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Exam System Is "diseased And Corrupt"


bogbrush
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I just feel sorry for all the bright, hard working kids who have been chewed up and spat out by the system.

They are likely to end up spending most of their lives doing low paid, soul destroying jobs knowing they deserved better.

If you were lucky enough to avoid this fate, then I am very happy for you

but to deny that other people try their hardest but get nowhere because the system is rigged against them is naive IMO.

:blink:

Look G_O, I'm not Tony Robinson espousing some lame self-help stuff, honest.

I just think there are a few things worth keeping in mind;

* if you give up you definitely lose, so trying is always better than not. The worst you can end up is the same.

* don't externalise accountability, it saps will

* don't externalise the authority over your value, who died and left them in charge?

* be independent of mind and opinion

* remember you're dead a long time and regrets are poison

* don't expect to win all the time

* wasting time can be fun

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Look G_O, I'm not Tony Robinson espousing some lame self-help stuff, honest.

I just think there are a few things worth keeping in mind;

* if you give up you definitely lose, so trying is always better than not. The worst you can end up is the same.

* don't externalise accountability, it saps will

* don't externalise the authority over your value, who died and left them in charge?

* be independent of mind and opinion

* remember you're dead a long time and regrets are poison

* don't expect to win all the time

* wasting time can be fun

You are one of my favourite posters actually and I don't really understand why people here get so defensive if someone doesn't agree with them.

My kids are all way above average intelligence and work hard, but at A level, so far 2 of them only managed to get 2 A's and 1 B.

If A levels are getting easier and easier then there has to be a reason why they didn't get 3 A's and A*'s ?

All my experiences point to the state education system being not fit for purpose - which is what the thread is about

So I'm not sure why everyone is getting rattled

:)

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You are one of my favourite posters actually and I don't really understand why people here get so defensive if someone doesn't agree with them.

My kids are all way above average intelligence and work hard, but at A level, so far 2 of them only managed to get 2 A's and 1 B.

If A levels are getting easier and easier then there has to be a reason why they didn't get 3 A's and A*'s ?

All my experiences point to the state education system being not fit for purpose - which is what the thread is about

So I'm not sure why everyone is getting rattled

:)

I didn't intend to give that impression, written medium and all that.

I agree on the state education system, the only thing I'd say is to avoid drawing conclusions like "failure" from it's judgement. Life's hard enough without empowering some knobster to that extent. If your kids are sincere, hard-working, independent of mind and good company they'll always be ok.

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If they didn't give up many would just focus on one of the winner take all careers like football, music, acting, drug dealing, etc.

But, even then, they are doomed to failure because so many young people are oblivious to how skilled and how much work it takes to get anywhere in these careers.

Look at it this way, you need maths to be a drug dealer. You can't be innumerate and be a successful drug dealer; you won't make any decent money.

And music ... it's even worse in that industry. if you can't play an instrument, if you didn't go to drama or art school, if you don't have family legacy, if you aren't trained for that profession at some level, forget it. X-factor and other talent shows cover this up something chronic: Leona Lewis? Trained soprano. Alexandra Burke? Her mother's Melissa Bell, the former Soul II Soul lead singer. Even Subo took singing lessons from a vocal coach back in the day, and sang formally in a choir for years.

When I used to teach secondary, inevitably some young lad would bring up Tupac Shakur, and "thuglife", and "I'm gonna be like Tupac". And I used to think that was the biggest fraud ever committed on young people ever ...because Tupac was an Baltimore School of Arts alumni who took Steinberg poetry and writing classes. If he was a "gangster", he was a very weird kind of gangster that had danced the Mouse King in The Nutcracker.

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But, even then, they are doomed to failure because so many young people are oblivious to how skilled and how much work it takes to get anywhere in these careers.

Look at it this way, you need maths to be a drug dealer. You can't be innumerate and be a successful drug dealer; you won't make any decent money.

