Kids Aren’t Snowflakes, So Let Them Read Books With the “N-Word”

“You can’t deny the past”

Numerous board reviews of statues with links to the UK’s imperial past have left him “deeply uneasy”.

He said, “You don’t become a better nation, a more cohesive community by denying the past, by suppressing the past. Half of Whitehall will have to be demolished… You explain the past, you explain both sides.

“There are really important things that have happened that are great things that we have exported to the rest of the world, as well as not so good things. I think that’s really important.

“And I’m deeply uncomfortable with the fact that we’re starting to see everything through the lens of 2022, when life was very different in centuries past and values ​​were different then.”

He added: “It worries me deeply. It worries me that this is happening not just in the UK, but in the US.

“My two sons went to Princeton University and they were shocked that there was a movement to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from the Woodrow Wilson School of Government.”

Learning from the mistakes of the pandemic

Mr Zahawi this week launched a white paper on big school education admitting it had been a “mistake” for the Government to order schools in England to close when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

He said ministers now accept that “it was a mistake to prevent them from going to school”, adding: “I take collective responsibility. I am part of the government.

“The Prime Minister would agree with me on this, that the way we have handled the pandemic – we have to learn from our mistakes. School has remained open and – I agree – for frontline essential workers .

Mr. Zahawi pledged to increase the number of primary school children able to reach expected levels in reading, writing and mathematics to 90% by 2030, up from 65% in 2019.

All schools will be converted into academies, including church schools and grammars, which will be allowed to continue selecting their students by the end of the decade.

Mr Zahawi, who was promoted from vaccines minister to education secretary in last September’s cabinet reshuffle, said he was applying lessons learned during the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“You don’t get high performance through regulation. The way you get high performance is to highlight it and then scale it. I did it on the vaccine. I will do it again here,” he said.

“High performing multi-academies – like the Boleyn Trust, like the Harris Trust – have outperformed. We need to figure out how to fit each school into this family of high performing schools.

“It’s all about results for children”

Just as his goal was to kick the ass, Mr Zahawi said he was keen to give children the knowledge and skills they needed when they left school.

“I was never interested when I was doing vaccines as to how many vaccines we had in the warehouse. I said to my whole team, ‘we want to know how many we have in people’s arms because that’s how we save lives’.

“It’s about results – it’s the same here. If we all remember – be it unions or anyone else – that it’s a child’s results that matter, then we prove it and we won’t be much wrong.

He declined to say whether he would allow more selective high schools to open, saying, “I want their ethos, their DNA to permeate through our school system.”

But his target had to be all the schools, not just the 165 high schools: “If every day, every week, there are children who attend the 900 schools that are below good, inadequate in our system, it is a ruined future for these children.

“This is a missed opportunity to deliver for these children. And I have to focus on scale.

Political possibilities

Mr Zahawi – who has lost weight in recent months – is tipped as a possible successor to Boris Johnson if the Prime Minister is forced out over the ‘Partygate’ controversy or some other unforeseen row.

Asked about the definition of a woman – a question that has baffled Labor politicians – he replied: “A woman is an adult human woman. My favorite subject in school was human biology. It’s a simple answer.

When I asked if the Prime Minister was a conservative when it came to tax cuts, he replied straight away: “Yes, I am, as are the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.”

He was fiercely loyal to Mr Johnson, describing him as ‘the most important leader of his generation’.

But he did not explicitly rule out a leadership race although he insisted that a ‘TL’ badge on his jacket lapel meant ‘T-Levels’ and not ‘Tory Leader’.

He was now focused on improving standards in schools: “I want as much time in education. The average tenure of a Secretary of State for Education is 17 months. If you take out Gove and Blunkett, it’s even shorter.

“I hope to break both of their records because if I can do that, it’s a real legacy for this country that gave everything to this immigrant boy.

“If I can deliver it, there is nothing more valuable on earth than human capital. Nothing.

“And if I can grow young minds into healthy, capable adults who lead happy, productive lives, I’d be doing something really great for the country that gave me everything.”

Listen to Christopher Hope’s interview with Nadhim Zahawi on Chopper’s Politicsthe Telegraph’s weekly political podcast, using the audio player at the top of this article or on Apple podcast, Spotify or your favorite podcast app.

About Joey J. Hott

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