It was hardly a surprise to read reports that nearly 50 per cent of children go into secondary school unequipped to cope with the curriculum because of their incompetence in the three Rs.
Nor is it surprising to read the weak-kneed government response to this scandal: "We're doing our best but don't know what else to do."
After all, governments have for years presided over a totally unprofessional approach to primary education, even suggesting some time ago that motherly, mature women, with no qualifications or training, should be employed in infant schools as teachers, presumably to act as surrogate mothers but to teach nothing.
Now, with the growth of political correctness, a false, mawkishly sentimentalised view of children and childhood has been allowed to pervade education.
Children, so the doctrine says, are precious, fragile blossoms who must be treated with kid gloves if they are to bloom; any harsh word, especially the word "no", damages their tender psyches for life.
Thus, the primary education system, apart from a slavish adherence to the doctrine of "child centred education", hasn't yet moved into the age when we recognise that society no longer has a place or a job for the uneducated, the illiterate, the unqualified and the uncivilised.
Unless we become more professional and pragmatic in our views of what primary schools ought to be and do, we risk having on our hands huge numbers of shoddily educated teenagers with no jobs and the aim of undermining society.
Now is the time to get real. Children are not the angels of romantic myth, nor do they, as the "egalitarians" in education would have us believe, all come into school at five equal in talents and attainment.
Once we accept this, then perhaps we'll do something practical to iron out the enormous inequalities that children bring to school at the age of five, and try to do something about them.
Forget the sentimental cod psychologists who bewail the idea of "stigmatising children at the tender age of five" by testing them to find out their strengths and weaknesses, their educational, social and academic problems, before they come into the classroom.
Let's get away from the practice of dumping all new entrants of the same age in the same class.
The child who reads fluentlycan count and is socially sophisticated shouldn't share a classroom with the child who speaks no English, or has never looked at a book, or can't even toilet himself, just because they are all the same age. Let Mr Blair put some of the vast resources wasted on higher education for those who don't want it into testing all rising fives for skills, strengths and weaknesses and putting them into small groups with specially trained staff to address their particular problems.
Within a term, or a year, with this intensive tuition, the majority could be ready to be put into normal primary classes.
As for the problem of great numbers of children in secondary school who are unable to follow the curriculum, the remedy is simple. Forget those "educationalists" who warn us about "humiliating" children by keeping them down in primary school, instead of letting them follow their peers into secondary school.
Let's say, "if you can't cope, you don't go", and see how many lazy, disruptive, uninterested children start to work, rather than suffer the indignity of being in primary school at the age of 12 or 13.
Then, perhaps, we'll see the growing menace of bullying, truancy, classroom disruption, violence and disorder disappear from secondary schools when all the children there have the basic competence to at least follow the curriculum.