Pretty Obvious

1. Why did Gove only celebrate academies and free schools? Because he was busy aping the Americans turning a public service into a private one. In 1969 the first black paper was written attacking comprehensive schooling on principle; its authors were disgusted by the post-war egalitarianism that had begun to creep into society and positively horrified by the student protests (US and UK) that were an indication of what might happen if entire populations were properly educated.

In an executive/representative democracy such as ours there was no expectation that Gove would listen to parents or teachers/schools. In a more participatory democracy he would have had to listen to the real needs of ordinary people. But he is detached from anything so tiresome as this and he is closely tied to numerous large-scale corporate interests (not least Rupert Murdoch who has more than a passing interest in the money that can be siphoned out of public pockets into his own via national education systems). Given the absolute faith in privatisation, the lack of interest in these matters amongst the general population, the Conservative anti-statist stance that is clear from the 1969 Black Paper onwards and the soft-headed, press-release-publishing UK media it’s hardly surprising that Gove/Morgan/whoever’s next make no real effort to disguise what they are doing. There’s no need to bother! That’s why Gove only celebrated academies and free schools, because they are the fruits of his efforts. It seems a naive question to me. – See more at:

2. Rachel Aviv’s New Yorker article that is commented on by Maurice Holt, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Colorado who notes that “…it will strike a familiar chord with teachers in England, since the current government is totally in thrall to the doctrine that the quality of education can be determined by assessing outcomes.” My response to Holt’s post, again on the Local Schools Network is here: It’s great to see an American professor writing on this site. It’s pretty obvious that aping the American model has nothing to do with improving education for all; it is a market-led rather than education-led model. What a shame that the average parent or pair of parents will not come to this fairly straightforward and uncontroversial understanding with ease because of the UK media’s unwillingness to spell it out. The Local Schools Network does valuable work in keeping me sane but I’m not convinced its voice is loud enough to help influence the national debate. The American system right now is a horror story and we are heading towards just such a system with little in the way of a proper debate.
Is this what flourishing democracies feel like?
Here is a link to Rachel Aviv’s piece in the New Yorker: – See more at:

One comment on “Pretty Obvious

  1. natasia says:

    this is a great read. the south african education system alike is aping US and UK models of accountability and this affects the autonomy of teachers. currently, south africa is using an performance management system that progresses teachers pay with 1% a year. this system is failing because teachers are in a situation of contrived collegiality. the gap between head teachers and ordinary teachers are widening because their portfolio differs( one concerned with compliance and the the other teaching). a culture if mistrust exist between teachers and school management which is all created by the south african government who instigated neoliberal policies that protects school management from teachers who do not comply (through the use of progressive discipline). students are becoming more and more disrespectful of teachers because they witness the low levels of autonomy possessed by teachers. the values if education has changed dramatically so has the identity if teachers (low moral slaves) to more market orientated ones (task on time compliance regulation audit cultures and governmentality).

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