A really good video about education and education policy. Good as a discussion starter or for extension work.
If you get the chance to listen to this, I would recommend it. Malcolm Gladwell explores the huge obstacles placed in the way of higher intelligent American children – it really supports the ‘myth of meritocracy’ thesis:
Carlos Doesn’t Remember
By Malcolm Gladwell / Panoply
Of the tens of thousands of talented, low-income students who graduate from high school every year in the United States, most never make it to universities appropriate to their gifts. America leaves an enormous amount of talent on the table every year. “Carlos Doesn’t Remember” explains why.
Crime and Deviance
Black British men, particularly Afro-Caribbean males are more likely to go to prison and under perform in schools. Suffering from material and cultural capital are often said to be key causes. However, most commonly, living in a single parent family headed by a female is seen as the biggest cause because young males lack a positive male model. At his ‘Manhood Academy,’ in North London, Davis Williams and several other black male mentors take on the paternal and fraternal roles they feel young men are missing.
Watch the video on the following link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-40287582
Free schools are a good example of a recent educational policy:
What are free schools?
Free schools are funded by the government but aren’t run by the local council. They have more control over how they do things.
They’re ‘all-ability’ schools, so can’t use academic selection processes like a grammar school.
Free schools can:
- set their own pay and conditions for staff
- change the length of school terms and the school day
They don’t have to follow the national curriculum.
Who can set them up?
Free schools are run on a not-for-profit basis and can be set up by groups like:
- independent schools
- community and faith groups
Why were they set up?
- greater choice for parents
- it is hoped that the schools will reflect the needs of a modern day student
- greater flexibility in learning
- increases competition and drives up standards
Why are they criticised?
A recent Public Accounts report has stated:
“While the department is spending significant funds in creating 500 more free schools, even in areas with no shortage of places, existing schools struggle to live within their budgets and carry out routine maintenance,” .
- they are being built in areas where they are not needed
- they are costing much more than previously estimated
- current schools need lots of funding but free schools are taking away this money
In Year 10 lessons we have been discussing some of the advantages and weaknesses of league tables. Coincidentally, it has recently been announced that Ofsted will investigate schools ‘gaming system’ to move up league tables.
Some schools are doing this by:
- Moving out students from some subjects because they will drag down results.
- Entering children for easy, non-academic qualifications so that grades will improve
- Entering students for subjects with overlapping content
Another video that questions the purpose of education: