Evil Totalitarians Etc.

“But what about the Chiiiiiildren?”  I can hear the wails already, in response to this latest example of Antipodean totalitarianism:

Cellphones will be banned in schools across New Zealand, conservative Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said Friday, as his fledgling government looks to turn around the country’s plummeting literacy rates. The move would stop disruptive behaviour and help students focus, he said.

New Zealand’s schools once boasted some of the world’s best literacy scores, but levels of reading and writing have declined to the point that some researchers fear there is a classroom “crisis”.

Luxon declared he would ban phones at schools within his first 100 days in office, adopting a policy tested with mixed results in the United States, United Kingdom and France.

I know the thinking behind this:  what has changed with schoolkids since (say) 1980 when literacy rates were X, but which are now X/5?

Cell phones!!!!!!

So it’s to the banning table we go.

Of course, what has also changed in the interim is that (dare I say it) teacher quality has plummeted, teaching methodology has deteriorated, and classroom educational standards have dropped.

But those are sehr schwierig (nay, even impossible) issues to tackle, because we know that all teachers are dedicated professionals who have only the kids’ best interests at heart, teaching methodology is much better now that we’ve dropped silly things like rote learning of arithmetic tables and lowered spelling standards in favor of feelings, and we won’t even talk about topics like strict grading and corporal punishment (eek).

It’s so much easier just to ban cell phones.

Now understand that I’m actually in favor of banning the fucking things in schools because at best, children have the attention span of gnats and the blessed ability to Goooogle stuff is so, like, cool and easy and twenty-first century, Dad;  while old-fashioned learning is difficult and so, like, nineteenth century.  (I’m hopefully assuming that the modern generations are actually aware of the existence of a 19th century, but let’s move on.)

And I’m not interested in the supposed safety of the Chiiiiildren that cell phones are supposed to bring.  In fact, the proven negatives of cell-phone slavery amongst kids outweigh every single aspect of supposed in-class student safety, so there ya go.

Have the little shits turn their precious phones in at the school doors, to be returned when they leave the premises.  And have “backup” phones permanently confiscated when found.

So go for it, KiwiPM Luxon:  ban the poxy things.

And then, when literacy rates remain stubbornly in the basement, you can tackle the real problems, as outlined above.


  1. HA!
    I like the way you pulled that all together like you did.
    Why, it’s almost like you reached right into my head and yanked out what I was thinking and made it your own.

  2. Since everybody and their dog (self included) carries stuff around in a backpack these days (a practice I helped initiate in high school in the ’60s) the simplest solution would be for canny students to leave their smartphones in the backpack. Then the wannabe gauleiters would start searching **everybody’s** packs (as a matter of security, doncha know). (If they don’t’ already.) Doesn’t matter in Kiwiland, since they don’t have civil rights.

  3. Seems to me that not all kids want or deserve education, thus in the old days more than a few simply dropped out around freshman or junior year to pursue other options. Taking those kids out of the education system pretty much guaranteed an increase in the average results for the remaining kids.

    Of course, today we just can’t have that cause all people are equal and they’ll keep them in the system as long as possible due to the sweet sweet govt paycheck based on total headcount.

    That and the inner city kids (all of certain ethnicities) doing their fair share to drag down results for the whole district. I can’t speak for New Zealand, but I do know they have their own Aborigines to deal with.

  4. Rising single parent households and educators more concerned with pronouns are factors as well.

  5. My GenZ kids were digital natives. My observation is that social media, or even texting is a force multiplier for everything that is toxic about growing up, and deprives them of learning how to deal with their fellow humans face to face. This is further compounded by the temporary, artifical, septic society of children that is fostered inside American schools.

    My considered opinion therefore is that banning phones in school is nowhere near sufficient. They must be banned entirely for children below 16, just like other adult vices.

    This would take a considerable act of social concensus, which I simply don’t see happening anytime soon.

  6. Usually when I run into kids I cant stand, I meet their parents and its easy to understand why.

    Reality is, parents are weak-assed-pussies anymore. They are no more capable of raising a well-adjusted kid than an opossum is (that might be unfair to the opossum). The litany is too long to go over.

  7. My 9-year-old son and I were discussing the difference between a democracy and a republic on the ride home from school today. The issue of censorship came up and he stated something like “censorship is communism and that’s the worst kind of government.” So, there’s still hope for the younger generation. Granted, he’s just echoing what I’ve told him, but at least he’s paying attention.

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