Thursday 30 October 2003

I blame the parents

Another day, another education row. This time it's the plan to redraw Edinburgh's school catchment areas. Officially this is being done to make more efficient use of resources, taking into account population movements within the city.

But there's another agenda. A teaching union spokesman said:

...that he welcomed the prospect of redistribution of pupils: "We don’t have as comprehensive a system as we would like. I would like it to revert to that."
"We" would like. "I" would like. What about the parents?

Unsurprisingly the education establishment still supports the comprehensive system that has done so much damage in Scotland. The status quo is loved by the unions. Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution writes about the same phenomenon in the US:

From the standpoint of the NEA (the Teachers' Union). the American public schools are not a failure but a great big success. These schools provide NEA members with jobs where they have iron-clad tenure, automatic raises, and no accountability for bad performances by their students or themselves.
American public (i.e. state) schools are being dumbed-down just like here and with the same results. The reason is that schools are in the hands of the producer class and not the customers. I note that, as always, Judith Gillespie of the bizarrely named "Scottish Parent Teacher Council" takes the side of the producer establishment.

Look at the response expected from many parents.

The plan:

... is set to provoke a storm of protest among parents who have bought homes close to schools with the strongest reputations.
And the union spokesman predicted:
... that the plans will affect house prices in the city and may induce more parents to opt for private schools.
Regular readers will be expecting me to lambaste the city council at this point. Well, there'll be plenty of other opportunities for that. This time I'll have a go at the parents.

Many will have bought properties in areas served by the better schools in the city. The proposed changes will probably reduce the value of those homes. That's bad news. It is perfectly understandable that parents will have chosen properties so as to get the best education for their children but those who live by the state will die by the market. These parents have trusted the system; they trusted the state. And now they know better. They have found out the hard way. The lesson to be learned is this: If you want the best for your children's education - or for anything else worth having - DON'T RELY ON A POLITICIAN. The state is not your friend. Next time go private.