Wednesday, December 8, 2010

First McDonalds, Then Starbucks, Now Education Deform Hits England

English School Girls, Photo by Ken

De-Professionalizing Teachers, English Style

The “Education White Paper,” published on November 24, outlines the British plan to place trainee teachers in classrooms throughout the country (kind of like the de-accreditation and TFA movements in the U.S.) The government intends to abolish the requirement that teachers obtain a 1-year post-graduate degree. They are also discussing the implementation of national core standards and increasing standardized testing, including the addition of a new test for six-year olds. Sound familiar?

Militarizing the Schools
Michael Gove, Secretary of Education, wants to fast track “high fliers” to get them into positions of educational leadership quickly. He especially wants to get recovering soldiers into the classroom, where they can impose their well-honed discipline on unruly urban youth. The new plan also gives head teachers much more power to search students, detain them, and use “reasonable force.”

Privatizing the Schools
Failing schools will be forced to become privately run (but publicly funded) “academies.” All this is coming amidst huge education cuts that threaten teaching jobs, course offerings and services. Teacher salaries have been frozen, while the government has abolished national negotiations over teacher pay, giving local head masters more power to control individual teacher salaries. The Department of Education has also threatened to publish teachers’ qualifications, sick leave record, and pay, giving even more leverage to head masters wishing to discipline their employees.

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