And music ... it's even worse in that industry. if you can't play an instrument, if you didn't go to drama or art school, if you don't have family legacy, if you aren't trained for that profession at some level, forget it. X-factor and other talent shows cover this up something chronic: Leona Lewis? Trained soprano. Alexandra Burke? Her mother's Melissa Bell, the former Soul II Soul lead singer. Even Subo took singing lessons from a vocal coach back in the day, and sang formally in a choir for years.

When I used to teach secondary, inevitably some young lad would bring up Tupac Shakur, and "thuglife", and "I'm gonna be like Tupac". And I used to think that was the biggest fraud ever committed on young people ever ...because Tupac was an Baltimore School of Arts alumni who took Steinberg poetry and writing classes. If he was a "gangster", he was a very weird kind of gangster that had danced the Mouse King in The Nutcracker.

Great stuff! You're dead right that the stories of success are about as damaging as the culture of hopelessness, and thanks for those details because I didn't know them.

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I didn't intend to give that impression, written medium and all that.

I agree on the state education system, the only thing I'd say is to avoid drawing conclusions like "failure" from it's judgement. Life's hard enough without empowering some knobster to that extent. If your kids are sincere, hard-working, independent of mind and good company they'll always be ok.

Well yes, that's fair enough

but I really don't see other people's kids as failures - I see them as having been failed by the system

And I also accept that this does not mean they will inevitably have unhappy lives, but having done miserable, soul destroying jobs myself for 25 years I do worry about their future.

As for my own kids I am trying to help them get the best start, but I have told them nothing is guaranteed - a good degree from a good university does not necessarily guarantee success these days.

At the end of the day - if they don't achieve what they hope and are unhappy what do I say to them then?

Do I tell them they should have worked harder or been more positive?

:unsure:

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But, even then, they are doomed to failure because so many young people are oblivious to how skilled and how much work it takes to get anywhere in these careers.

Look at it this way, you need maths to be a drug dealer. You can't be innumerate and be a successful drug dealer; you won't make any decent money.

And music ... it's even worse in that industry. if you can't play an instrument, if you didn't go to drama or art school, if you don't have family legacy, if you aren't trained for that profession at some level, forget it. X-factor and other talent shows cover this up something chronic: Leona Lewis? Trained soprano. Alexandra Burke? Her mother's Melissa Bell, the former Soul II Soul lead singer. Even Subo took singing lessons from a vocal coach back in the day, and sang formally in a choir for years.

When I used to teach secondary, inevitably some young lad would bring up Tupac Shakur, and "thuglife", and "I'm gonna be like Tupac". And I used to think that was the biggest fraud ever committed on young people ever ...because Tupac was an Baltimore School of Arts alumni who took Steinberg poetry and writing classes. If he was a "gangster", he was a very weird kind of gangster that had danced the Mouse King in The Nutcracker.

That's the reality, but for the below average kid out there they see no chance at any kind of traditional career so they opt for the lottery ticket. I've heard some bizarre fantasies from much younger second cousins of mine (admittedly in America) like being a mercenary or a UFC fighter.

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As I see it, the exam results offer little in the way of a differentiator for employers. There are so many different types of qualifications that most employers will have no idea what half of them mean, what the young person can actually do or know about. There are government organisations that set the curriculum, exam boards that create syllabi and test at expense to the government (us) and other government organisations that oversee the exam boards. What a shambles of complete profligacy.

Perhaps it would be better (and cheaper) to have one organisation that sets the curriculum and tests that- FOC to the end user, just book a course from a provider and an exam if you need it (free on a means tested basis). This in conjunction with a chargable babysitting service could completely replace the education system.

Qualifications would be awarded- top 5% A, next 10% B...etc.

This (I think) could save billions.

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But, even then, they are doomed to failure because so many young people are oblivious to how skilled and how much work it takes to get anywhere in these careers.

Look at it this way, you need maths to be a drug dealer. You can't be innumerate and be a successful drug dealer; you won't make any decent money.

