Monday 7 February 2005

The politically motivated attack on education

The proposed new charities' law will have a profound effect on Scotland's private schools
Frank Gerstenberg, former principal of Scotland’s biggest independent school, George Watson’s College in Edinburgh, said an end to charitable status would drive up fees and threaten bursaries, preventing some children from less privileged backgrounds from going to private schools.

He also claimed some MSPs were motivated by "politics" rather than economic or educational considerations in driving through changes to the charitable status of private schools.

Of course politicians are motivated by politics - what else? I have little doubt that the "combination of MSPs from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP" would like nothing better than to kill off private schools completely. As long as private education exists it shows up the deplorably low standards of the state sector.

Note this:

The new definition of charity would require all charities to provide a "public benefit", and MSPs on the communities committee, which is considering the bill, believe this would rule out most, if not all, the private schools in Scotland.
I would argue the opposite: If politicians were to restrict the state to its proper functions (if any) the question of tax-relief for charities wouldn't arise in the first place. In the meantime, ensuring that at least some Scots children get a decent education is a "public benefit" of the highest order.


David Farrer said...

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24 February 2007, 20:26:33 GMT
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Andrew Duffin
My thinking was insufficiently clear, and you are all correct - the money doesn't belong to the State in the first place. 
Whatever, that does give the State a stick with which to beat private schools, and it's used, e.g., to force them to open their facilities (such as sports grounds and theatres) to non-paying non-customers. 
That sort of thing is what the private schools would be better off without. 
Slightly higher fees seems a reasonable price to pay.

10 February 2005, 11:16:17 GMT
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David Farrer
But the state isn't "taking money out of ordinary workers' pockets and using it to subsidise the education of Scotland's elite". Not taxing isn't the same as subsidising unless you start from the premise that money belongs to the government and that they generously allocate some of it to the populace. What's being proposed is to take even more tax from the parents of privately educated children.

9 February 2005, 15:25:35 GMT
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Andrew Ian Dodge
But its fine for the state to take money out of everyon'e pocket to give money to a rubbish state system right? Why not give the money back to the taxpayer and let them chose how to educate their children?

9 February 2005, 10:49:49 GMT
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_As long as private education exists it shows up the deplorably low standards of the state sector_ 
That would be a valid comparison to make if the socio-economic status and backgrounds of the intakes into the private and state sectors were anywhere near comparable. Unfortunately they aren't, so it's nonsense...and I'm kind of wondering why a libertarian blog like this supports the state taking money out of ordinary workers' pockets and using it to subsidise the education of Scotland's elite, anyway?

8 February 2005, 19:57:17 GMT
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Geoff Matthews
Gotta agree w/ Hew on this.  
On the public benefit issue, presumably, Scotland will have need of highly educated workers in the near future. If, for nothing else, to pay the taxes necessary to maintain the worker's paradise of high welfare benefits. Those things aren't free, you know.

8 February 2005, 15:44:50 GMT
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Hew BG
"Taking the State's money" 
The money belongs to the taxpayer until the State takes it. NOT the other way round.

8 February 2005, 12:34:42 GMT
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David Farrer said...

Andrew Ian Dodge
Yes I would have to agree with you AD on that one. Any time you have a status or take money from the government they will meddle. For similar reasons I don't agree with religious institutions being tax exempt either.

8 February 2005, 11:50:27 GMT
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Andrew Duffin
I don't think anyone will be killed in the rush of SNP activists supporting freedom in education  
otoh I do think the private schools would be better off without charitable status. 
They'd be less vulnerable to bullying and general meddling. If you don't take the state's money, you don't need to do its bidding.

8 February 2005, 11:33:14 GMT
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Its for a simple reason Andrew, if you don't educate people its easy to ensure they never rise above their station in life, and that suits the Labour party very nicely.  
Their whole stagnant, statist, benefit-oriented subculture termed "the inclusive society" depends upon keeping people imprisoned in their ignorance. 
However no doubt Stuart Dickson will be along to tell us about how the SNP will be fighting this measure in their inimitable Bruce at Bannockburn way.

7 February 2005, 20:08:41 GMT
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Andrew Ian Dodge
Well said David and I agree completely. I have never quite understood why the left, who obviously believe in education, are against people getting the best education they possibly can.

7 February 2005, 12:16:35 GMT