Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The school situation

A quick snippet from out illustrious leader Golden Brown this morning regarding schools that fail to meet with the government's arbitrary standards '...the management will be replaced, if that doesn't work it'll be taken over, if that doesn't work it'll be closed down' and the pupils sent where exactly? To another school that is already just about coping with its own number of pupils and now has another school load dumped on it; how does that help anyone?

Also if a change of management fails and if the national government taking over from the local government fails; then maybe it's not the fault of the school. Gosh can we perhaps blame the pupils or at least some of them? The answer proposed here is to scatter them to other schools like little seeds of destruction or, as is most likely, dump them on the next nearest school like a cluster bomb.

[at which point I'm now being monitored by GCHQ for using "school" next to "bomb", oh and for using "GCHQ" Hi guys, how's it going?.]

The simple point is that it doesn't take many rotten apples to spoil the barrel, and as it stands with children having the 'right' to education they're just be shunted around from school to school until they can leave. They obviously don't want to be there, it's generally the parents whining about their child's rights. The simple solution is to remove the right and obligation for education and give it only to those who want it and earn it.

Any child misbehaving is removed and if they (or their parents) want them back in either there or elsewhere they're going to have to demonstrate that desire. Screw-up too often and nobody will take you (expect for a big pile of cash). The advantages are obvious; with only those at a school who want to be there education can be done without distraction, and competition between pupils and schools raises standards.

Disadvantages are also obvious. Some schools will be more desirable then others (a situation that already exists) with paid-for schools topping the system due to increased funds. Society may become split between the educated and non-educated and may begin the meritocracy that Bliar kept bleating on about and manifestly didn't want. This form of meritocracy leads naturally to aristocracy (those in power have the ability to give their children the best schooling, which leads to them becoming more likely to gain power), but to be honest how is that truly different from the situation we're already in?

We can stick with the rules we've got or we can change them, at the moment we're trying to stay put maybe a new direction is needed?


Anonymous said...

The sad thing is, a worrying number of parents don't give a **** about their kids. If there wasn't a law requiring kids to go to school, these people would just not bother and would let their kids do whatever the hell they want. (Mmm, that sounds like fun for society!)

Still others would decide that it's just too much hassle to bother doing the whole school run bit, and their kids wouldn't get to go to school even if they actually wanted to.

Then let us not overlook all those with genuine behavioural problems. (E.g., the people with a medical disorder.) Do we want these people to go without education just because they have an illness that makes it hard for them to fit in?

The point is that education isn't nearly as simple as it looks. It is clear that things need to change. It is far less clear how exactly to change them for everyone's benefit…

FlipC said...

I agree that some parents don't care, but I hope they're a majority. Indeed whenever you hear about some toe-rag being kicked out of multiple schools for disciplinary reasons it always seems to be the parents fighting to get them back in.

I think the problem that you see is one where the parents don't care, but the child does. To be blunt I don't see that as a huge obstacle, children normally find a way to do what they want regardless and unless the parents actively prevent them attending they'll no doubt find a way.

As for those with genuine problems again I agree, but placing them with 'normal' children doesn't help any of them and, again, I hope that the parents of such children would want and encourage them to go to school.

Education isn't simple, but all the measures that seem to be proposed at the moment involve shunting and/or diffusing problems around the system rather then attempting to remove them.

I'm not saying we drop free education, I'm just suggesting we stop making attendance compulsory; might make things better, might make them worse.

Anonymous said...

When you say that you "hope they're a majority", I really hope that's a typo. ;-)

FlipC said...

Geargh! Yes a "not" should have appeared there.