Monday, 3 May 2010

On the De Facto Monopoly of State education

and the thought by some that the market has no place there because it creates winners and loses.

Markets create winners and losers, for sure, but it is almost always the customer that is the winner and the poorly performing provider that is the loser. If the poor performer learns their lesson, they can become a winner again.

Education is not there to provide employment for teachers.

I will say that again. Education is not there to provide employment for teachers.

If you have just enough places for pupils, you must rely on proactive intervention to fix a bad school and bad teachers. There is no hard, unavoidable incentive otherwise for bad schools to fix themselves, i.e. teachers standing in front of empty classrooms.

Just think of coming into a town where there are just enough restaurant settings for all the people who wish to eat. How good will those restaurants be? What value would you get? What service?

Some will be natural restauranteurs, dedicated and provide a great service. The queue will be round the block.

The others will still have no HARD need to change, for they will get customers through the door. No, not just customers, they will have a full house! Every night! A full house of customers with no choice remaining, no option but have their money taken in return for what? Slops. If a fight kicks off in the restaurant and you struggle to eat, if at all, then hard cheese.

As long as there is one substandard State school in this de facto monopoly, the State is failing children and guilty of all manner of injustices. One could almost include false imprisonment.

Now, back to a proper world:

A surplus of restaurants and tables will still result in the best places having a queue round the block, but the “unlucky” will still be infinitely more lucky in their second, third or even fourth choices than in the previous scenario, for a bad restaurant will be almost always empty and people will not come back the moment they learn of something better.

Anyone who tries to assert that “education is not like a restaurant” is, I am afraid, howling at the moon and trying to maintain their own delusions by trying to convince others of the same folly they believe in.

Education is not there to employ teachers. Bad teachers should be unemployed teachers. With surplus spaces, bad teachers will be confronted with the choice of “improve or die”. I am quite certain the overwhelming number will improve and most will rapidly become good teachers. Those who cannot improve? What are those who object to surplus places now saying? That you WANT to keep those unreformable teachers in front of my kids? To hell with you!

The conceit is of those who think they can reform a monopoly. No they cannot. They think they are or could be so in control, or know of someone else so in control and so talented, more talented than the combined energies of all the minds of all the parents? Show me these √úbermensch! Bring them forth!