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June 11, 2008

The Enemy Within British Education

Melanie Phillips via a kind reader:

In my book All Must Have Prizes, first published in 1996, in which I charted the disintegration of education and deconstruction of knowledge in Britain, I noted that this onslaught had resulted from the hijack of education by left-wing ideologues hell-bent on destroying British society. These people were entrenched in university departments of education. So when the government tried to address education decline by imposing a national curriculum and turned to the ‘experts’ to help them do so, the people who wrote that curriculum and sat on the curriculum boards and other education quangos were the very people who were doing the damage in the first place.

Twelve years on, Britain’s education system has disintegrated yet further and exactly the same kind of people are doing the same damage. Today’s Daily Mail reports that Professor John White, who specialises in ‘the philosophy of education’ and a government adviser on curriculum reform, says that children should no longer be taught traditional subjects at school because they are ‘middle-class’ creations and ‘mere stepping stones to wealth’ and that lessons should teach ‘personal skills’ instead.

The professor believes the origins of our subject-based education system can be traced back to 19th century middle-class values. While public schools focused largely on the classics, and elementary schools for the working class concentrated on the three Rs, middle-class schools taught a range of academic subjects.

These included English, maths, history, geography, science and Latin or a modern language. They ‘fed into the idea of academic learning as the mark of a well-heeled middle- class’, he said last night. The Tories then attempted to impose these middle-class values by introducing a traditional subject-based curriculum in 1988. But this ‘alienated many youngsters, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds’, he claimed.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at June 11, 2008 6:33 AM
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