Sunday, 9 May 2010

Power Corrupts

In my youth, I could never see the sense of the saying Power corrupts: absolute power corrupts absolutely. It seemed to have no logical basis. But, in the UK, our experience of "strong" third term governments with large majorities seems to make the point.

Obviously Thatcher was a bully from the off; and Blair compromised on so much that it was never strictly accurate to call it a "Labour" government.

But the absolute power that absolutely shocked me [putting aside the weapons of mass unlikelihood], was the amount of educational expert advice which was dismissed and ridiculed, and even left unread.

The Cambridge Primary Review [published October 2009], welcomed by most educationalists was sneered at Eddie and Vern. They misunderstood the most basic of reccommendations: that formal education shouldn't start till after children are six. They took this to mean no schooling till seven, and publicly dismissed the report almost as it was published.

Price Cooper Waterhouse concluded in their recent report [2008?] that academies per se made no difference to standards. But still Eddie and Vern continued in their quest to de-stabilise inner-cities communities by mashing up and smashing up the bog-standard schools in order to produce no overall improvement at all. Lives lost, careers in tatters, families and friends separated, demand for mental health health services at breaking point, really really rubbish building erected at some public expense, communities in chaos, and what for? Well, for no overall improvement in standards.

And power also appears to corrupt locally. Let's take our local council, and its relation to City of Leeds School, one of the three schools which essentially this blog was set up to defend.

We have written letters as part of the "consultation" on closure and academisation. But as we have to submit our objections to the very company who is demanding our closure, we naturally don't trust the system. And we usually send copies of our objections to our councillors as well.

Our Head of History sent his objections, as per, round the councillors with a demand of notification of recipient opening it [there's probably a technical term for this]. And yes, one Leeds councillor, who will, in time, vote on closing this school, did not even open the email setting out quite rational arguments why it should stay open.

Add that to the Lib Dem councillor who publicly described City Of Leeds School as "poor", and you have to question what good is power if those wielding it don't do so in an informed manner. I am rather thinking that these people will eventually be taught a lesson by History itself.

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