Saturday, 3 November 2007

Education, education, education ...

It has been depressingly clear for years that state education in Britain is close to a disaster zone. True, when Blair asserted his priority was 'Education, education, education ... ', even I, hardened cynic personified, thought there might be some hope for the future. It wasn't a mood that lasted long.

The education establishment in Britain committed itself many years ago to a 'progressive' approach, most obviously in the promotion of comprehensive schools. They were and are wrong. But as with all true believers, having invested so much emotional capital in their great project, they couldn't allow themselves to admit this central, glaring truth. Their response has been to reinforce their default position; in effect, to reinforce failure.

What is startling about this piling of failure on failure is not just that it guarantees that the mistakes of the past are repeated but that it wilfully ignores the obvious solution.

If state schools are hopeless, it is incontestably the case that private schools, by and large, are excellent. So why not take the private sector as your starting point and model state schools on it?

Above all, why not follow the central tenet of private education and allow all schools to be properly independent: to manage their own budgets, to set their own values and, crucially, to choose their pupils?

This is to reckon without the grimly determined socialist mindset of the educational establishment.

It is axiomatic among all 'progressive' educationalists that, just as comprehensive education is an absolute good, private schools are bastions of entrenched privilege, to be attacked and denigrated despite (because of?) their obvious success.

Ergo, all attempts to allow even a measure of independence to state schools and to free them from the deadening hand of central control must always be defeated.

It is the most pernicious kind of failed egalitarian ideology in obvious action.

In consequence, the continued decline of state education in Britain is guaranteed.

What a hoot!

I realise that none of the above is even remotely original. But I just thought I'd mention it.

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