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Slothrop
20-05-2010, 02:56 PM
Can anyone explain how this idea is meant to work? The concept of competition in secondary education just makes no sense to me.

I guess what I'd like is a worked example of what happens in terms of funding etc if you have an area with N schools providing places for the P pupils and a coalition of parents or a private company or whatever decides to set up a new school or five.

Also, why is it always taken as a given that moving schools out of local government control is neccessarily a good thing? How often do the teachers on here find themselves thinking, "damned local government, if only I was under central control I'd be able to do X, Y and Z"? Why not just change the way that local government handles education, if it really does cause problems?

Slothrop
25-05-2010, 03:22 PM
So it /is/ completely unintelligible, then?

Mr. Tea
25-05-2010, 03:39 PM
Well what do you mean by:


The concept of competition in secondary education just makes no sense to me.

?

Do you mean, competition between schools for resources, i.e. money/teachers? Or competition between parents to get their kids into a certain school?

Edit: ahh, gotcha.

matt b
25-05-2010, 03:39 PM
"Rather than going to a terrible local comprehensive that those oikish ruffians attend, the middle classes can now have their own nice school."

(from the Tory election manifesto)

hucks
25-05-2010, 03:43 PM
Ha, yeah

What I don't get is the deliberate overprovision of education. In free schools, you have to have overcapacity, so people can move around. That's pretty expensive.

Also, there's a suggestion from the guy who runs the schools in Sweden that it won't lead to any imporvement (ha, spelling).

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/feb/09/swedish-style-schools-wont-raise-standards

Also, look at Michael Gove's funny face!

matt b
25-05-2010, 03:46 PM
Also, look at Michael Gove's funny face!

well, he is looking into the future.

crackerjack
25-05-2010, 03:46 PM
Also, look at Michael Gove's funny face!

And Toby Young.

Surely it's OK to hate a policy just cos of the people who like it, yeah?

matt b
25-05-2010, 03:54 PM
Reach for the stars, Mr Gove:

"In the 2007 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss), Sweden's ranking for science fell further than any other country's. The Swedes have carried out similar international comparative studies, as well as detailed national research, which confirmed a drop in standards"

We can beat that, if we try.

Mr. Tea
25-05-2010, 03:57 PM
Recent international studies show that England is ranked higher than Sweden for pupils' maths and science knowledge.

Holy shit, did I just spot a favourable comparison of England to Sweden? About education? And in the Guardian?

Edit: ha, x-post with matt.

matt b
25-05-2010, 04:01 PM
Holy shit, did I just spot a favourable comparison of England to Sweden? About education? And in the Guardian?

That's because the Swedes are coming over here, swamping our schools to get the best of British education.

What do we get? We're banned from wearing an England shirt.

Not that the media would tell you that.

Slothrop
25-05-2010, 04:05 PM
Well what do you mean by:


?

Do you mean, competition between schools for resources, i.e. money/teachers? Or competition between parents to get their kids into a certain school?
The former, basically. The idea that you should have an education 'marketplace' where parents can 'choose' the best school for their kids (if they're lucky, otherwise they get stuck with a shit one, but so long as you use the word 'choose' often enough people forget that you can't all choose the same thing at the same time), the schools that everyone likes get more money and expand, and the ones that noone like get less money and get run into the ground, wasting a load of resources and permenantly fucking up the lives of any kids unfortunate enough to still be stuck at them.

And the associated idea that the reason that some schools (frequently underfunded ones in deprived areas) aren't doing well is because they teachers aren't under enough pressure from the Glorious Profit Motive and if they were they could come up with an 'innovative' and 'creative' way to deal with large classes and bugger all money.

Mr. Tea
25-05-2010, 04:27 PM
The former, basically. The idea that you should have an education 'marketplace' where parents can 'choose' the best school for their kids (if they're lucky, otherwise they get stuck with a shit one, but so long as you use the word 'choose' often enough people forget that you can't all choose the same thing at the same time), the schools that everyone likes get more money and expand, and the ones that noone like get less money and get run into the ground, wasting a load of resources and permenantly fucking up the lives of any kids unfortunate enough to still be stuck at them.


