Joined: Jan. 2006
[quote=Stephen Elliott,Jan. 22 2006,12:57][/quote]
|While I think state education is a good thing in principle. It does not seem to be managed with excellence.|
I think you can say that about every single human endeavour that you can think of. Every single one. No exceptions.
I start more from broad observations that mandatory basic education is necessary to further peoples betterment and self fulfillment etc. This has historically been state provided, and I cannot see how it can be provided any other way. So, going from this, the question becomes how can we improve things as much as possible given certain constraints like money, time etc etc. For example, smaller class sizes do help somehat to improve test scores. Great, lets reduce class sizes from 30 to 20! But then we need lots more teachers, and more money to spend on them.
Then, managed excellently. I have worked full time in 3 different private companies (I have a chemistry degree). All of them exhibited definite lacks of management excellence. From reading newspapers, I have gathered that some failing schools show a lack of excellence, but when you put a good headmaster/ mistress in place, change a couple of teachers, wait a year or two, then it improves. This suggests to me that said excellence depends as much upon the individuals involved as anything to do with the structure of the organisation etc.
As for benefiting teachers, I know a few teachers, seeing as my mother is a retired primary school teacher. They would chew you out for suggesting that the main purpose of state education is to benefit the teachers, but then they are good teachers- the problem is the bad ones and the people who aid and abet them. (And I have a story or two about that, but they can hardly be aried on a public forum.)
I am too young to rember the grammar school, but the problem with the grammar school system that I recall reading about was that, well apart from being not "practical" enough in the modern sense, it also encouraged elitism.
As for admission standards, the simple question remains- what do you do with the children who cannot get into any school? Sure, some of them are obnoxious toe rags; others have a damaging and enervating home background which makes it almost impossible for them to get on in school.
Universities- I actually agree about the 50% target. I see it as some weird magic trick. I can see no reason to have 50% university educated, because a REAL university education is not suitable for everyone. Sure, i liked some of it, but I'm part intellectual. I would rather we copied germany, which last i knew had trades colleges and suchlike for pupils whose abilities lay less in essay writing or geekery, and more in woodworking or plumbing or design or suchlike.
Of course my occaisional rants about the british economy now being a service oriented one where just about any skill greater than paper shuffling or smooth talking salesmanship doesnt seem necessary is nothing more than my own biased opinion and is said somewhat tongue in cheek. Yet I am sure you know that it sounds good to say that 50% of our youngsters are university educated, even if they never do anything with the degree, and its comparatively worthless compared to old degrees because the modern ones involve much more regurgitation of facts and less actual thinking.
edited to add:
I'll get back to you about the church schools. Its not something I have really even come across, but your point deserves some consideration.