the corner office

a blog, by Colin Pretorius

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Schools and equality

Michael Gove's moves towards academies and free schools are causing some excitement (and criticism) but it goes without saying I don't think they go far enough.

UK schooling basically boils down to you applying to the best (or least shit) schools in your area and hoping or praying that your child gets in. If they don't, then off your kid goes to a shittier school than you'd hoped for, and within the system, there's bugger all you can do about it except move somewhere else or hope that the Benevolent State and its Well-meaning Bureaucracy some day does something to improve things.

Outside of the system, you have two alternatives. The first is that you become Deeply Religious and if you're lucky and bake enough cakes for fundraisers, your kid gets into a church school where standards tend to be higher. The second is that you cough up the money (if you have it) and send your kid to a private school. In which case huge huge swathes of society look down on you because you're willing to pay to give your kid an 'unfair advantage'. This, apparently, flies in the face of equality.

Wasting your Sundays singing hymns to a diety who'd presumably disapprove of your hypocrisy is bad enough, but I think the hypocrisy of 'equality' is even worse.

Let's leave out the fact that 'equality' of the state-coerced variety typically means 'equally crap' - or as ole Maggie Thatcher once put it, 'they'd rather the poor were poorer provided the rich were less rich' - there's another reason why I think the whole 'equality' argument falls over.

Many people (including vested interests and unionised teachers) say that they believe in 'equality', but what they really mean, of course, is 'equality within our national borders, and sod the rest of the planet'.

Equality based on lines on a map? Morally dubious, if you ask me, but how else can you interpret it? How many teachers head off to help Haitians and Thai children, and Somalians and Ethiopians and Afghans and children in unpronounceable old soviet satellite states? I'm sure there are many who do, and the world is better off for them, but the vast majority don't. So how many teachers' unions push for reduced teacher salaries so that more money can be spent on foreign aid and education programs? How many Labour politicians have motivated that world educational equality should be aimed for by pledging to reduce funding for British teachers and children?

Ah, right.

{2010.05.27 - 15:47}


1 Chris (2010.05.28 - 07:35) #

A very large part of the decision to move back to SA, its easier to get said wallet drainer into a more desirable school.
Having worked in the british government schooling system I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Especially if you take private and church schools out the equation.

Get ready to 'pay or pray' cuzzin ;-)

2 Ronwen (2010.05.31 - 01:28) #

We will NOT be praying.

3 Colin (2010.05.31 - 02:45) #

That echo is the sound of our empty bank vault!


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