By Jack Turner
“All generalisations are flawed.”
Take for example that the independent model is seen as the most successful and so state education should be moved forward by franchised academies. That through ever greater imitation of that model and feverous devotion to standardised testing that equal opportunity can be engineered.
That by using graduate training schemes that link directly to the school rather a national body is invigorating. But you do not get fresh insight or the success passed on by osmosis. You have a more malleable workforce with greater vested interest in one institution not the profession.
That by allowing schools to determine their own pay scale, you give them greater flexibility in managing their budgets. But by destroying the national pay structure you are removing the fact that any teacher’s skills after X number of years are worth Y, London waiting aside. By doing this you are binding employees to stay where they think they have an acceptable job, regardless of the incremental changes to terms and conditions that however benevolently an enforced work culture will propagate.
Conversely any failing school will lose all semi-competent staff as soon as they can find another job accelerating the downward spiral, not into collapse, but into sustained failure. The repercussions of forcing schools to have a competing data based outcome will be to narrow what is perceived as a successful education.
By any measure, how we educate the next generation affects society immensely. If the acquisition of knowledge for the sole purpose of regurgitating it after a certain short term interval is what is rewarded, then in the majority of my experience it breaks people in one of two ways.
Either they retreat from education with the refrain “why do I need to know this/ when am I ever going to use it.” This cuts them off from the fundamental necessity of education, to further understand personal and universal existence and to develop empathy. Hopefully they find something later in life that rekindles their interest in learning, probably in a singular applicable area.
The second are the type who learns this doctrine by rote. Who are successful by degree, but through repetition view external stimuli through a prism of how this is to be processed and stored. With so much unexamined material they cannot see how or why someone else couldn’t follow their path.
Whilst both types occur at state & private schools, the self selecting nature of socio-economic groups & the prevalence of the latter to assimilate in a corporate world to perpetuate & reinforce the status quo, has just the veneer of the ideological facade to differentiate.
Liberals see it as abhorrent that someone with greater privilege shows inadequate empathy to the unfortunate either domestic or international. The Conservative wants us to believe that if given as little support as possible, an untapped reservoir of industriousness will kick in and the poor will work themselves out of poverty.
Both missing the point that it is not the individual that society should work on but the environment into which they are born.
Phyrric intrusions into the life of the individuals by the mechanisms of the state in all but the most necessary circumstances is diverting energy away from what are the foundational arguments of what it is to live in a 21st century non unilateral global power & what constitutes a fair & balanced civilisation.
The analogy I would draw would be the murderer/enemy at the gate vs. the HFT hedge fund manager being proportionate to a bomb at the railway station & therefore there being no bins. There is a very small chance of one ending my life horribly but the other is making my life shitter everyday & the supposed protections are inconsequential anyway.
To find the questions with which to frame the foundational arguments, Trident should be defunded, take a quarter of that money spend it on paying the best lawyers to write & prosecute the most stringent financial regulations that force all corporations to pay an equally fair amount as the cost of conducting business here.
Further ban Mp’s/ Lords from holding even non executive chairs on companies’ boards. Bar financial donations to political parties from corporations, limit donations to individuals & limit individual donations to the national average weekly wage which can be donated annually.
To say parents send their kids to private school because they want the best for them implies that others do not. To believe that any animal would not fight to provide advantages for it’s offspring argues against evolution. So to assume crucibles of influence won’t lead to segregation is as reductive. With everyone working towards making their local school better, through a successful education being deemed to been gained by developing empathy & problem solving skills, not repetition of taught knowledge, then the wider the pool of people with a variety of backgrounds can be drawn on for decision making roles. This, admittedly hopefully, will lead to a fairer set of solutions.
If these arguments are decried as something destructive that would force people and businesses to withdraw from British society I volunteer that they vacate. I would rather have a fairer percentage of a smaller pie which doesn’t include people who opt out anyway.