Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Labour, education, and the LBJ question

      If Miliband asked himself the British version of the LBJ Question - What the hell`s the point of being Labour Prime Minister? would his answer take a moderate tone, with the emphasis on "tinkering with" rather than "transforming" our society? If education is anything by which to judge, I fear the answer is obvious. 
      Opposition to Gove`s unnecessary assessment changes has been feeble, and the response from the new, privately-educated spokesperson to the structural education reforms is unlikely to raise staffroom morale. Neither, unfortunately, will Hunt`s support for Performance Related Pay, which, as the teachers` unions repeatedly insist, is unsuitable for schools; similarly,renewing teaching licences is not required, whilst support for the employment of qualified staff, albeit sensible, seems to be the only "carrot" labour has for state educationalists. Hunt is, as a result of the E-Act shambles, being more vocal about Ofsted needing to be "allowed to inspect the management of academy chains", but a more robust response is required to this chaos in the DfE`s schools policy. 
       When academy chains, or individual sponsors, are seen to be failing to supply adequate education in the schools for which they are responsible, those schools should be returned immediately to the auspices of the local authority, not left in limbo until an "alternative academy sponsor", with, at best, somewhat dubious motives, can be found.
     Isn`t the point of being Labour Prime Minister that he can use the power at his disposal to reverse the misguided policies of previous administrations, and to enact the principles which he and his party hold dear? It`s not good enough to rely on the support of teachers because it will remove Gove, especially, as it seems, Goveism will stay! 
    When told by advisers that he had to be cautious about civil rights, LBJ said, "What the hell`s the point of the presidency?", and proceeded to initiate legislation. He knew it was his chance! Miliband will soon have a similar one.

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