And music ... it's even worse in that industry. if you can't play an instrument, if you didn't go to drama or art school, if you don't have family legacy, if you aren't trained for that profession at some level, forget it. X-factor and other talent shows cover this up something chronic: Leona Lewis? Trained soprano. Alexandra Burke? Her mother's Melissa Bell, the former Soul II Soul lead singer. Even Subo took singing lessons from a vocal coach back in the day, and sang formally in a choir for years.

When I used to teach secondary, inevitably some young lad would bring up Tupac Shakur, and "thuglife", and "I'm gonna be like Tupac". And I used to think that was the biggest fraud ever committed on young people ever ...because Tupac was an Baltimore School of Arts alumni who took Steinberg poetry and writing classes. If he was a "gangster", he was a very weird kind of gangster that had danced the Mouse King in The Nutcracker.

People are being sold a lie IMO

and this makes it doubly hard as a parent finding the balance between being realistic and being 'negative'

Everyone I talk to seems to think that actually setting achievable goals is selling your kids short

They seem to think that aiming for the stars on the 1 in a million chance you might make it then feeling a failure if you don't

Is better than actually achieving something realistic and worthwhile and feeling a success

Personally I think this is absolutely ridiculous, but not many people seem to agree with me.

:unsure:

Edited by Game_Over
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Great stuff! You're dead right that the stories of success are about as damaging as the culture of hopelessness, and thanks for those details because I didn't know them.

I have a list of them somewhere (from my teaching days) ... but off the top of my head ... Chuck D from Public Enemy has a degree in graphics, Ice-Cube from NWA has a degree in draughtmanship, Sean Combs has, I think, an MBA. It is fascinating how many of those "ghetto" rappers a) finished high school, and B) are actually graduates, and just how many of them had parents who were teachers or very educated individuals. It is also interesting many of them did a stint in the US military.

Put it simple, these people aren't exactly who their fans think they are. There is somebody known for being "ghetto" who is actually an Ivy League graduate, but I can't remember who that is now.

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At the end of the day - if they don't achieve what they hope and are unhappy what do I say to them then?

Do I tell them they should have worked harder or been more positive?

:unsure:

Soo easy to be wise, but what can I say, I've got so much wrong in my time!

My Dad always said he'd be much more pleased if I was a happy binman than an unhappy high paid employee. Certainly he was always self-employed because he couldn't put up with being told what to do, and rich because he could always earn enough to do what he fancied doing. Although qualified as a plumber he learned how to completely renovate houses from bricklaying through wiring because he reckoned he could. Left school at 14, still writes in capitals.

He's a difficult old bugger but quite an inspiration really. And happy because he's his own boss. He's a better example than me for sure.

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People are being sold a lie IMO

and this makes it doubly hard as a parent finding the balance between being realistic and being 'negative'

Everyone I talk to seems to think that actually setting achievable goals is selling your kids short

They seem to think that aiming for the stars on the 1 in a million chance you might make it then feeling a failure if you don't

Is better than actually achieving something realistic and worthwhile and feeling a success

Personally I think this is absolutely ridiculous, but not many people seem to agree with me.

:unsure:

I try to tell mine that falling short isn't failure, regretting not trying is.

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On the 'are A levels easier' issue: I took mine at the start of the 80's; I have a mate who took hers at the start of the 90's. At her school they made them sit exams in the subjects they were studying but using papers from 10 years earlier (as a 'fun' exercise). She told me she crapped herself when she saw the questions (maths, physics, chemistry) as they were 'completely unanswerable'. I have no reason to disbelieve her, and she is a bright woman - went on to get a 1st.

On the Private school debate: They have always sought to differentiate. Back in my day it would to take a B or C student and make he/she an A student. That is no longer a guaranteed means of differentiation. So what they now tend to do is provide subjects that state schools find difficult to provide e.g. Latin and Greek. As well as this I know of kids at private school doing 12 or 14 GCSE's.

