Sunday, April 08, 2007

Lies, damn lies and educational resources

South Tyneside Council leader Councillor Paul Waggott has decided to play the legacy card for the second Tyne Tunnel (thanks for the nod Curly) stating magniloquently that "a new generation now stands to benefit from the second Tyne Tunnel" in his support for new internet-based 'teaching materials' prepared by the North Tyneside Education Business Partnership.

This isn't the first time the North Tyneside Education Business Partnership and the Tyne Tunnel bods have got together to provide pro tunnel educational materials. Their previous stunt pretending to be an educational resource was known as 'Xingthetyne', which had a pro tunnel 2 bias of the like which would normally be considered unacceptable outside schools teaching Creationism as a science.

It's not surprising given that a lot of political reputation rests on the Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Authority's pet project. Even the Lib Dem council in Newcastle turned two faced and gave the tunnel it's full support, despite what Lib Dem leaders said about road building not working. You could argue that such propaganda stinks of totalitarian control of our childrens' minds to meet political ends.

Of course road builders like the TWPTA would say we 'need' the tunnel, and would do their most to support their position. Further, the education departments in North and South Tyneside belong to councils which are both members of the TWPTA and support the second Tyne Tunnel so any lack of balance in the materials may not be so rigorously examined.

I haven't seen the new Key Stage 3 and 4 resources (you've got to register to access them) but with the travesty that was Xingthetyne you could ask why would any school want anything to do with the new Key Stage 3 and 4 materials from North Tyneside Education Business Partnership? It's a bit like fast food giants or tobacco manufacturers being allowed to distribute to schools 'educational resources' which mention their products.

I'm looking forward to the first bright student asking why we are building more road space when it's proven that building more roads doesn't reduce traffic? Or why we are encouraging more traffic when we are supposed to be reducing CO2 emissions?

Coun Waggott also tells us that "It is timely that young people in both boroughs understand why a second tunnel needs to be built". Why indeed? Let's see what the tunnel inquiry inspector said.

The Inspector who nodded the tunnel through was also bit vague on the benefits issue and despite his decision to favour the project go ahead (from made the following observations:

"the NTC (New Tyne Crossing) would substantially increase the number of journeys taken by private car"

"the NTC would not reduce journey lengths, but would increase them significantly"

"there's very little chance of better bus services"

"I see little to prevent the spare capacity realised being utilised by additional cars"

"a linear or corridor development of this sort can only deflect from the creation of sustainable communities"

"such locations [of employment opportunities opened up by the NTC] are less sustainable and unlikely to further the reality of sustainable communities"

I'll bet you'll not see these comments from the Inspector in the learning materials.

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