I hope that my Twitter stream and culture in Further Education report demonstrates my passion for education, social mobility, organisational culture and questioning the status quo. Anyone who knows me in real life will also be aware of a slight anti-authoritarian, anti-bureaucracy streak that I can tend to display on occasion.
The Victim of Politics
I have also cited Ayn Rand in my blog a number of times previously, including a post where I weigh up Rand's Objectivism with Adam Grant's ideas on Give and Take. In this post I include Rand's comment about politicians from The Fountainhead;
"A man cannot rob, exploit or rule - alone. Robbery, exploitation and ruling presuppose victims. They imply dependence. Rulers... create nothing. They exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects in the activity of enslaving. They are as dependent as the beggar and the bandit"
I find it difficult to untangle my views of the politicians and education because it is the political classes' record of education and social mobility that makes me the angriest:
- Politicians are responsible for state education... but they all send their kids to private education.
Now I have absolutely no issue with private education or charter schools, my issue is around the question of "How many CEO's run a company but then personally use a competitors product/service instead of their own?"
- Whether this plays a role in maintaining the class system or not, the country remains "Deeply elitist and locks out diversity at the top"
- The areas of deprivation in the UK have remained unchanged since Dickensian times
- Educators who should be amongst the highest paid job in the land, are treated with mistrust and suspicion.(This is ironic when the public know that teachers are one of the most trusted professions)
- Education policy and what the system assesses for leaves a lot to be desired
Whether manipulating FE through the funding they get to improve the NEET figures or decimating the sector with budget cuts, politicians have not been a positive force in FE.
One minute they'll give FE targets to increase the number of 16-19 year olds and introduce EMA... the next it's all about adult learning, scrapping EMA and decimating the sector as 30% of staff have left because of redundancy and/or people tired of all the changes and low morale.
The first thing Gordon Brown did was establish BIS, David Cameron scraps National Indicators, Every Child Matters, Healthy Colleges, and for what "The Big Society" ... what a failure that was! But it's too late, all the things that were starting to show promise is gone.
None of these sweeping changes seem to be with much consultation with the sector. Therefore, my vote on the 18th Sept "Yes" and will be in protest against these politicians decisions but in support of this group of hard working educators.
This unfortunate treatment of educators is all the more problematic when we consider this "Right Honourable" groups' more favourable treatment of others or their "unparliamentary" behaviour: They seem to have looked after themselves alright with lavish expenses, 10% wage increases for being useless (Compared with 1% for MSPs), bailing out their "old boys" at the banks and their inappropriate "cozy" relationships with the media.
Regarding these media relations and education policy a cynic might argue that the dumbing down of education is part of an elaborate conspiracy...that they;
1) Try to keep adult reading to the ability of a 5 year old
2) Discourage critical thinking so people will believe what they read in the media, then
3) They cosy up to media moguls who produces content that a 5 year old can understand, and...
Viola you have the keys to the kingdom! This is why I see no conflict with airing my views and support for independence on Twitter. I am not an ardent SNP supporter, neither do I necessarily want to be separate from the rest of the UK.
However, what I do want, is to see better decisions being made for my kids and other peoples children... I can't see the status quo delivering this (esp as they have been failing at it for decades, if not centuries!), so I feel change is necessary. I don't believe that the SNP and/or an independent Scotland would have the same record with education or class division and elitism.
Political and Career Suicide?
What about my career I hear you ask? It is my view that politicians either don't care or are too incompetent to make a difference in education, so why would anyone who is interested in UK education reform want to ingratiate themselves with any politicians? Besides that horse may have already bolted.
Please find below the start and conclusion of my introductory correspondence to the new MP for Further Education in the UK. If nothing else no one can accuse me of hypocrisy:
Introduction to MP on 4th Aug
“I thank you for your email, I have now left FE and I get a lot of spam and don’t have time to deal with every automated or canned response that I get. I think that the work that politicians in every party and across every generation provide so much value and are doing such great work. Please do keep it up, you’re doing a great job! Your fantastic. All politicians rock!”
Ironically this letter got the most positive and comprehensive reply I've ever had from an MP... Go figure!
Why not you? Why not us? Why not now?
The people who will make a difference are the ones who care enough to, the people who are organising the collection and distribution of food to help the most marginalised and vulnerable children... our educators!
It's not just that he political classes have not helped... They have actually played a significant role in creating a lot of the challenges within education. Be the change! As Russell Wilson says "Why not you. Why not us? Why not now?