Pushy parents who want to dictate how their child is educated should send them to private school, not set up a free one

Why’s that then?

You know, given that they’ve already paid the taxes to have their children educated?

20 thoughts on “Err, why?”

  1. I stopped reading at “One of the few reasons I am sometimes glad I don’t have children”.

    Are parents usually this obnoxious in giving advice to the dying alone crowd?

  2. Although to be fair to Ms Kite, she’s simply vocalising the pervasive attitude of our rotten state educational system, which is “shut up, we’re the experts and we’ll decide what and how to teach your children. You don’t like the fact that little Johnny can’t read properly? Exam pass rates are higher than ever, so who are you going to believe: us or your own lying eyes?”

    “Don’t like the fact that little Lucy can’t tell you who Oliver Cromwell was, but does know that Britain invented slavery and racism? It’s a good job we’re here to correct the bigoted parenting of people like you.”

    “Don’t want little Tommy playing the part of a dog poo snaffling transvestite in the school drama department’s production of John Waters’ Pink Flamingos? Don’t worry, we’ve already notified the social workers and they’re on their way to take him into care…”

  3. So Much For Subtlety

    Pushy parents who want to dictate how their child is educated should send them to private school, not set up a free one

    It seems like just last week the Guardian was telling us that pushy parents should be forced to send their children to State schools so that they will work hard to raise standards – as clearly the parents of the feckless and thick cannot be bothered to do.

    Oh wait, it was last week.

    Is Albert Hirschman’s argument against allowing parents any freedom to choose so that they will stay in the system and fight to make it better the most vile economic argument in recent times? I don’t know. I would respect his opinion more if he had done it himself and not fled Nazi Germany. But then I probably would never have heard of it.

  4. The attitude which drove the success of public schools in the Victorian age wasn’t “young Cuthbert will get the tailored education he needs and the school will bend to our whims”, it was “these people are experts who know what they’re doing; if we leave Cuthbert with them for 10 years they’ll make him into a gentleman; and if he doesn’t like it then sod him.”

    The whole concept that parents know more about education than teachers is novel, and pretty silly.

    Are parents usually this obnoxious in giving advice to the dying alone crowd?

    Yes. Oh god yes they are.

  5. Hi John –

    Hmm, perhaps. But then the Victorians generally knew what they were doing. Comparing then and now is like observing the difference between taking the advice of a skilled physician who went to Oxford and listening to a graduate in homeopathy and crystal healing from Scumbag College.

    The Victorians increased literacy and numeracy standards without the help of grade inflation. I’m also pretty sure Victorian teachers didn’t see it as their duty to “correct” children of the values their parents wanted to instil in them.

    “Yes. Oh god yes they are.”

    The future is probably going to involve a lot more obnoxious nagging then. 🙂

  6. Pushy authoritarians who want to dictate how other people’s children are educated should set up a free school to see if those people agree and send their children there.

    Can probably use this sentence interchangeably with health as well

  7. GlenDorran,
    They did – and require parents to pick schools without paying all that much attention to parental choice. State schools are chosen, or picked as easiest and cheapest choice, by parents.
    Some parents in recent decades have taken the step of home schooling their kids. Whether that’s better or worse for the kid it certainly avoids someone deciding how your kid gets educated.

  8. Let’s be careful with the Victorian analogies. Compulsory attendance only started in 1870, and then only from ages 5 to 10. Many parents would have preferred to put their children to work and contribute to the household finances, rather than have them attend school.

    It’s hard to make analogies with the modern world. Apart from anything else, you can’t even take on a 16 year old work experience kid without having his supervisor CRB-checked. (Actually this requirement has very recently been dropped, but it just goes to show how different our world is from the Victorian era.)

  9. @JohnB

    “The attitude which drove the success of public schools in the Victorian age wasn’t “young Cuthbert will get the tailored education he needs and the school will bend to our whims”, it was “these people are experts who know what they’re doing; if we leave Cuthbert with them for 10 years they’ll make him into a gentleman; and if he doesn’t like it then sod him.”

    The whole concept that parents know more about education than teachers is novel, and pretty silly.”

    You write a lot of nonsense, Band, but comparing the worse end of modern British comps (which are the ones most people want to avoid) to Victorian education is ridiculous, even for you.

    I’m very lucky that my children are being properly educated, but in answer to the question, ‘Do I know better what is good for my children than the teachers at our nearest comp, or Fiona Millar, or centralised bureaucrats?’ the answer is, yes, I do.

    For a start, I want my children to be able to read and write and do basic mathematics, which does seem (OECD) to be beyond the ability of many British schools (including our nearest comp) and their teachers to impart.

    People like you are the worst kind of leftist – wealthy and skilled enough to have got yourself out of the country, happy to consign tens or possibly hundreds of thousands of children to never having that chance, thanks to a vast experiment in governmental child abuse run by ‘people who know better’.

