Wednesday 16 July 2003

Bring back real education

According to Arthur Herman Scotland was Europe's first modern literate society. Male literacy was 75% by 1750 at a time when it had reached 53% in England. By the time he was sixteen, Robert Burns, the son of a poor farmer, had studied "Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, Addison's Spectator essays, Jethro Tull on agriculture, Robert Boyle on chemistry, John Locke, and enlightenment writers in the original French." So what of the present day? Things aren't quite right:
A DEVASTATING critique of adult literacy and numeracy in the Scottish workforce emerged at Westminster yesterday as the government and trades unions stood accused of neglecting the low-skilled, low wage earners in Labour heartlands throughout the UK.

The finger of blame was also pointed at Scottish education, which was said to have "let down a whole generation"

I suppose we should be glad that some Labour politicians realise that the state education system isn't working. I wasn't too surprised, though, to read that other statists are fearful of the alternatives:
MINISTERS have been accused of putting children at risk of abuse and poor teaching by scaling down checks on children who are not enrolled for school.

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) claims that the Scottish Executive has caved in to pressure from the vocal lobby of parents who teach their children at home.

And what's wrong with homeschooling?
Mrs Coner (of the SPTC) accused the home education groups of taking a narrow view. "This is a vocal lobby which is very much into independence and being in control. But we have to provide measures for children in a wide range of situations. I think the Executive has bowed to pressure from them"

Mrs Coner said that the SPTC, believes it is overall not in the best interests of children for them to be educated at home. She said however that parents have the right to do this and many "do a fantastic job".

Although Coner admits that some homeschoolers "do a fantastic job" she clearly dislikes parents who are "very much into independence and being in control." Surely it's much better to have parents having independent and direct control over their children's education rather than trusting the next generation to a failed state system.