This report in the London Guardian
about the possibility of having something like charter schools (they call them academies) in Britain is revealing. Note this paragraph:
Steve Sinnott, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said the academies programme would be a priority at the unions conference. He described the initiative as "immoral" and said the union planned to set up local campaign groups to oppose each new school. "This is an experiment in childrens education," he said. "It is creating a situation in which the academies become schools that are more attractive to parents who have higher aspirations and more skills to find their way round the education system."
I am left speechless by such honesty. It is revealing, is it not? This is another story from a few months ago that helps explain PM Blair’s intention to revive inner city education with these private academies. (Thanks to Atlantic Blog).
When Blair spoke to Faithworks, an evangelical social action group, earlier this week, he characterized and embraced academy schools as part of his "faith-based initiative" (my words, not his). He further asserted that "[g]overnment on its own cant, from Whitehall,...educate the children in the classroom...."
I wonder where the NUT (nice acronym, eh?) is going to go, if Labour no longer toes their line? For a little more on this subject, see this post.
Yes, it is a nice acronym. When in England last year I saw a news program where an official of the National Union of Teachers was blathering on, and the accompanying text on the screen consisted of his name and beneath that NUT. Both amusing and accurate.
In teaching in the UK for many years (albeit at the university level), I learned that at least some British socialists consider any differences to be "inequalities", and therefore reprehensible.
For example, after I took a sabbatical, I was expected to indicate whether I had generated any additional income (e.g., from consulting), and, if so, what portion of my pay I was now going to forego as a consequence! The "logic" was that if Id done so (I hadnt), then Id have made more money than others my age (pay being determined solely by age, not by merit), and they considered to be patently unfair.
Theres your calibration on this mindset. Needless to say, I told them to get stuffed.
Occams Beard: Your point reminds me of something. I was in India meeting with Fulbrighters (I was running some Fulbright programs in DC) there. An American Fulbrighter in Delhi complained that she was getting paid about six times what the PM of India is getting paid (since we paid her, in dollars, what she was making at her university in the US). She said that this was patently unfair and we should pay American Fulbrighters on the local scale. I said that I really couldnt change all that, even if I wanted to (which I didnt), but I had an idea: I told her to give away most of her salary to those Indians (individuals or organizations) that she thought most worthy or most needy. She said no; it should be done by everyone according to this (newly proposed) law or regulation. But she wouldnt voluntarily do it. Perfect; very revealing.