The following e-mail has been reproduced with the kind permission of the author, who wanted to illustrate "how distructive the prejudices and politics of education are, how real education gets lost in this environment and how careful we should be when choosing whose hands we are going to put such responsibility":
I was one of the "Goats" seperated from the sheep by the eleven plus. When the exam was still under the influence of the Intelligence Test champion and class supremacist Burt (who invented researchers and falsified data to prove intelligence was inherited from parents with the right stuff).
My memory is of late 50's early 60's when I was in the top 10 in the class but spectacularly failed my eleven plus. The questions were alien to me . One intelligence test question had five bikes and asked "Which is the odd one out"? One was facing a different way, another was a penny farthing, one was a ladies bike, and one had the chain to the front wheel so would not work, the last one was the only one that was not odd in any way (perhaps that was why it was the odd one) it was just an insolvable conundrum to me. The other questions were just as enigmatic with many middle class and english references. In Scotland we did not play cricket, and as a working class kid I had never bought a Postal Order. The questions may not have required a knowledge of these but if you dont know anything about them, the scoring system or the pricing of postal orders, the subjects prevent you from answering. My teachers were shocked , my parents were shocked, and I have never recovered from the inferiority complex I aquired that day.
On reaching the secondary school (called Secondary Modern in England) the teachers and Head of the school realised right away that I should not be there. My results were almost 100% in everything and I was moved to the comprehensive BUT due to school politics they would not let me start in second year so I was now a year older than all my class mates which brought its own problems. Mixed results based on the teachers I arrived at the local High school and left with only few Highers. I aquired all the qualifications I required in colleges and training establishments . In my 40's I went to University and graduated Bsc(Hons) in Facilities Management.
My experiences mean I have been in most kinds of educational establishments in UK and so have seen all sides. My children are both graduates and though we value education we also know the biases and politics of the whole system. We never judge anyone on their academic qualifications.
I suppose we are bound to have this institutionalised class/national prejudice when we allow someone to draft "Intelligence tests" when their intelligence has never been tested and they are self appointed. What they will in fact produce is a "Do you think like me" test.
Recently on a TV quiz they asked "In which film did the actor have to co-star with an imaginary giant rabbit?" Well I thought of at least three films so I could not answer that. Failed again. (Johnney Darko, Roger Rabbit, Harvey)