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Soo easy to be wise, but what can I say, I've got so much wrong in my time!

My Dad always said he'd be much more pleased if I was a happy binman than an unhappy high paid employee. Certainly he was always self-employed because he couldn't put up with being told what to do, and rich because he could always earn enough to do what he fancied doing. Although qualified as a plumber he learned how to completely renovate houses from bricklaying through wiring because he reckoned he could. Left school at 14, still writes in capitals.

He's a difficult old bugger but quite an inspiration really. And happy because he's his own boss. He's a better example than me for sure.

My Dad died when I was 27 so never really got to see the consequences of my leaving school at 16 even though I went to a grammar school.

My sister who was older gave my parents a hard time about this though and was quite bitter about the fact that she never went to university.

Her kids went to Oxford and UCL so I am considered to be negative because my I only aimed to get my kids into a top 5 university.

Your Dad sounds brilliant and obviously did a good job raising you.

Perhaps you yourself are actually proof that who our parents are actually has the biggest impact on our lives.

:)

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Some time ago you made a comment along the lines of "state education amounts to mass child abuse" - a comment I would agree with.

State education is designed to make peopel stupid and compliant. It's massive child abuse. Literally having no formal education whatsoever is batter than it.

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As I see it, the exam results offer little in the way of a differentiator for employers. There are so many different types of qualifications that most employers will have no idea what half of them mean, what the young person can actually do or know about. There are government organisations that set the curriculum, exam boards that create syllabi and test at expense to the government (us) and other government organisations that oversee the exam boards. What a shambles of complete profligacy.

Perhaps it would be better (and cheaper) to have one organisation that sets the curriculum and tests that- FOC to the end user, just book a course from a provider and an exam if you need it (free on a means tested basis). This in conjunction with a chargable babysitting service could completely replace the education system.

Qualifications would be awarded- top 5% A, next 10% B...etc.

This (I think) could save billions.

An education system should give those within it the tools for life.

if employers would have to work out who they needed after that, tough shit, they can stick their hands in their own wallets and do it themselves.

You don't need to invent a hierarchy, just let everyone get on with it after a basic set up and matters will take their own course.

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An education system should give those within it the tools for life.

if employers would have to work out who they needed after that, tough shit, they can stick their hands in their own wallets and do it themselves.

You don't need to invent a hierarchy, just let everyone get on with it after a basic set up and matters will take their own course.

Yes, 'An education system should give those within it the tools for life'; but I am not sure it does. I agree that employers could take responsibility for more training etc, they can run the courses if they like. Ultimately it is the new skills learnt from these courses that would enable someone to charge greater remuneration for their time so I think they, not the employer should pay for it.

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Yes, 'An education system should give those within it the tools for life'; but I am not sure it does. I agree that employers could take responsibility for more training etc, they can run the courses if they like. Ultimately it is the new skills learnt from these courses that would enable someone to charge greater remuneration for their time so I think they, not the employer should pay for it.

As it's the employer who wants the service doing, you are exactly wrong.

That training someone to do the thing that you want them to do will also leave them better off is a decent bargaining position to be in, it's not one where they owe you anything by default, just because you've trained them.

If people are going to sell skills to the general public then the cost is theirs.

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On the 'are A levels easier' issue: I took mine at the start of the 80's; I have a mate who took hers at the start of the 90's. At her school they made them sit exams in the subjects they were studying but using papers from 10 years earlier (as a 'fun' exercise). She told me she crapped herself when she saw the questions (maths, physics, chemistry) as they were 'completely unanswerable'. I have no reason to disbelieve her, and she is a bright woman - went on to get a 1st.

On the Private school debate: They have always sought to differentiate. Back in my day it would to take a B or C student and make he/she an A student. That is no longer a guaranteed means of differentiation. So what they now tend to do is provide subjects that state schools find difficult to provide e.g. Latin and Greek. As well as this I know of kids at private school doing 12 or 14 GCSE's.

