Your headline article '˜It's time to help our struggling white boys' (Star, November 16), made for very interesting and thought-provoking reading, when read in conjunction with Nancy Fielder's editorial column.
A new report said the situation is ‘worsening’, especially for boys and those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Stephen Betts, chief executive of Learn Sheffield, is quoted as saying that ‘the problem is a national one and not something just specific to Sheffield’.
How has this problem arisen? As a retired citizen with no connection to modern-day educational think tanks and their highly paid leaders, may I offer a personal assessment of the situation?
In my 1942 – 1955 schooldays, at primary/ junior and secondary scholarship level, there was a much more disciplined regime – particularly in the high school which I attended. The teachers were respected by the children and parents. They all wore gowns and their word was law in the class. Children who misbehaved were punished appropriately in those days! If a problem arose with a child their parents would often be contacted by the school to discuss how best to resolve the matter. When this was decided the errant child would have to face the ‘wrath’ of their parents as well as their teacher.
Sadly for better or worse those days have long gone. To me, Society has seen a gradual erosion of moral and family values since my schooldays. Teachers today often dress informally, they are restrained from exerting their full authority with their pupils for fear of being taken to task by school authorities and parents for the way they deal with the misbehaving pupil – a far cry from yesteryear when they had the full support of parents and school boards in performing their duties.
In the 1940-50s children in the north of England often came from disadvantaged homes in the sense that many families had very low incomes and many of the benefits of today were unavailable then. Single parent was an unknown term then. In most families the husband was the breadwinner and the wife ran the house and looked after the children. Children respected their policeman on the beat, their teacher, clergyman and doctor – all with the full support of their parents.
Nowadays, in many cases children are being conceived and brought up in one-parent families, living on welfare benefits. While children may be disadvantaged from living in such an environment, it does not excuse the parent showing affection and discipline in bringing them up to respect the moral values often sadly lacking in today’s society.
Black or white? Could it be that black and ethnic minority families today have a higher sense of moral values than their white counterpart, when it comes to the upbringing of their children and their school education?
Busk Meadow. Sheffield S5
Jumping on a train
The Green Giant poses an intriguing question, namely that if he is travelling on a train at 100mph and jumps up into the air why does he not land further back down the carriage. Without delving into Einstein’s Theories of Relativity I would conjecture that the answer is as follows.
While in contact with the carriage floor you would be travelling at the same speed as the train. When you jump you would continue to travel at the same speed unless acted upon by a force in the opposite direction, (Newton’s First Law of Motion).
The only available opposing force to slow you down would be friction from air resistance. If the carriage is sealed this would be very small as the air would be moving forward at the same speed as you are. You would therefore slow down only imperceptibly, if at all, in the fraction of a second it takes to land. Note that the height you can jump and hence the time you are in the air is severely restricted by the height of the carriage.
If on the other hand you were to attempt this acrobatic manoeuvre on an open handcart travelling down the same line at the same speed but with the wind in your face you would likely end up on the track bed.
As an afterthought, if while you were in the air you were to throw a heavy suitcase forwards with considerable force then there would be an equal and opposite force driving you backwards so that you would indeed land further back, (Newton’s Third Law of Motion).
Incidentally, all of this reminds me of something my dear father once told me. He explained that in order to fly all I needed to do was jump into the air and, before I landed, jump again. After spending considerable time in the vain attempt I eventually gave up and complained to him that it did not work. His considered response was that I was not jumping high enough.
Bear on show in city centre
How sad that this mighty eight foot replica is all we may have remaining to show our future generations .
This majestic polar bear is in danger of extinction, that is if our planet keeps on warming and melting its natural habitat.
A cramped zoo situation will hardly be a kind future
Diane Hakala, aged 73
Use the dog bins
Re the letter from Lyn Kempton about dog poo. I come across dog bags thrown into the hedge on the Spider Park path on a regular basis.
Others decide to let them do it on the path so we can walk in it.
We have two dog bins and one ordinary, all close together.
I pick up every time with our dog and bin it.
If I am nowhere near the bin it goes in ours.
Now it’s official
Now it’s official, we are up with Leeds and Birmingham, Doncaster is in the top three dirtiest places in England, something we already knew.
2003 was when our council pledged to get control of the filth.
Now we have this unwanted attention, the big question is, “What is going to be done about it?”
I have stated time after time we did not have the problem until Mr Blair opened the floodgates to the EU block and then the landlords jumped on the wagon filling houses with tenants who brought their culture to our streets. Sorry to say, but that’s how it is.
Locate the handbrake
Concerning your letters on brake lights dazzling following traffic, can I suggest drivers have a look round and locate the handbrake which they will find easily accessible from the drivers seat.
Also, I might be mistaken but when taking your driving test aren’t you supposed to apply this piece of equipment when you stop?