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Cheers - AE

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Lessons unlearned.

The amusingly named Ed Balls has announced that a new teaching licence is to be introduced to ensure Britain's teachers are fit to teach, starting next year with newly qualified teachers. Apparently this is going to be a way of weeding out sub-standard teachers.

Yeah, right. What has Balls actually said?
To keep the licence, teachers have to demonstrate that they have "up-to-date skills and learning to be effective in the classroom".
Mr Balls said: "This is not a problem we are addressing, although it may be that we will discover some teachers who do not make the grade and some who aren't relicensed."
Okay, so it's not specifically for the purpose of weeding out sub-standard teachers, right? Presumably the purpose is, as stated, to make sure teachers have "up-to-date skills" and are effective, and what Balls said is just that turfing out the hopeless ones will be a beneficial side effect. Except he's not said any such thing. All he's said is that some below par teachers maybe discovered, and even then there's nothing about actually sacking the twats er getting rid of them ahem, encouraging them to develop an alternative career strategy.
"If in the end there are teachers who move from school to school because they aren't succeeding and that's easier from the point of view of the school system than facing up to inadequacy then that's something we need to look at."
Look at? LOOK AT? What the fuck have your lot been doing for the last twelve fucking years, you incompetent cunt? When are you feckless fucks going to stop looking at things and actually fucking do something? Oh, but there's more:
The White Paper gives parents the legal right to take a school to court if they feel it is not meeting a new Parent Guarantee.
Under the guarantee, parents will have the right to clear information about their child's schooling, closer involvement with their child's progress through a designated personal tutor and more influence over the school.
Jesus H. Christ, the legal right to take the school to court? And while the wheels of British justice, famed throughout the world for their speed and efficiency, grind along the dissatisfied parents do exactly what? I mean apart from carry on sending the kids to the shithouse school that they're going to fucking court over. Big fucking deal, Balls.
Mr Balls said he believed legal action would be a last resort.
Of course, because it's fucking designed that way, isn't it?
He said the first port of call for concerns would be the school's governing body followed by appeals to outside agencies.
"If a parent feels that the school's governing body, the local government Ombudsmen and the Secretary of State is not delivering, then in the end there is legal redress."
He added: "Judicial review redress would be very much a last resort."
In other words legal action will be taken only by those with the most staying power and patience, because having to take all those steps before the last resort of legal action will just make the process even longer and more drawn out. Many parents will give up in the face of adversity and even the ones who stick it out to the bitter end and actually win will be aware that they are achieving fuck all improvement for their children while the process goes on. Nice job, Balls. Anything else?
The reforms also contained detailed proposals for the introduction of the US-style report card.
Every school will be ranked on a number of measures and given a final overall grade.
Sorry, don't NuLab's precious league tables perform this function? Even if it measures other things what good will it do if your child is fucking trapped there? That which we call a turd by any other name would smell as shite, Balls, and the very best of luck with polishing it.

All these ideas and proposals are typical NuLab micro-managing. Fiddle, tinker, tweak, write up the press release, but for fuck's sake don't commit to any actual reform in case the teachers and/or parents don't like it. And above all else don't unequivocally say that crap teachers will be let go, because even though parents might like it the teaching unions probably won't. So say more and measure more, but for fuck's sake don't actually do more. Of course the obvious answer is not for Balls & Co to do more at all, but to do much much less. Less protecting of bad schools by forcing people to send their kids to them. Less fucking about with pointless targeting that distorts teaching priorities. Less interference in what gets taught. In fact less of absolutely everything apart from funding, and even that could simply follow each individual child. Yes, vouchers, and otherwise hands off. If the government wants to run schools and attract voucher money back it can try, and since any government run schools would actually have to compete, I mean really compete, for the first time maybe they'd actually get better. But the shitters would and should die off as the good staff migrate to other schools that are attracting pupils and the bad ones find something they are good at.

The fact that Ed Balls isn't likely to be Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families for long, and quite possibly the last as well as the first in the job, is grounds for cautious optimism. Unfortunately the fact that the Tories under Cameron won't even consider new Grammer Schools doesn't offer much hope of anything as radical as vouchers. Perhaps national finances will force their hand, but I think after all these years in opposition the Tories won't have the, aha, balls to go near anything that looks remotely like a sacred cow.

H/T Libertarian Alliance.
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