Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Bricking it

David Cameron is to sweep away the last vestiges of the old Local Education Authorities as he plans to turn every school into an ‘academy’. Brilliant. Let’s change the name again; after all it works for tired old companies doesn’t it? Doesn’t it? When they swapped GCEs for GCSEs it was better all round because you got the extra C, see? Now if we can have the kids gaining baccalaureates or, better yet, high school diplomas (there’s a slender chance they’ll actually be able to spell that) it will look brilliant on the several hundred identical CVs they will be mailing out to indifferent employees who couldn’t give a shit.

Who wants the output of British schools these days? Yes, they’re diverse; yes they have been culturally ‘enriched’; yes they have all passed ‘History of the Holocaust’ and unwittingly converted to islam on a school trip to a mosque; yes they have a list of ‘achievements’ as long as your arm... But, seriously, have they got a clue? For too many years we have allowed academic theory to get in the way of education, churning out identikit model citizens with cultural awareness, gender sensitivity and a total blindness to arse/elbow differentials.

The left, of course, in the form of the NUT and other usual suspects are claiming that there is no evidence this will improve anything, oblivious to the reality that fifty years of progressive education has hardly proved the theorists fit to fiddle with anything, let alone kids. I choose my words carefully, for piss-poor education is tantamount to child abuse. Spare the rod, they used to say, and spoil the child.

Those employers I mentioned? All they want is work-ready youngsters with solid basic skills and the ability to learn without being coddled. Maybe – if the NUT’s conspiracy about preparation for privatisation holds true – some of those companies could end up running their own academies. Some already do, at graduate level, but imagine what might be achieved if, instead of tinkering around the edges with ephemeral, government-term headline ‘fixes’, companies could inject education with enthusiasm and vitality and – I hardly dare say this – the prospect of real jobs at the end of school?

But of course it won’t work like that because mass education belongs to the statists and the state will simply be unable to prevent itself from interfering. And they’ll start measuring and testing and re-testing and altering; experimenting with real live subjects all over again, the only constant being change. And once again the smart parents will see what is happening and use whatever influence they can bring to bear to keep their own kids from becoming just another brick in the walls of the national house that Jack built.

Another wall to tear down?

So, whatever Cameron proposes, the course of state education seems determined to steer forever towards a dodgy, dumbed-down horizon. Those with private means will turn to genuinely independent, private schools thus bringing about the NUT’s feared privatisation prophecy. Every time a government intervenes in education (anything, for that matter) it seems to only get worse; the three Rs now stand for Reading, Rights and Rioting. Have they learned nothing?


  1. Government, statists and progressives have their fingers in every pie. Education, health, markets you name it their dirty digits will be there. They trash everything they touch. We need government somebody has to keep us safe and honest but for little else. Even monetary and credit policy should not be in their remit central banks are the bane of our lives. They do love to create booms and busts.

    However the public sector we do not need at all. Private sector does things so much better in both quality and price. There are of course those who are disadvantaged that the private sector cannot cater for without the government being involved. A case for redistribution of wealth but only for those in genuine need. That redistribution does not need whole institutions to satisfy that need. All that is needed is just to give financial assistance to individuals based on their means.

    1. I don't trust the private sector to act altruistically. Similarly, I don't trust the state to act logically. I think we need a mix of both, led by strong and disciplined government with an interest in the needs of the country as a whole, not just their own 'clients'.

    2. Indeed the private sector never apart from the occasional philanthropic nut job acts altruistically. No the private sector's job is to provide the goods and services we need and the means with which to pay for them. Government's job is to facilitate that and protect it's citizens from harm. It can do that without in any way being involved in provision. It must however ensure that all have the means to pay for at least the basics which of course means taking from some to help the less advantaged.