This sounds like the situation we have already, though (only moreso) - that familiar triangulation of league tables, catchment areas and house prices - right?

Except that at the moment, the 'choosing' is done implicitly, when families who can afford to move into the catchment areas of high-performing state schools.

Slothrop
25-05-2010, 04:37 PM
This sounds like the situation we have already, though (only moreso) - that familiar triangulation of league tables, catchment areas and house prices - right?

Except that at the moment, the 'choosing' is done implicitly, when families who can afford to move into the catchment areas of high-performing state schools.

But currently, if you have an area where there are N prospective pupils then the government will provide N places in local schools, and ought to be trying to make sure that they're all of a decent standard. Under a 'competitive' system, you'll have a load of schools attempting to provide places for the pupils, presumably with a total potential capacity greater than N, and the ones that are good will fill up their capacity and make PROFIT (under the swedish system) while the ones that aren't won't and will make a loss, compromise the kids education via their money saving measures, and presumably eventually go under.

droid
25-05-2010, 05:02 PM
The former, basically. The idea that you should have an education 'marketplace' where parents can 'choose' the best school for their kids (if they're lucky, otherwise they get stuck with a shit one, but so long as you use the word 'choose' often enough people forget that you can't all choose the same thing at the same time), the schools that everyone likes get more money and expand, and the ones that noone like get less money and get run into the ground, wasting a load of resources and permenantly fucking up the lives of any kids unfortunate enough to still be stuck at them.


Sorry to go a bit OT, but the 'choice' meme is an interesting one that's come up a lot lately in support of privatised institutions or attempts to change private to public or vice versa. It was the main right wing buzzword during the health reform debate in the US... Provide free healthcare or insurance and you take away the 'choice' people have to choose the 'best care available', despite the fact that only a small minority can make that 'choice' to begin with.

Its all nonsense really. Monstrously inefficient nonsense at that.

Mr. Tea
25-05-2010, 05:22 PM
But currently, if you have an area where there are N prospective pupils then the government will provide N places in local schools, and ought to be trying to make sure that they're all of a decent standard. Under a 'competitive' system, you'll have a load of schools attempting to provide places for the pupils, presumably with a total potential capacity greater than N, and the ones that are good will fill up their capacity and make PROFIT (under the swedish system) while the ones that aren't won't and will make a loss, compromise the kids education via their money saving measures, and presumably eventually go under.

But what happens then - to the kids who were attending the now-closed schools, I mean? Would they end up also going to the 'good' schools which, as you say, would have to provide over-capacity anyway? You can't just have hundreds of thousands of kids with no school to go to.

[Or will society be so screwed up and unequal by then that they'll all end up crammed into some kind of sprawling borstal-gulag? :slanted:]

Good points from droid about 'choice', it does just seem to be a buzzword implying privatisation of services and the provision of good services to those who can afford them and naff-all to anyone else, very insidious...

Slothrop
25-05-2010, 05:42 PM
But what happens then - to the kids who were attending the now-closed schools, I mean? Would they end up also going to the 'good' schools which, as you say, would have to provide over-capacity anyway? You can't just have hundreds of thousands of kids with no school to go to.

[Or will society be so screwed up and unequal by then that they'll all end up crammed into some kind of sprawling borstal-gulag? :slanted:]
Well yes, that's exactly my question.


Good points from droid about 'choice', it does just seem to be a buzzword implying privatisation of services and the provision of good services to those who can afford them and naff-all to anyone else, very insidious...
Yes totally agree.

In the context of education it's idiotic. The most sensible meaning for it is that if you've decided that little timmy, age 10, is going to be a brilliant viola player or is 'really good at sport' then you can send them to a school that specializes in that - which is still utterly stupid but appeals to parents. The other is the 'choice' between a good school and a bad school, which either involves people forgetting that for everyone who 'chooses' the good school someone else has no choice but to go to the bad school, or assuming that some people (ie poor people) actually go to schools with crap facilities, discipline problems, poor academic records and so on because they prefer that.