A schools revolution

I highlighted in a recent post, a ludicrous lack of scientific knowledge by Michael Gove. This is perhaps unfair of me. So lets address what Gove is actually trying to do, which is reform Schools. Critics regularly assume that private school parents are rich snobs trying to avoid the lower classes. If you read the New Statesman you may assume this. Yet as I discovered in my undergraduate studies in Bristol – a school with a high number of privately educated students – this is an inaccurate caricature. Many parents make a number of sacrifices, such as remortgaging their houses, to afford such an education.
One of the craziest things about modern England, is education apartheid. In Northern Ireland, education reform has recently removed the transfer exam due to fears over elitism. And Elitism and obsession with snobbishness are very peculiar. They sometimes instantly stop debate, and instantly stop the pursuit of the truth. Calling someone ‘elitist’ in some circles is pejorative. Elitism does have a tendency to get redefined as ‘those who feel superior to other people’. This definition is what egalitarians might lean towards. The problem with egalitarians is that I lean towards a meritocratic ideal. I know well, that there are problems with that, as Young famously wrote society probably shouldn’t be completely meritocractic.
A recent Economist article which inspired the title of this blog post. Talked about the ‘educational DNA’ of the best private schools – independence, restless innovation, an impatience with excuses for failure and the unabashed pursuit of excellence.
Perhaps the academy system will offer some of this. I think what is most important in these discussions is to separate academic excellence from ideological or class discussions. Academic excellence should be the goal.Something I’ve noticed in my own education, is feeling embarrassed about pursuing excellence, or feeling that it is beyond me. This is a very toxic belief, and we all have some toxic beliefs. The Educational DNA mentioned above is also present in the Grammar School system that I went through. I don’t see how anyone should feel embarrassed about the pursuit of excellence. We after all want well educated people as doctors, and in government.

One thought on “A schools revolution

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