky they were? | Fiona Millar | Education

The first stage of the Labour leadership election is drawing to a close and it is hard to dredge up enthusiasm for a contest marked by low energy, too many elephants in the room, and ambivalence – not least towards the last Labour government. The need to appeal to Corbynite members means the Blair-Brown era is at best framed as an equivalent success story to the Corbyn years, or at worst a continuation of Thatcherite policies, as the Labour MP…

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Cambridge sociologist’s visa fight ‘sends shockwaves’ through universities | Education

The UK is “open to global talent”, the government declared last week, with a new visa designed to woo the best overseas researchers. But angry academics say their protests about the Home Office’s “shocking” refusal to grant residency to Dr Asiya Islam, an “unequivocally superb” Indian sociologist at Cambridge University, have fallen on deaf ears. Senior academics warn that unless the government reins in its aggressive application of immigration rules, talented international researchers will not want to come to the…

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Skills must be central to budget if the country is to be ‘levelled up’ | Letters | Education

If the chancellor really wants to improve training for skills (Javid to back skills as key to ‘levelling up’ plan, 31 January), he inherits from a long line of politicians who tried to change Britain’s stubborn failure in this area. And it’s not just the disparities between regions in the UK; we are also persistently behind other advanced industrial nations. Even the 1964 Industrial Training Act, which was probably the most ambitious attempt, has been seen as a failure. The…

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