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The Leaving Cert just isn't fair ... the n again, neither is real life

THE Leaving Cert results have re-started the old debate as to whether or not the exam is relevant to modern life.

There's an easy answer: no. In almost no adult setting do you need vast quantities of rote-learned data. The exam just reflects the utter uselessness of school.

Humanity got on dandy for millenia without organized schools. That was until the industrial revolution and the wide availability of printed texts brought a requirement to have a workforce that could read, write and add.

Since then we've totally lost the run of ourselves and now all support a system wherein millions of man-hours are expended teaching data that isn't needed to students who don't want it.

There is a second, wider question about the Leaving Certificate though. Is it a good way to measure student performance? The answer to that, oddly, is yes.

Adult life in capitalist states tends to reward combinations of three things - hard work, brains and luck. And that's exactly what the Leaving Cert measures.

You don't have to be a hard-working lucky genius, but if you fail at one of them, you'd better be able to compensate with the others. Which is how life tends to work.

So does the Leaving Cert actually qualify students for anything? Not really. Does it measure useful knowledge in their heads? Not so much.

Does it subject them to the same assessment of luck, brains and hardwork that will define their adult lives?

Unfortunately, yes.

We get it, John

John Bruton created bit of a stir with his comments that 'credulous' people (i.e. us) will believe that bankers were responsible for the economic crash.

The thrust of his argument being that the factors in play were much more complex and the culprits much more varied that the masses grasp.

Bull. We get it. Bankers did silly things. Regulators failed to stop them.

Politicians didn't care and most of the rest of us raced to grab the cheap money that was flowing.

That ain't complex. And bankers were unquestionably at the centre of it. If a pilot stalls a plane, we don't need to understand the Bernoulli principle to grasp that the guy at the controls made a balls of it.

Likewise, we don't need to understand CDO's, mortgage-backed securities and wholesale funding to see that something was rotten in the heart of the banking system.

The difficulty we all have is not understanding what went wrong.

The difficulty we have is getting access and insight into the current operation of a global system designed to be opaque to the common man.

And never has there been a better indication of that opacity that the former leader of the Irish people and representative of all EU citizens talking to elite lawyers in private meeting in a Manhattan club.

That's the problem right there. We can understand the system just fine. But we're only allowed see inside it when an explosion takes the roof off.

Few men have the access that John Bruton has to the purveyors of power.

Maybe for he should spend some time explaining them to us, not the other way round.

Pure class Kim, pure class


Kim Kardashian (left) continues her drive to be the classiest person on the planet. She was on a US TV show when host Andy Cohen asked if he could 'take a selfie with [her] ass?'

Normal response - 'No. Get away from me you misogynistic creep'. Kim Kardashian response 'of course!'

She then stood up and turned around so he could crouch and take a picture of himself and her bottom.

Pure class.


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