Second of BUP, Melchor, my Literature teacher at the Claret school of Segovia, a center at that time private, asked its 30 students the most suitable date to take an exam. Some preferred Monday and others Thursday. Since there was no agreement, Melchior had a brilliant idea, since it was undemocratic. He said: “The date is decided by good students, those who are going to suspend do not have the right to vote”. And that’s how the good students, among whom of course I was, we voted on Monday, we voted on Thursday, we voted, in short, the best for everyone.
I have remembered this set when trying to digest without too many spasms the educational headline of September: the Ministry of Education has decided to eliminate the exams of recovery in ESO, acronyms that now cover, among other things, what was, in effect, second to BUP before. I understand that if Paquito, the son of the wealthy butcher from Sepúlveda, my partner at the time, failed, predictably, Literature with Melchor, Melchor would no longer give him a new exam, to be carried out in September, but simply Paquito would go to third of BUP graciously approved or, very exceptionally, I would repeat the course, which should be considered a major failure of the system.
The ministerial occurrence indicates that students “with difficulties” they must be treated with affection. If they suspend, the problem is temporary. Obviously, no student fails because he does not study, despises knowledge or has other plans, such as inheriting his family’s network of butcher shops. Finally, it is never suspended knowingly and with total indifference, but against one’s will and in a very painful way. Reducing the pain that suspense causes to students who fail does not care is a bit the reason why we are in education removing Rome with Santiago.
A bad student is almost always a bad person
I don’t like bad students. I have, in fact, preemptive contempt for them. A bad student is almost always a bad person. If I remember —as I am forcing myself to do right now— my educational itinerary, from the public school in my town, where we were nine students in class, to the faculty of Information Sciences of Madrid, passing, as I told you, through the Claret school in Segovia, and I think of which students harassed others, beat the weak, sabotaged coexistence, violated the girls and poisoned the routine passing of classes, almost all those who come to mind were students who failed. I don’t recall any student getting all A’s then punching a smaller boy out in the yard. I do not remember any brilliant student who was not, moreover, polite and kind. Bad students thought they were very cool, as you will remember; they were cool, for repeating the language of the time. But something that happens over the years and the courses and the degrees, of life, in short, is that all those who enjoyed a certain aura consistent with their contempt for studies, of a certain popularity as a result of their impunity to the time to humiliate others, they ended up, if you came across them on the street, turned into caricatures. No one was amused anymore.
It does not escape me that the measure of the ministry stands on the Dickensian myth of the poor or family-damaged student who, with everything he has at home, cannot face examinations and intellectual demands in a fair condition. This to believe that the neighborhood childrenof the goatherd, of the seamstress, they don’t know how to studyThey don’t let them study at home, they can’t get A’s because there are drunkards all morning under their window it is the moral alibi of a measure that exactly benefits the other children. There were no poor people at the Claret. The poorest was me. And bad students didn’t care to study not because they were poor, but because they were rich. Not because they thought that studying would not lift them out of poverty, but because they knew that failing wasn’t going to get them out of wealth. For no child is education such an incalculable gift as for a child whose parents did not go to college or cannot make ends meet. Not only is the future better than that of her parents that that girl works for in school, it is also her self-esteem, built outstanding to outstanding. Now, with this measure typical of cavemen, it is left to the fate of the cloister if a failing child can pass the grade, based on ridiculous “favorable expectations of recovery.” I translate it for you: outright school corruption.
Reading ‘Ruptura’ is like watching tap water come out: colorless, odorless and tasteless
But let’s jump to the university, where the destruction of education, thanks to the minister Manuel Castells, it seems even more entertaining. Haloed by Berkeley and several instant catchphrases, you have to read ‘Ruptura’ (Alliance), his book about nothing, to know what kind of intelligence, outside of the promotional myth, directs the portfolio of Universities. Very limited intelligence, I already tell you. ‘Ruptura’, in short, shows us a character without ideas, own cultural references or exciting intellectual flavors. Reading ‘Ruptura’ is like watching tap water come out: colorless, odorless and tasteless.
Reviewing what nonsense against good students has been imposed in the last two years, I found Manuel Castells defending that it is possible to cheat in exams or, in any case, that cheating during a test is not an academic offense. “It is a reflection of an old authoritarian pedagogy”, this said in May 2020 about copying and, now, to start September with enthusiasm, the measure has taken shape. Imagine what carrerón: be able to pass ESO suspending until you reach university, where you can graduate by copying.
The university, with Castells, is one of the bad students
Manuel Castells imitates with true precision the figure of the ‘hippie’ middle guy who comes home and just wants the kids to like you. He gives them candy, gives them chocolate chip cookies, defends them to their parents on every occasion. Children can come to think that they are better than their parents, of course. Then it turns out that his average ‘hippie’ uncle is a millionaire and would not know how to live with a child for more than the two hours that his visits usually last.
The minister, that is, always takes, according to him, on the side of the students. “The university belongs to the students,” he proclaims. No. The university, with Castells, is one of the bad students, which is not the same. It is as if the Ministry of Equality were the rapists.
Thus, cheating on an exam, one of the most miserable intellectual tricks among certain students, is now a trifle of no importance. The vision that has been given of this fraud is like a Tony Leblanc cheating a couple of pesetas from some Swedes. Man, that is not so bad, that it is a glance at the partner, that “copying well” is “intelligence test” (sic!).
Sometimes I have the feeling that Manuel Castells thinks he speaks for complete idiots. Finally, he believes that a phrase like “copying well is a test of intelligence” is going to dislodge us, we have never heard anything like this, comes the Modern messiah to give us the good news plagiarist. Kenneth Goldsmith, the American writer, has a whole creative writing workshop where students should not do anything other than plagiarize. It’s great. But that does not make Castells’s measure less ridiculous and immoral.
Because you have to think, not about the bad student who thinks he can pass by copying his partner; you have to think about that partner. The student who has studied all night and is perfectly prepared to pass the Semiotics of Mass Communication exam, Why does she have to put up with a jerk who can’t stop looking at what she writes? Why do you have to worry about hiding your own standout sheets or, conversely, allowing someone else to copy them for you? Why does the university regulation protect the one who copies to the detriment of the tranquility of the student who studies?
They are those rogues, let’s not fool ourselves, the corrupt of now
I remember that those who copied at the university had a very clear philosophy of their behavior, mostly in what was known as “giving the change” (having a topic written and, if it fell, take it out already written and deliver it as if it had just been written in class). His idea was (literally, I still remember): “If you don’t copy, it’s because you don’t have balls.” It is, friends, so sad to go back 20 years to see how a whole minister of Universities of today agrees with the rascals of yesterday; What are they, those rascals, let’s not fool ourselves, the corrupt ones of now.