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: Consent maketh manners
Previous entry: Harry Potter studies
Sunday April 27 2008

From today’s Sunday Telegraph, I learn two things.  The country’s most expensive schools are putting up their fees a lot, and revolting over league tables:

Eton and St Paul’s are to boycott this year’s exam league tables, claiming the focus on raw results is killing good teaching and damaging education.

The elite public schools are refusing to submit their results to the Independent Schools Council for publication in August, following the release of A-levels and GCSE grades.

Announcing the joint decision this week, Martin Stephen, the high master of St Paul’s boys school in west London, will also launch a scathing attack on the Government’s “politically driven” performance tables, published in January.

The “nonsensical” data, which give equal weighting to A-level physics and a qualification in flower arranging, is in effect lying to parents, he will say.

Bollocks.  He already has said it.  Sorry (as we English often say when we aren’t at all sorry but are in fact putting the conversational knife in and twisting it vigorously), but I have an extreme aversion to bullshit press release speak, even when what is being said is quite interesting.  See also this posting.  I believe I even feel a Samizdata attack on these cretinous creations coming on.

So anyway, what these two stories demonstrate is the difference between taking orders from the government, and taking orders from individual parental paying customers.  The government wants the appearance of educational improvement, or you don’t get your government money.  In state schools, that is to say, the government is the customer.  Parents paying for “private” education want actual education, in exchange for the horribly escalating fees they are paying.  And whoever is paying has a pretty good chance of getting what they are paying for.

Just why these fees are escalating is a whole different story, in my opinion.  I have my theories about that, which you will doubtless learn one day.  Just not this day.