A Market in Children

“…anger is often a reasonable response to an unreasonable world. We should be suspicious when the powerful tell the powerless not to be so angry…to just be reasonable. It is in the interests of the powerful to say such things. Anger can be a weapon in the hands of the powerless; it can broadcast injustice; it can draw crowds; it can motivate us to do what we would otherwise be too afraid or too resigned to do.”
“…we should ask ourselves what might happen if we were angrier about the privatisation of public goods and the erosion of the private sphere; about austerity in an age of massive inequality; about the demise of social security and the rise of corporate subsidy; about cuts to legal aid and the NHS…about zero hours contracts…”
“…anger isn’t justified only when it can be put to some concrete use. Anger is justified when it responds to a moral failing in the world. We often hear about people being blinded by anger but anger at its best is a way of seeing clearly, a form of emotional insight into the moral world.”
‘In Defence of Anger’ by Amia Srinivasan. Radio 4. 27.08.14

Disappointed Idealist

This will be a short blog (by my standards), and it’s a simple cry of rage. It was prompted by two conversations I had recently. The first was with a friend of mine who left state school teaching after twenty years for many of the same reasons which I write about, but was forced by economic necessity back into a private school catering for the children of wealthy foreigners – mostly eastern Europeans. The second was with an ex-colleague I once worked with at the DFE. Although unconnected, both hit on the same theme : how the introduction of “the market” in education has produced awful consequences for our children.

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Perception vs Reality

I wrote the following piece because I was amazed by a book called ‘Progressively Worse’ by Robert Peal (April 2014). It is a revisionist history of education in England, concluding that we live in a country with a dangerously progressive educational agenda. This struck me as very odd. What I’ve written here is regarded as baffling by Andrew Old who wrote the foreword to Peal’s book; his comments are beneath the article along with my response.

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Let’s Privatise The Air

Diane Ravitch has written the foreword to a new book by Anthony Cody entitled The Educator and the Oligarch. He is a teacher who has tried to explain to Bill Gates why his ideas are wrong. Here is a link to what she wrote:

http://dianeravitch.net/2014/10/08/read-anthony-codys-new-book-the-educator-and-the-oligarch/

Is it really so radical to want educators to have a meaningful influence in the education debate?

If you’re pressed for time here is a single quote that captures the essence of what we’re talking about here:

“With his blog as his platform, Anthony Cody trained his sights on the Gates Foundation. While others feared to criticize the richest foundation in the United States, Cody regularly devoted blogs to questioning its ideas and programs. He questioned its focus on standardized testing. He questioned its belief that teachers should be judged by the test scores of their students. He questioned its support for organizations that are anti-union and anti-teacher. He questioned its decision to create new organizations of young teachers to act as a fifth column within teachers’ unions, ready to testify in legislative hearings against the interests of teachers and unions.”

Examinations: A Poor Diet

I like what the ‘Colourstrings’ organisation have to say about exams. We can all learn from the philosophy expressed here. In the current climate of exam anxiety it takes guts to look at learning in this way. Click on the photo to enlarge it.

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An Astonishing Diamond

{to read this post just click on the title above; there is a glitch in the text below that makes it unreadable}

There comes a point when something begins to feel a bit different, a tipping point I suppose. I’ve recently been in touch with the Slow Education website and in the emailed response W.E.Deming was mentioned, the same W.E.Deming that Maurice Holt quotes in his recent article about the sorry state of US/UK education: to try to improve process by studying outcomes he says “…is like driving by looking in the rear-view mirror.”

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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.

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The Local Schools Network

Below is my response to an article written by Francis Gilbert (one of the founders of the Local Schools Network) entitled ‘What is Good Teaching and How Can We Encourage It?’ The piece begins with Gilbert explaining that he’s just been on Newsnight. He goes on to say that the majority of the discussion on Newsnight was about whether performance-related-pay (PRP) will improve teaching standards. I decided to comment on PRP:

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