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Comment Re:Oh, really? (Score 1) 1255

It also means that teachers are incentivised to focus their attention on children who are on grade boundaries. If you're a solid B student, there's no incentive to get you up to an A. If you're an A student, there's no incentive to really stretch you. If you're on the C-B or B-A border line, then helping get you across the line has a big return on investment for the teacher's ranking.

Comment Re:Oh, really? (Score 1) 1255

Parental involvement also correlates with parental wealth. The number of people with large amounts of inherited wealth is statistically irrelevant (they control a lot of the total wealth, but they're not a large percentage of the population). Once you factor those out, you're left with a middle class that is predominantly in that position because they have some kind of job that depends on their education and so are likely to value education highly. They're also most likely to be working a job (and not multiple jobs) that allows them enough time to engage with their child's education. Oh, and wealth negatively correlates with number of children, so they have more time per child.

Comment Re: Oh, really? (Score 1) 1255

Private and public schools in the UK have a very widely varying level of quality. I went to a public school that was consistently near the top of the league tables. The teachers varied between good and exceptional, labs and so on always had all of the equipment that they needed[1] and there was a large a variety of extracurricular activities to choose from outside. Students were required to take the Common Entrance Exam, and the pass mark put the line at something around the top 20% nationwide.

In contrast, there was a private school about 20 miles away that let in anyone who could pay the fees (and had very high fees). The main benefit of going there was that you got to meet other rich people. They consistently placed in the middle of the league tables, and were usually lower than the nearest comprehensive school.

[1] A lot of this was probably costing less than at state schools. Much of our lab equipment was over 20 years old, but they'd bought really good quality stuff back then and it showed no signs of needing replacement. Meanwhile, the state school where my mother worked at was buying cheaper equipment and didn't have anything over five years old because it wore out.

Comment Re: Oh, really? (Score 3, Informative) 1255

There's so much bullshit in your post that I don't know where to start replying:

You clearly and your mother clearly holds the children and parents in contempt.

I honestly don't know how you got that from reading the grandparent post. What he's saying about the low-income schools reflects large bodies of research (parental involvement in education is one of the largest determining factors in academic success). That's not regarding the students or parents with contempt, it's wanting what's best for the students and realising that it requires parental support.

The private schools understand that in their bones. They know that they either deliver a top quality education that meets the standards of the parents or they're out a customer.

Complete bullshit. The big difference between private and public schools is that private schools are allowed to turn away anyone that they want and they usually have more applicants than they have room for. I went to a public school in the UK (which is roughly equivalent to a private school in the US) and they periodically expelled people (or, rather, asked them to voluntarily leave so that they didn't have the expulsion on their record). My mother worked in a state school (the equivalent of a public school in the US) and the biggest sanction that they had was a week's suspension, which the pupil treated as a week-long holiday and then the school was required to take them back (at which point they'd be a week behind). Permanent expulsion was possible in theory, but it never happened.

Private schools make it clear to pupils that it's a privilege to be there. If the parents complain or if the students are disruptive, then the parents will be invited to have a chat with the headmaster, who will politely suggest to them that their child might be happier in a different school. They'll have no problem filling the space. They usually have waiting lists and so if they need to then they'll start calling people further down and ask if they're still interested in the place. If not, then they'll just wait for the end of the academic year and let in more people.

Comment Re:Oh, really? (Score 1) 1255

Part of the reason that school uniforms became unpopular was that they tend to be quite expensive. And this doesn't remove the social stigma if it's related to wealth: it's quite easy to tell who has the new uniform that fits well, and who has the second-hand one that almost fits. I don't remember anyone being teased for that at my school though, although people did get teased for having new shoes that were still shiny and not having the decency to get some mud on them on the way in...

Comment Re:Better than a hidden partition (Score 2) 555

So how do you boot the laptop to demonstrate that it's a real laptop? I've been asked to do that at a US border before (leaving, at the time). They didn't care what was on the laptop, but they did care that it was actually a laptop and not a bomb made to look like a laptop. Getting to the 'enter password' screen was enough for them.

Comment Re:Now, for the other angle, is this treason? (Score 1) 367

Those documents were compromised - by the NSA. I understand if you disagree, but I'm willing to give everyone the benefit of the doubt here and assume that Snowden didn't share the list with anyone else and The Guardian wasn't going to publish it. That means that in practical terms the British agents aren't actually at risk, and wouldn't have been at risk, although I certainly understand why the British government believes they are, and they legitimately could have been (if the British police can obtain the list from David Miranda, so can anyone else). Still, I believe their intention was to publish a story that this information had been obtained by the NSA, not publish the information itself.

Comment Re:wow (Score 2) 367

Considering that the US has been, in recent years espousing the theory that cyber-attacks should be treated as real acts of war, suitable for real retaliation with real weapons, I would say it's pretty terrifying.

I wonder if it has occurred to anyone that the NSA's actions in other countries could be construed as acts of war....

Comment Re:wow (Score 1) 367

actually that was a DoD initiative in 2007. now there are host-based security system clients on every computer to keep USB mass storage disabled and attempts to use it logged. doesnt help when you boot into a livecd, though.

Apple no longer makes computers that have optical drives. How long do you think it will be before the rest of the industry follows suit?

(Those who need them can of course still connect external optical drives.)

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