Sunday, 18 December 2011

Graun spinning its usual web of fabian claptrap

I'm not too hot on the heels of this story, as it was published a couple of weeks back, but I came to it via another education article in the Graun. Here's the headline:
"Public favours choice - but won't pay for it"
Given the subject matter - state schools, the headline suggests that the public, lazy and fickle as they are, wants to have its cake and eat it too. In other words, that it wants choice but isn't prepared to stump up the cash for it. But does it say that?

Not really.
As the British Social Attitudes survey shows, public opinion favours school choice. More than two-thirds (68%) agreed that parents should have this right.

But the study found that opinions had hardened when it came to making choices easier for poorer families.

Researchers sketched out the scenario of a parent on a low income who couldn't afford the bus fare to send their child to a more desirable school that was further from home. What should happen?

In 2007, 49% said the government should pay the bus fare. In 2010, just 33% supported this intervention.

More than six in ten said the child should go to his or her local school.

So, when the Graun says the public isn't prepared to pay for choice, it is really saying, or at least two thirds of it is saying, it isn't prepared to pay somebody else's kid's bus fare. The proggers at the BSA Survey try to twist this as follows:

The study says: "One explanation for this change might be that, while people think facilitating choice in this way is desirable during times of economic prosperity, they see it as a luxury and do not think it should be a priority during times of economic downturn, where cuts to public services are being made elsewhere."

You can almost hear the metal-on-metal, as the study-wonks try to shift gears from the clearly-expressed individual point of view to the collectivist group-think in which they operate. Suddenly a straightforward question - do you want choice? - becomes something else - do you think facilitating choice is desirable?

The is something else to note, here left unmentioned; the presumption that choice must cost more than the current model. The opposite is the case. Choice is the natural state of things, when you have many schools. It is conformity, uniformity, ensuring every child gets the same dumbed-down meagre measure of state-endorsed propaganda which costs the fortune. If the schools were all independent, then no action would be needed to ensure choice, and the removal of the bloated educational establishment which rides along on the back of the schools would bring a massive cost reduction. Imagine how many bus fares you could pay then?

No comments: