Some esoteric benefits of a parent-controlled education system

May 16, 2008 6:23 PM

Chris Dillow, at his Stumbling and Mumbling blog, sets out why a left-winger such as himself should like the education provided by private schools:

"It's education in the sense of "educere" - drawing out whatever latent talents a student has. If someone doesn't have the aptitude for academe, they are given the chance to excel at something else: the military, or music (Oakham School has a thriving music department) or sport: the school's county-standard facilities has recently helped it produce some fine cricketers.


[...]


1. It's child-centred, in the sense of trying to bring out the best in the student, even if this does not lie in a narrow academic curriculum.


2. It encourages the pursuit of excellence rather than effectiveness, to use MacIntyre's distinction. Classcial music, cricket and the army are no way to make great wealth, but they are practices which encourage accomplishment as a goal in itself. By contrast, the philistinic New Labour conception of "education" as mere preparation for making a living looks no higher than money-grubbing.


3. It entrusts professionals to know best how to teach, rather than strangling them in bureaucracy."

What is crucial to note about the advantages of a private education that Chris describes is that none of them rely on a huge income from fees.  What they rely on instead is freedom from the bureaucratic hierarchy.  That frees professionals and allows for a broader range of priorities in education.


A government official or minister, in Whitehall, will always see a child, to a certain extent, as a statistic and will miss their more esoteric talents.  Parents stand a better chance than any schools policy of identifying and encouraging the talents of their children.


School choice can ensure that all schools, and all children, enjoy some of the important advantages currently only available in private education.

Chris Dillow, at his Stumbling and Mumbling blog, sets out why a left-winger such as himself should like the education provided by private schools:

"It's education in the sense of "educere" - drawing out whatever latent talents a student has. If someone doesn't have the aptitude for academe, they are given the chance to excel at something else: the military, or music (Oakham School has a thriving music department) or sport: the school's county-standard facilities has recently helped it produce some fine cricketers.


[...]


1. It's child-centred, in the sense of trying to bring out the best in the student, even if this does not lie in a narrow academic curriculum.


2. It encourages the pursuit of excellence rather than effectiveness, to use MacIntyre's distinction. Classcial music, cricket and the army are no way to make great wealth, but they are practices which encourage accomplishment as a goal in itself. By contrast, the philistinic New Labour conception of "education" as mere preparation for making a living looks no higher than money-grubbing.


3. It entrusts professionals to know best how to teach, rather than strangling them in bureaucracy."

What is crucial to note about the advantages of a private education that Chris describes is that none of them rely on a huge income from fees.  What they rely on instead is freedom from the bureaucratic hierarchy.  That frees professionals and allows for a broader range of priorities in education.


A government official or minister, in Whitehall, will always see a child, to a certain extent, as a statistic and will miss their more esoteric talents.  Parents stand a better chance than any schools policy of identifying and encouraging the talents of their children.


School choice can ensure that all schools, and all children, enjoy some of the important advantages currently only available in private education.

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