This is true. Very few state school children have a chance, for example, to study classics at university, simply because almost all classics courses require A level Latin and Greek and hardly any state schools offer any instruction in these subjects, never mind at GCSE or A level.

I am not arguing that this is particularly a vital course for the future of the British economy or anything, but I do think there should be at least one avenue for state school pupils to purse these kind of subjects if they want to. Otherwise, it is just, well, wrong.

It is the same with a lot of languages. I noticed that Eltham College now offers Mandarin and it won't be the first to do so. And I just think, well, you've got kids at 16 with twelve A*s and four languages that have had three years of golf lessons at school and did the weekend school of practical mechanics, and on the other you have kids that do not even have a GCSE in English and don't know how to wire a plug.

And governments have the audacity to talk about meritocracy and social mobility. :blink:

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This is true. Very few state school children have a chance, for example, to study classics at university, simply because almost all classics courses require A level Latin and Greek and hardly any state schools offer any instruction in these subjects, never mind at GCSE or A level.

I am not arguing that this is particularly a vital course for the future of the British economy or anything, but I do think there should be at least one avenue for state school pupils to purse these kind of subjects if they want to. Otherwise, it is just, well, wrong.

It is the same with a lot of languages. I noticed that Eltham College now offers Mandarin and it won't be the first to do so. And I just think, well, you've got kids at 16 with twelve A*s and four languages that have had three years of golf lessons at school and did the weekend school of practical mechanics, and on the other you have kids that do not even have a GCSE in English and don't know how to wire a plug.

And governments have the audacity to talk about meritocracy and social mobility. :blink:

Another brilliant post.

When my older son 'could' have applied to Oxbridge turns out you needed a GCSE in a foreign language to qualify - he didn't have one and nobody ever told us that one was required.

The problem for 'ordinary' parents who didn't go to University is that 'You don't know what you don't know' until it is too late

:unsure:

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Another brilliant post.

When my older son 'could' have applied to Oxbridge turns out you needed a GCSE in a foreign language to qualify - he didn't have one and nobody ever told us that one was required.

The problem for 'ordinary' parents who didn't go to University is that 'You don't know what you don't know' until it is too late

:unsure:

My best mate passed the Oxford Exam, which meant he got an offer of 2 "E"s from them (this was back in 1980) but he hadn't done any language "O" Level so he had to wait back a year and get that, then they let him in.

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This again. Quite what it has to do with house prices or the economy...

Has anyone here considered:

- The back end echoes of the Flynn effect. People are cleverer than they were 30 years ago.

- The fact that back in the good old days less than 10% of A level takers managed as A... which means that less than 10% of students knew more than ~70% of the syllabus. What was the point of such a fantastic, rigorous system when 90% of the students knew / understood naff all of it? This is fine if your think that only 10% of students should make it to university, but in my day (late 80s) my offer from UCL (top 10 global uni indeed) was 3 Cs for natural sciences... which a fair chunk of students could manage even then in the days of "degree level A levels".

- "Those entering uni know nothing due to syllabus reduction". Sure, but as discussed most of them in my day may have been familiar with the concepts but were unable to competently explain same under exam conditions

- "No one fails anymore." Well, they get sh1t marks which provides the same signal to employers / universities but at least obviates the need for some retakers spending another year to go from a U to an E.

- The performance curve will still be normal, but the grade curve isn't at the top (although interestingly the bottom now is, unlike previously when the bottom 30% were lumped together, thereby enabling better performance differentiation at that end). This needed addressing, hence A*, but even this is only relevant for entrance officers of Oxbridge or top courses in Russell Group. Everyone else has increased their entrance grades: from CCC to ABB. Problem?