    This stupid bint normally writes for the Spectator about her on/off relationship with ‘the builder boyfriend’, a car accident she once had and her horse.

  10. I don’t think John’s comparison was a terrible one, although we probably draw different conclusions.

    I bet your average schoolboy in 1901 was considerably more literate, numerate, and knowledgeable about geography and history than his counterparts in 2013.

  11. The language used says it all – parents who don’t 100% trust the State education system are ‘pushy’ and ‘dictating’.

    Typical snobby authoritarianism from the Graun, as always.

  12. Of course the Victorians did not have to deal with the halfwit idiot teachers with their crap degrees and lack of knowledge, that we have today.

    Parents most likely do know more than teachers, boiled cabbages know more…..

    And Kite is just an ugly worn out old slapper.

  13. If the Victorians knew what they were doing with it all fell apart rapidly when the old lady died, so much so that one year later Arthur Balfour warned parliament that “England is behind all continental rivals in education”

  14. John B has a point. On the one hand, we do need free schools to have an alternative from failing public schools. On the other hand, experience from Sweden doesn´t show that parents send their kids to schools that have excellent outcomes. They (the non-government schools) have slightly better results, but this may just as well be a result of self-selection and grade inflation. The tendency is for the market leading schools to be the ones handing out free ipads, where kids will be lounging around on fatboys working on “projects” most of the time. Add the “market failure” of kids mostly wanting to go where their mates are going. That´s not to say that markets in education don´t work. Just that we probably won´t see a general move towards northern european kids rivaling Singaporean or Japanese kids in educational achievement, even with more free schools. Cultural factors and the level of ambition vs. other values in the specific society counts for quite a lot.

  15. PaulB also has a point, which is that the UK educational system has always been pretty decent at educating the elite and pretty rubbish at educating the bottom 75% (moving from grammars to comps hasn’t done much to change this in either direction – the top kids at comps still do OK, hence why the split at top unis is 60 comp / 40 state, and the kids who would have gone to sec mods continue to do badly.)

  16. @ john b
    “why the split at top unis is 60 comp / 40 state”
    Kindly elucidate what you mean to say: I am under the impression that comps are part of the state system,
    “(moving from grammars to comps hasn’t done much to change this in either direction – the top kids at comps still do OK,” is utter bullshit.

  17. What john b should have said was that top kids at top comps do okay. When we returned to the UK from 1995 to 2002 we were able to choose where we lived. We chose to live near the lovely town of Beverley, in the catchment area for Beverley Boys Grammar School (Grammar in name only) and Beverley High School for Girls. Our eldest son completed his education at BBGS and our second son only did 6 months of schooling in Australia. Both got First Class Honours degrees, one has a PhD and the other has an MSc and is studying for a PhD.

    Clearly they are bright lads, but the school certainly helped them achieve their potential. It would have been much more of a struggle had we lived down the road in Hull.

    I myself went to a grammar school so living in the catchment of a pretty average secondary modern didn’t matter to me. My eldest brother failed his 11+ but the primary school headmaster, recognising his obvious potential, got him into one of the few comprehensive schools in Surrey at the time (and one with a very good reputation) where he excelled, becoming the first person in our very working class family (both mother and father sides) to go to university.

    Your chances of a good education these days are largely dictated by your postcode if your parents cannot afford private fees.

  18. @ john b
    Since you haven’t deigned to answer, let’s deal with what I assume that you meant to say.
    Fifty years ago, the majority of Oxford undergraduates had attended grammar schools. i.e. more grammar school boys (and girls but 7 out of 8 undergraduates were boys) than public schoolboys and foreign students combined – bear in mind that Rhodes Scholars were a small but significant minority, especially in the Boat Race – so, although grammar school boys/girls outnumbered public school boys/girls overall.
    If there is now a 60:40 private:state split despite massive attempts by Oxbridge to attract and admit state school pupils including setting lower standards to compensate for their poorer education that means the ratio of private: state pupils has risen from 99% to 150%.
    I do not know what you define as “much” but most numerate individuals would class a shift of more than 50% in that ratio as “very much”.
    As for “the top kids at comps still do OK” – well I used to take my son to meetings of the local branch of the National Association for Gifted Children so I know that both the state primary school and particularly the comprehensives were failing to meet the needs, let alone desires, of the kids having talked to one or other parent of nearly every one of 3-400 kids who came during his years there (including one when he came back a few times to lead activities for younger kids after he left); not a single one was satisfied with provision for gifted children in the state education system – not even those who were teachers!

  19. I lost half a sentence above: it should read
    “so, although Cambridge had about 51% from public schools, grammar school boys/girls outnumbered public school boys/girls overall.”
    I might add that if you include other top universities, such as St. Andrews, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Nottingham, Durham and Bristol the grammar school majority was quite substantial. St Andrews was a top university in those days.

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