A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Next entry: Celebrity death and morbid teenage poetry
Previous entry: Teaching practice was the only worthwhile thing (especially if it was at Eton)
Wednesday January 23 2008

Education arguments are big news here in Britain, especially in what used to be the broadsheets.  The headline at the bottom of the front page of today’s Times reads “Tory fudge on faith” (online it’s a bit more long-winded):

Parents who pretend that they have Christian beliefs in order to win places in church schools are doing the best for their children, David Cameron believes.

The Tory leader refuses to criticise the “middle-class parents with sharp elbows”. Asked for his views on the families accused of playing the system, he says: “I think it’s good for parents who want the best for their kids. I don’t blame anyone who tries to get their children into a good school. Most people are doing so because it has an ethos and culture. I believe in active citizens.”

Mr Cameron will learn this year whether his own daughter has won a place at a state-funded Church of England school in Kensington, West London.

This month The Times reported a surge in late baptisms into the Catholic Church, further evidence that some parents may be finding religion at a convenient moment in their children’s education. Fears that middle-class parents are adopting religion to get their children into popular schools have led some Labour MPs to call for an end to the expansion of faith schools.

And I will now beat my free market drum.  The thing about markets is that demand creates supply.  But if the state is creating supply, there’s never enough of the nice stuff, and an oversupply of the rubbish stuff.  Hence all the political unpleasantness.

Today I had a brand new sofa bed delivered, from Peter Jones, with big, comfortable arms on which to rest my sharp middle class elbows.  This particular sofa bed is one of their most popular items, so the delivery men said, as they assembled it in my living room with practised ease.  Yet no blunt-elbowed lower class persons were denied sofa beds by my ruthless playing of the system, nor did I have to convert to Christianity.  Nor did the Leader of the Opposition need to defend my acquisitiveness, because nobody thinks I did anything wrong.  No fakery.  No fudge.

That is how education should also be delivered.