Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Schooling & Socialism.

Public school headmaster and Blair biographer Antony Seldon has claimed that:
fee-paying schools were perpetuating a two-tier education system by dominating "the best pupils, the best teachers, the best facilities, the best results and the best university places" - but doing little for children whose parents cannot afford fees.
Much as Ferrari does little for me as I can't afford one. Seldon appears to believe that public schools can fend off attacks from the left by offering a 50% surrender and accepting the arguments that independent schools do better because they somehow take from the state sector. There isn't some fixed quantity of good teachers that the private sector monoplises, it's just that the state sector offers few incentives for the most able people to enter or remain in the profession and often actively rewards incompetence. I've heard of schools promoting bad teachers in order to encourage them to take retirement (they have final salary linked pensions), because they are unsackable, whilst good teachers don't get paid any more than useless ones.

As for facilities whilst his tier of school probably has magnificent facilities quite a lot of the independent sector consists of schools whose fees are below what the government spends per pupil on education and so their facilities are in fact more basic than those of nearby state schools.

Unsurprisingly the Seldon approach of 'feeding the crocodile' doesn't work, and actually encourages further attacks on schools like his.

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