Critics say it is an assault on the state education sector.So do some of its supporters!The idea that the man in Whitehall, or even the man in the town hall, knows better than parents and staff on the ground is not simply out-dated, but never-dated. That notion, offensively relegating parents and staff to second-class agents in a game played out by politicians, deserves to be undermined in the most effective way possible. Regime change, installing genuine democratic control by parents rather than the sham democracy of elected bureaucrats, is entirely necessary. If parental power over funding is the goal, then school choice and capitation funding are the correct means.That's not to say that every aspect seems equally well-thought through. I particularly enjoyed hearing Michael Gove's announcement that all schools will be offered the chance to escape local government bureaucracy by filling in a form. On new providers, he did waffle somewhat on the standards to which those providers would be held. It's still not entirely clear whether private capital will be allowed to fund investment in new schools: in an era of budgetary difficulty, this would surely be a sensible measure.Nevertheless, the overall tenor and direction is good. And yes, it is an assault, albeit subterranean, on the way things are currently done. But that's a good thing, when parents and teachers have no power and no choice.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Jim Naughtie, commenting on the debate around the government's schools policy: