The government is being urged to tackle segregation in schools after research claimed that more than a quarter of all state primary schools across England and four in 10 state secondaries were ethnically segregated.

The study, which uses a new measure of segregation, also claims that 30% of primary schools and 28% of secondaries are split by socio-economic background.

Sigh, report here.

The over or under representation is done by comparing numbers in a school – by race or socio-economic background – with the census area.

A census area is a rather larger area than a school catchment area.


Oh dear, they didn’t really say this did they?

Johnson pointed out just how woeful the productivity performance of the UK economy had been since 2008. Growth in living standards depends on improvements in productivity, which in the years leading up to the financial crisis averaged more than 2% a year. In the nine years since 2008, Johnson noted, per capita incomes had grown by 2% in total.

“That’s nine years to grow as much as it would normally grow in one.”

What’s more, the productivity growth that has been lost will never come back. That’s because the Office for Budget Responsibility believes the UK has run out of spare capacity, which means the economy cannot grow any faster without generating inflation.

Ouch. Growth into spare capacity isn’t productivity growth. That is, instead, becoming more efficient at doing something and thus a change in the capacity of the economy.

The left has been in charge of education for 70 years now

In the future, if you want a job, you must be as unlike a machine as possible: creative, critical and socially skilled. So why are children being taught to behave like machines?

Children learn best when teaching aligns with their natural exuberance, energy and curiosity. So why are they dragooned into rows and made to sit still while they are stuffed with facts?

And the insistence is that as education isn’t working it’s not left enough.


No black academics have worked in senior management in any British university for the last three years, according to employment records.

Figures published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency record no black academics in the elite staff category of “managers, directors and senior officials” in 2015-16 – the third year in a row that this has happened.

Among the 535 senior officials who declared their ethnicity, 510 were white, 15 were Asian and 10 were recorded as “other including mixed”. Thirty senior academics either refused or failed to record an ethnicity.

The figures also show universities employ more black staff as cleaners, receptionists or porters than as lecturers or professors.

David Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham and a former higher education minister, said: “This is absolutely shocking. I am appalled that higher education is so deeply unrepresentative of the country.

“Universities talk about widening participation and fair access but the complete lack of diversity in senior positions sends out an absolutely dreadful message to young people from ethnic minorities who find themselves wondering whether university is for them or not.”

Umm, well. The figures don’t in fact show no one. They show only that no one declared that they are black. Which is indeed a mildly different thing.

Black is, for the UK, about 3%. So, among 500 we might expect 15 if it were a properly random distribution. But is it random?

Lammy’s assumption, that it’s the universities discriminating against, looks deeply suspect to me. One of the most painfully lefty and OC sectors of the British economy is openly discriminating against blacks? It’s t’other with bells on it.

Of course, that very denial only leaves us with the idea that black British culture somehow discriminates against academic success and that couldn’t possibly be right, could it?

SOAS again

It quotes black undergraduates who say their academic progress is being hampered by older white professors who cannot relate to them. “Both of my tutors are white men. How can I have a rapport and feel comfortable talking to a 60-year-old white man?” asks one. “Our experiences of life are so different and you’re coming from completely different places.”

You’re going to have to do a bit of work then aren’t you matey? This is an ageing and still largely white society. So you’re going to have to figure out how to relate to old white guys at some point.

Err, right, right,

They are said to be the founding fathers of Western philosophy, whose ideas underpin civilized society.

But students at a prestigious London university are demanding that such figures as Plato, Descartes and Immanuel Kant be largely dropped from the curriculum because they are white.

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)’s student union is insisting that when studying philosophy, “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia.

They say it is part of wider campaign to “decolonize” the university, as they seek to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism.”

And how colonialist is it to come to the old colonial capital city to study those dusty, possibly dusky, outposts?

A truly non-colonial education would take place in Harare, Yangon, wouldn’t it?


What we need now is a commitment to a much greater – and universal – equality of outcomes. Is that a liberal value?

From our ever popular Questions in the Guardian we can answer series.

Not how the argument is constructed:

Liberalism stands for the freedom of the individual and the sanctity of individual liberties – as well as the openness and plurality that Freedland prefers to celebrate. The right of the individual to freedom from regulation or restraint is the notion that has driven globalisation, market fundamentalism and our present, unfettered, toxic form of capitalism. And those are the forces that have stripped many of the Trump voters in the rust belt and Brexit supporters in the north of England of their security, their dignity and their hope for their kids. Clinton (both), Blair, Cameron, Obama, all social liberals, all drank the neoliberal Kool Aid. The failure of progressives to sever social liberalism from its economic counterpart has led us to this crisis (Clegg, take note). Brexit and Trump are in many ways the fruits of liberalism.

Apparently liberalism means you can fuck anyone you want but not buy an apple from them. Odd view of the world really.

This is very fun

DeVos is a strong advocate of charter schools and allowing parents to use vouchers for private and religious schools in the name of “choice”. Teachers’ unions condemned her appointment as a blow to equality of opportunity.

Definitely going to piss off the educational establishment – good. But what’s really fun is the Guardian’s use of the “” around choice. They can’t even admit to themselves that it really does just mean choice.

Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association, said: “Her efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students. She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers – which take away funding and local control from our public schools – to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense. These schemes do nothing to help our most vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps.

“She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education. By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities.”

The thing is Lily, charter schools and vouchers really, really, work, in gaining a better education for poor children.

Quelle surprise

Students at some of the UK’s most prestigious universities ‘live in crime hotspots where violence, sex offences and robberies are highest’
Students at the LSE are among the most likely to live in a crime hotspot

We could of course say that students cause crime – but beyond a bit of drunk and disorderly, few spliffs and a bit of leering that’s not really true.

But students are poor and poor areas have more crime…..

It’s a reasonable enough argument…..

New grammar schools are needed to stop rich families dominating best state schools through ‘selection by house price’, says Theresa May

Just last week we had a report that houses in catchment areas of good schools cost £50k more.

Of course, the response from the left will just be that we must have busing to overcome economic segregation.


This is why Jeremy Corbyn’s proposed national education service, even while its Maoist overtones are so strong, is so impressive. It starts with a principle that sounds like common sense: education is a public good.

No, no it isn’t. It is rivalrous and excludable, it is not a public good.

It is entirely possible that the effects of education are a public good. Adam Smith certainly argued that being part of a generally numerate and literate society is such and advocated public support of primary education as a result. This does not mean that tertiary education is the same though of course.

And yes, this is important. Public goods may be righteously subsidised. Private goods very much less so. And it’s also true that subsidy might not be the correct method of promoting public goods.

We’ve all an interest in the public good of innovation. But we don’t promote that through subsidy, we do it through patent and copyright.

Zoe’s starting the economic argument in entirely the wrong manner.

Close the Polytechnics!

One in four graduates in work a decade after leaving university in 2004 is earning only around £20,000 a year, according to a new study.

Too many graduating from places it’s not worth graduating from.

Shut ’em down.

It would be seriously interesting for a country to roll back the years here. What really would be the effect of having only 10-15%, again, of the age cohort going into tertiary academic education? I think it would be beneficial…..

Not entirely sure this will work you know

School pupils are to be given an extra week off school in the autumn to help parents with the cost of expensive holidays.

Brighton and Hove City Council has announced that the traditional week-long autumn half-term break will be doubled for state schools from October 16 2017.

Councillors hope changing the school holiday timetable will allow parents the flexibility to take cheaper breaks outside the expensive peak summer holiday period.

Holidays are more expensive because the schools are off. Extending the period that the schools are off will extend the period that holidays are expensive.

Of course, if the school systems started to stagger their holidays then that would work but that requires the sort of coordination I wouldn’t expect from British local politicians. Although the French seem to manage it easily enough….

The troubles of American life

Maximo Cortez has worked part time for Starbucks in Houston, Texas on and off over the last eight years, first while in school and now to save up some money. Cortez, a transgender man, is trying to accumulate enough to afford top surgery, something that will cost him $10,000. Meanwhile, he also needs to pay back student loans, pay his car expenses, and try to afford his apartment.

“Giving everyone a 5 percent wage increase, from barista to management, that’s a great step forward,” he said. But for him, currently making $8 an hour, that increase won’t mean much. “It won’t even be a dollar,” he noted.

That degree was useful then, yes?

My word this really is a surprise

a. A 2-year degree from the Community College of Denver in Dental Hygiene has an ROI of $612,991, which are the additional earnings a graduate can expect to earn over 20 years compared to a high school graduate. Average first-year wages are about $61,000 and the cost of the degree is less than $16,000.

b. A 4-year degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder in Women’s Studies has an ROI of only $173,545, at a cost of more than $92,000 and estimated first-year earnings of only $23,461.

Actually, I’m amazed here. The Women’s Studies degree still has a positive ROI? It won’t when we include opportunity costs….

Shocking, horrors, eh?

From a PR email:

Eight in 10 U.S. adults with student loans (81 percent) say they made financial or personal sacrifices because of the amount of their loans.

Presumably it would be better if everyone had to struggle with their tax bills to pay for the university educations of other people?