Sunday, April 08, 2007

Civitas on the TES piece

It's difficult for me to calmly review anything in connection with Civitas, the great single parent-haters, but someone on AHEd flagged up this post on the Civitas blog entitled 'Who's truanting?', by Anastasia de Waal, based on last week's piece in the TES. So I thought I'd have a look.

Most of the post simply concurs with Tony Mooney's depressing view that the lack of an enforced curriculum and required teaching hours is cause for alarm. I think it's really sad that so many people associate enforcement with education when it's blatantly not true. But they have no experience or evidence, presumably, of learning happening on a voluntary basis, so there's no reason for them to believe it does. The post also talks about truancy and deregistration in relation to bullying, as if the bullied child should just go right back for more on a daily basis ad infinitum, compelled by its parent. If that passes for logical thought nowadays, I'm on the wrong planet.

The last paragraph particularly interested me:
'It is ironic that excessively stringent regulation in formal schooling is countered with home-school regulation so minimal that no education at all is a possibility. But perhaps it isn’t all that ironic: that the activities of children in school are almost obsessively monitored, but that those outside the system are left to their own devices, lends credence to the theory that national inspection and Whitehall directives are more about government accountability than they are about child welfare.'

Government accountability? To the people, does she mean? Hmmm, I'm not sure national inspection and Whitehall directives are about that. Increasing central control, I'd have thought. Job creation. Change for the sake of change. Looking like they're doing something.. yes, that could be classed as government accountability I suppose.

My chldren spent time (about 3-4 years altogether) in two different schools before we deregistered. The first was an old-fashioned village school which focused more on the children's happiness than their educational results and the second, in a commuter-belt, was far more driven - determined to preserve its place at the top of the league table. Needless to say, the children at the first school were learning far more than the children at the second. The difference was astounding and is enough proof to me that national inspection, Whitehall directives and all the other rules, regulations and meddling interventions that government imposes on education - are so counterproductive that their true purpose must be the dumbing-down of society.

The fact that so many people don't see it seems to me to prove how well it's working.


Blogger Tim said...

I think she meant accountability to Government.

I htink she the article was ambiguous - she explains herself in the comment thread rather better than she has in the article itself "That home-educators have - to date - escaped the clutches of government control is as incredible as it is a triumph. Once home schools fall into OFSTED's remit, as now seems all too likely, the freedom which has allowed a great deal of excellence in home schools, will be sadly narrowed." and so on.

10:48 am, April 08, 2007  
Blogger Gill said...

Oh yes! Do you know, I tried so hard to read that post with an open mind because of the Civitas connection - but I totally missed the comments! Yes I like what she has to say there and in the rest of that comment.

12:15 pm, April 08, 2007  
Blogger Carlotta said...

I did find that Civitas post exceedingly annoying also...for the reasons that both you and Tim mention, but also for the lack of transparency insofar as it made it look as if it was open for comments and yet the author apparently edited out a lot of comments she received, even though they were written entirely appropriately.

So to a degree, dishonest in that regard, I would say.

1:08 pm, April 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anastasia said...

Just to say that as far as I am aware all comments on the Civitas blog are posted - and if an individual comment has been edited then I suspect it was only for brevity's sake. (I didn't post them). Although there is clearly disagreement about some aspects of the post (although this seems to be mostly down to my unintentional ambiguity!), I'm glad that it has at least generated discussion.

4:13 pm, April 10, 2007  

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