Sunday, 12 July 2009

aangirfan's education porposals

aangirfan has had some ideas about schooling

1 choice of school

Something the government are very fond of talking up, perhaps anngirfan is a Blairite. Children and parents, as aan-ie puts it, already have a choice of schools. They get to choose a list of their first five choices. Several problems: 1) most areas don't have five schools; 2) schools can only hold so many kids, but all the parents want their kids in the best schools, so they fill up quickly, meaning; 3) all five schools might be full already. What actually happens is that the best schools get more money from the government as a reward for being chosen and the worst schools get less money and so get worse. The rich parents move closer to the best schools, as they generally prioritise by proximity to the school rather than first come first served, so you have a system designed to send more taxpayer money to fund the children of the rich.

So, a bad idea.

2 right to exclude

Teachers can already kick out whoever they want.

3 special schools for disruptive kids

It would be better to integrate them into the body of the class in a less troublesome role, rather than having the feminist teaching gestapo shift pupils they don't like of to schools for the criminally stupid where most of them won't desergve to be. A bit of trouble is a good thing.

4 schools for less academic kids

We already tried that. There's a saying in this country that you can't have grammar schools without having secondary moderns. Grammar schools were the schools for the academic kids who passed the 11-plus exam. Grammar school kids were meant to go to university and eventually to productive professional careers, while the secondary moderns would teach the rest a bit of carpentry and get them out as soon as possible. The public schools, of course, would take the stupid rich who could rely on papa for a job in the City. This system was abolished because it was seen as unfair to decide a child's prospects for the future based on their performance in an hour long exam when they were only 11.

Grammar schools at least produced a generation of intelligent people who were compassionate enough to introduce comprehensives to replace the grammar/secondary modern system. They also didn't discriminate of the grounds of income. A poor kid was more likely to get somewhere by the grammar route than they are now by the comprehensive route.

However, reintroduce the secondary modern is an unlikely rallying cry.

5 leaving age, length of day

He wants to lower the school leaving age and shorten the day. Might be a good idea. I could get on board with that one, maybe.

6 mothers stay at home

If fathers can do it too, it's not too bad.

7 bbc1 to be dedicated to educational programming

This would be Rupert Murdoch's wet dream. The reason BBC4 is so massively intellectual, and therefore less than massively popular, is due to campaigning by the rattled Murdoch Empire, and resultant government pressure.

8 non-profit trusts to take over the running of schools

Another Blairite notion. In schools it was in the form of Education Action Zones and City Academies, both schemes to get private companies to put money into schools in return for being able to run them as they see fit, but without making a profit out of them. I think what aan-ie has in mind is more along the lines of council housing Arms Length Holding Companies and the Commonwealth Development Corporation. The former were designed specifically to take council housing out of democratic control by local councils and have been characterised by rent increases, pay increases for senior management (no longer constrained by civil service pay scales, but able to use their funds as they see fit) and declining standards of the housing under their care. See the massive fraud and intimidation scandal at Sunderland Housing Group, which has dedicated its efforts, despite being "non-profit" to the executive apartments market to bring in extra money for the managers to share out. The CDC was a massive fraud whereby the governments investment in third world business ventures such as farming was handed to the managers for a fraction of its value (first year post-privatisation profits were greater than the entire purchase price). The CDC has effectively divested from grass-roots project in Agriculture and the like and instead gone into lucrative private equity deals, utility take overs and shopping centre construction.

So, no, let's not give control of democratic tax payer funds to a gang of former bureaucrats who want to steal them all. Or is the government meant to keep control of the money, which would give them control over everything?

8 sack the bureaucrats

Terrible idea. Bureaucrats are all that stands between us and the savages. They make the trains run not that far off being on time. Admittedly there might conceivably be a few too many, especially in the health service, largely because the government wants to keep unemployment looking lower than it is. Nonetheless it's good to keep a few of them about the place. Feel free to shut down the department of education's buildings in London though. Back to County control.

It would at least leave them with plenty of time on their hands to start up the non-profit trusts he suggests above.

Yes, that's two eights, whether its an attempt at humour, a typographical error or another type of error I don't know.

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