Thursday, 21 June 2012

Round 8,568 of the Education Debate

You know the one. We've been having it ever since the dawn of state control over the schools. On one side the 'traditionalists'. On the other the 'progressives;. The former believe in Latin and the cane. The latter want five-year-olds to explore their own sexuality and report their parents for failing to recycle. Meanwhile, away from the sound and fury, the 'progressives' have been running the system all along.

Turning to Fiona Millar's contribution from the gruesome Grauniad, we find, after the obligatory attack on Gove, this:
There has always been a compelling argument that education policy should be the preserve of political parties. Education is a big political issue – it goes to the heart of what sort of society and young people we create. But even I now reluctantly wonder whether big questions such as this one, the answers to which will have such a deep and permanent impact on the lives of so many people, should be made in this sort of haste, without proper debate and consultation, or to further the ambitions of individual politicians. Better to seek some sort of cross-party collaboration or even take the issue out of the hands of politicians and give it to an objective body that can review the evidence away from the day-to-day political maelstrom.
Here we see the collectivist, authoritarian mind peeping out from behind the layers of self-delusory 'liberalism'. Firstly, she offers nothing to back up the assertion that there be 'a compelling argument that education should be the preserve of political parties'. Such an argument would rest on certain presuppositions which I would challenge. Those presuppositions shine through the phrase 'what sort of society and young people WE create' - that's 'WE' in the Yevgeny Zamyatin sense of the word. The authoritarian social controller 'WE', to whom the idea that each of us should be free and independent to follow our own plans and principles is utterly alien.

Millar looks at the system we have, sees it's not working and reluctantly comes to the conclusion that the part which must be removed is the political part, the democratic part. She's obviously happy with a powerful state dictating to everyone and running the schools from Whitehall, but, given that democracy occasionally throws a spanner in the works, far better to put it in the hands of an 'objective body' out of sight, mind and influence of the people over whom it is to rule, and, if I may be so bold as to suggest the bleeding obvious, wholly made up of people who think - to whatever extent that verb is applicable - just like her.


Anonymous said...

I think a G K Chesterton quote sums up the current education situation best. It goes something like...'The whole world has divided itself into Progressives and Conservatives. The Progressives want to go on making mistakes, and the Conservatives want to prevent those mistakes being corrected'

Trooper Thompson said...

Indeed so. My only quibble with that is; not quite the whole world has succombed, although, if you watch telly and read the papers, you'd certainly get that impression.