Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Dopey Edukashun

Yes! This is The Answer!
CentreForum, a leftwing thinktank (ostensibly Lib Dem, but think Board member Neal Lawson) wants to spend another £2.4bn pa of our money on improving education for poor children.


Well, they want more lessons. Not only on weekdays but also weekends. They reckon that's what toffs get at their poncy independent schools, so poor kids should get the same advantage.

More has to be better, right?

You wonder if anyone from CentreForum has ever sat through a class in one of the schools these poor kids attend. I mean the real inner city schools they actually attend, not the backlit Mr Chips fantasy schools CF has in mind.

It's not quantity that makes independent schools successful but quality. Dross is still dross even if you double the quantity. And class disruption is still class disruption even if you force bored underachieving pupils to stay all weekend. Can you imagine?

For a sobering fix on what's really happening in state education, see this excellent article on the Balls curriculum flipflop by Martin Stephen, the High Master of St Paul's School. SPS is one of Britain's best, although it stops lessons at 4pm and does not have Saturday school. Stephen's diagnosis on state education is stark: dumbed down curriculum, dumbed down teaching, dumbed down exams, and dumbed down results. Most of which he ascribes to the constant whirl of political meddling and social engineering.

As we've blogged many times, the only sure recipe for improving school education is parental power. The money and the choice have to be put into the hands of the parents. Not one-size-fits-all-no-really-this-time-we'll-get-it-right-trust-us social engineers like Neal Lawson.

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