New Deputy Mayor Points Finger At Teachers

By noel Last edited 119 months ago
New Deputy Mayor Points Finger At Teachers

By not taking responsibility for the violent crime and anti-social behaviour of their pupils, teachers are merely ignoring their own mistakes, according to London’s new Deputy Mayor, Ray Lewis. In a statement guaranteed to rile the National Union of Teachers, Mr Lewis told a meeting on street violence that "schools are the only businesses which blame their customers for their own failings".

Having been appointed by Boris Johnson to help cut violent conduct on Monday, Lewis has wasted no time in wading into the debate over who is culpable for London’s youth crime. Citing a "monumental unwillingness to look in the mirror and admit failures", he insisted London’s schools are too concerned with their reputation, and should instead concentrate more attention on attempting to help aggressive students.

A clear indication that Boris’s promise to cut to the core of the causes of violent crime was not half-hearted, the ex-director of the Eastside Young Leaders' Academy and former prisoner governor took an especially hard line on the teaching of boys, claiming that "schools are failing to provide education fit for males, let alone black males".

Black males are further let down by what he sees as a misrepresentation of pupils in a disproportionate number of white, and especially female, teachers:

The presence of female teachers who don't look like the boys in their care, let alone boys of colour, is unhelpful. Males have a different psychology to girls.

After the transport boozing ban yesterday, and today’s other news that Boris is to meet New York mayor Michael Bloomberg to discuss zero tolerance crime measures, it seems the quiet start to his tenure many were predicting isn’t holding true.

Image courtesy of Zach Bulick's photostream.

Last Updated 09 May 2008


Wait, what? So in a 45-minute Maths class that is disrupted by one naughty child, a teacher is supposed to ignore the other 30 children in the class and sit down and have an earnest chat about Proper Values with said offender? Oh, wait, I get it, teachers can do all this behaviour coaching in their spare time, like lunchtimes and after school when they are planning lessons and doing marking and completing admin forms. Uh, what? Never mind the fact that the kids Mr Lewis wants to focus on are often the ones who threaten their educators and fellow pupils with violence at the drop of a hat.

I am not a teacher, but I know the kind of pressure most of them are under. And while I agree that schools must instil a sense of decency and discipline in children, passing this burden onto teachers seems remarkably unfair. And what about the parents?

Incidentally, his remarks on the preponderance of white female teachers leading to problems with black male students seem implicitly to blame the white female teachers for both their sex and their colour. Which doesn't really help matters.

I hope Mr Lewis's future pronouncements are rather more helpful than this one.

Amanda Farah

Yeah, it's definitely the teachers. Totally not the parents or peer pressure or bad examples from their every day lives.

"it seems the quiet start to his tenure many were predicting isn’t holding true."

But it is a quiet start. What we have here is two days of hot steam with no substance. We all know an alcohol ban on the tube will achieve nothing, and that blaming violent crime on any single problem is gross simplification.

Two tabloid pleasing headlines, no action required. Boris presents the illusion of strength without making any concrete promises.

I predict there'll be plenty more hot air over London this summer.