Posted by: Ian | April 25, 2009

We Don’t Need No Education (or the National Curriculum at least)

There are two secondary schools within walking distance of my house. One of these, which consistently has the highest GCSE results in the area, adopted a unique educational philosophy recently. The head of this school approached the local chamber of commerce and asked the apparently sensible question – “What are you looking for in our school leavers”. They then geared the (little) freedom they have been granted by central government towards matching their pupils towards the needs expressed by the Chamber of Commerce.

What? WHAT?? What has happened to education? Has it really just become a factory to produce good little consumer drones and wage slaves? I thought education was supposed to be the means to equality and liberty. Instead we are enslaving our children, and brainwashing them to become the means of free market economic recovery. Absolute bollocks.

Education is supposed to help the individual see the world as it is, to have the skills to decode the messages that are thrown at young people from government, the media and society, and to be able to make an informed choice to participate or not. It is supposed to help people find out who they are, how they are made, and what their place might be in this world. It is meant to inspire a love of discovery and knowledge so that learning becomes a life-long experience.

Instead it has become a target driven, government sanctioned (think Miss Umbridge from Harry Potter), soulless, deadening 12 years before someone is thrown to the world of work to start climbing the consumerist ladder. Count me and my kids out.

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Responses

  1. What has happened to education? Has it really just become a factory to produce good little consumer drones and wage slaves?

    State funded universal education was always that. (And cannon fodder — Britain introduced compulsory education in the 1870s as a response to Prussia’s defeat of France in 1870-71).

    If someone does have a love of learning, thankfully these days there is the Internet, which I expect will increasingly be seen as almost as important in educating people as the formal education system.

    • Kind of. Except the State system allowed for a diversity of sizes, styles and patterns for a long time. For example, the reforms based on Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophy in the early 1890’s.

  2. Check out John Taylor Gatto, who goes into the origins of state schooling, and like Cabalamat says, it owes more than a little to Prussia

  3. Thanks. Gatto specifically refers to US schooling, although is very much in line with my concerns. Does anyone know of a similar work done for the UK?

    Also – I should clarify that Charlotte Mason’s biggest work was the ‘cottage’ school system outside of the state, the PNEU (Parents National Education Union) schools.


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