- "Too many school children are going to university". Possibly, but it's nice they have an option isn't it? In my class of ~22 (5th yr - four or five had left in earlier years to work on a market stall etc) in an inner city Yorkshire comp, since demolished and riddled with strikes and post-mining shutdown deprivation due to the actions of one poster's oh so iconoclastic avatar, a grand total of five of us went to six form (as was), two of whom were retaking O levels. Of the three of us who made it to tertiary education, guess how many travelled in from a nice, middle class area?

Personally, the system seems now to be more merit based, particularly at the bottom end where fractional performance can be identified and access to lower ranked tertiary institutions provided. At the top end, there are issues as much to do with the overperformance of the private system as with the underperformance of the state system. Given that many of the private schools are selective, this can't be much of a surprise really.

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Injin will live for ever because he has discovered what holy men and scientists have been searching for since history began

the TRUTH

:blink:

Sorry mate but Injin is a complete fraud. If you say black he says the other. I have tried this with him loads of times. He says stuff that makes absolute b0llocks in terms of actual sense but most of you swallow it up because it sounds somehow "mystical".

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Sorry mate but Injin is a complete fraud. If you say black he says the other. I have tried this with him loads of times. He says stuff that makes absolute b0llocks in terms of actual sense but most of you swallow it up because it sounds somehow "mystical".

Well, I prefer my previous attempts at being "mystical" which usually involved lots of drugs and sex. From the little I've read Injin has a misunderstanding at both a metaphysical and biological level of what drives human behavior.

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When my older son 'could' have applied to Oxbridge turns out you needed a GCSE in a foreign language to qualify - he didn't have one and nobody ever told us that one was required.

The problem for 'ordinary' parents who didn't go to University is that 'You don't know what you don't know' until it is too late

I wouldn't flog yourself for that; I work at a Russell Group and I didn't know Oxbridge demanded a foreign language GCSE.

Part of me is even more annoyed that Labour removed the compulsory foreign language at GCSE now (thought being more annoyed than I am is probably pretty difficult).

Ohhh, I dunno any more. I just don't. The state of British state education is a real hobby-horse of mine, and I just bang on about it whenever and where ever I can.

I can just see what's coming and the impact it will have on society. We are hurtling towards a mix of 19th century and medieval educational outcomes. If you wanted to recreate the feudal society with illiterate serfs at the bottom and the extremely-educated elite at the top, this is how you would go about doing it.

I have taught across Europe, and the other thing that seriously worries me is how low the British level of state education is at 16 compared to children from old Soviet states ... Poland, Romania, Slovenia, those sorts of countries.

But I've argued about it before on the British blogsphere, and been accused of wanting children to be polymath androids and almost being insane. I simply don't think some people understand the educational schisms that are now developing both in Britain and between children across Europe -- I've taught in European schools where all the eleven year olds are trilingual, for heaven's sake.

I know lecturers that have pulled modules because newer cohorts of students, all with A*s, can no longer cope with the material. Yet state school pupils with Bs and Cs at A level could cope with it back in the 1980s and 1990s.

I read a lot about some of the successful new school models that are working in the US for children from underprivileged areas -- smaller schools, varied hours, weekend classes, honeycomb structures -- and then I look back to Britain with yet another Fiona Millar article spouting a load of ideological tripe about state education and how wonderful everything would be if we just shut down all the private schools, and the documentaries that reveal the teachers at a primary school have next to no maths skills whatsoever, and I want to bash my head against the wall.

I mean, what's the point? Just what is the point of anything if we don't educate the next generation properly so they can take their place in the world, and live fruitful lives? What's the point if we can only bequeath this debt, and this illiteracy, and this unemployment, and this crock of utter sewn-up crap? What does anything we do matter if they can't read it, or mend it, or improve it? What does anything matter if we can't pass it onto them?

Aren't they suppose to be better than us? Aren't they suppose to take the baton from us, and carry it further?

I dunno, maybe I am just infected with old-fashioned enlightenment values. Maybe that is my problem.

Edited by dissident junk
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