Sunday, February 13, 2005

More on Mike Baker

Impressed with Mike Baker's piece on the purpose of schools and the role of the state in education in the last post, I took a look at his previous piece which was about education in Thailand:

Why Thailand? Well the parallels are uncanny. Starting at the top, both [Britain and Thailand] have prime ministers equally determined to drive through radical modernisation in schools.

Having been impressed by his thoughtfulness on the proper role of schools in society it was disappointing to read him sounding like a NuLab press officer. I cannot think of one reform to the schools system that the Government has made that could seriously be described as "radical". Behind all the rhetoric their approach to education could best be described as "don't offend the NUT".

The really radical changes in UK schooling seem to be coming from the start of cheap private education and the growth of homeschooling. Getting the state out of education delivery is radical. Tinkering with the curriculum isn't. Literacy hour isn't. Expansion of specialist schools isn't.

Mr Baker needs to remember that when he writes that the Prime Minister has a determination to drive through radical reform it is a matter of opinion. Those who believe that he has are largely by people of the left. From where I stand he is shrinking in the face of union opposition. I have my opinions and Mr Baker has his. But Mr Baker is obliged to be impartial in his reporting and it is hard to read this article of his as anything other than cheerleading.