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March 26, 2007

Raising the School Leaving Age

Fabian Tassano is getting very hot under the collar about the mooted rise in the school leaving age. An immoral infringement of civil liberties indeed.

In his comments section there's a link to the DfES consultation paper where you can register your views.

Chris Dillow is also on the case.

My reactions are here and here:

Apolpogies, but we The State are so incompetent at the process of educating you that we've decided to steal a further two years of your lives.

March 26, 2007 in Academia | Permalink

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Comments

Indeed.

And on the contrary, isn't it long overdue that we abolished compulsory schooling?

My impression was that this was probably justified in nineteenth century Britain as an means of kick-starting schooling for the peasant masses by preventing farmers and industrial owners from pressurizing their (unschooled) tenant workers into using their children as cheap seasonal labour.

Those days are gone, long gone. We now live in a middle class world.

My sense is that the use of compulsion poisons the educational process for the majority - while benefitting only a very small percentage.

Milton Friedman somewhere estimated the extra enrollment actually achieved by a system of compulsion in modern societies as about 1-2 percent. The other 98 percent (who would atted school without compulsion) pay the price.

Posted by: Bruce G Charlton | Mar 26, 2007 11:24:16 AM

Point 1, this rule is unenforceable.
Point 2, when this idea was first floated last year, they said that mothers would be exempt. result? More teenage single mums.

Posted by: Mark Wadsworth | Mar 26, 2007 12:14:42 PM

"My impression was that this was probably justified in nineteenth century Britain": could be, but perhaps not. The only history that I've read about it pointed out that a very large proportion of children went to school before state schooling arrived. Eventually Lord Salisbury promoted state schooling over CofE schooling because the christians refused to hold compulsory military drill fror the bairns. (Salisbury had foreseen the German menace, apparently.) I understand that the teacher training colleges indoctrinate their charges with a contrary account. No surprise there.

Posted by: dearieme | Mar 26, 2007 12:43:23 PM

I've just posted a longish piece with links by way of response to Chris Dillow's analysis at Stumbling and Mumbling

Posted by: Bob B | Mar 26, 2007 12:47:41 PM

Bruce,

"We now live in a middle class world."

No, 'we' don't. Not where I live.

To consider the abolition of the compulsory elemt in schooling is as absurd as raising the school leaving age to 18.

"My sense is that the use of compulsion poisons the educational process for the majority - while benefitting only a very small percentage. "

Libertarian ideology which, like all ideology, inevitably collapses when presented with a problem it cannot solve.

My sense is quite the opposite.

And what alternative do you propose?

This 'problem' would not exist had politicians decided to impose their ideology on education; and will not be cured until education administration is returned to educators - not ideologues, but educators.

And the removal of ideology from education is a step which no politician seems willing to take.

Posted by: Martin | Mar 26, 2007 1:12:45 PM

Those who believe in sensible, rational engagement with this government, please comment on the Green Paper.

Those who think something more serious is needed, please consider setting up a campaign along the lines of NO2ID. I would, if I had the time or was more skilled in web technology.

I actually think this is a more serious breach of civil liberties than ID cards. Once you establish that it's okay to override the wishes of individuals who (on some definitions) are considered adult even when it's not about preventing harm, you've started down a very undesirable slippery slope.

Posted by: Fabian Tassano | Mar 26, 2007 1:26:33 PM

Responding to Martin.

Quoting me: "We now live in a middle class world." Martin responds: "No, 'we' don't. Not where I live."

In the sense you probably mean, nor where I live - but that isn't the point. When compulsory education was introduced the working class was by a huge majority the biggest class. Not so now - the middle class is hugely the biggest class in the UK, by pretty much any definition you would like to apply. Indeed, the middle class is (just) numerically the biggest in the world, according to an international survey published a few months ago. These are the facts!

"And what alternative do you propose?"

Opportunities and incentives. Pretty much the US system of Community Colleges (adapted from the current FE colleges), but preferably using a voucher system for funding.

"This 'problem' would not exist had politicians decided to impose their ideology on education; and will not be cured until education administration is returned to educators - not ideologues, but educators."

I disagree - who does education administration doesn't matter - what matters is that education of kids is driven by parental choices, education of adults by their own choices. This driving is best done through funding of students (not institutions) and by competition among institutions. From this, the good things will follow.

Posted by: Bruce G Charlton | Mar 26, 2007 2:20:58 PM

"the middle class is hugely the biggest class in the UK, by pretty much any definition you would like to apply"

Please define 'middle class'.

And that is not intended to be either contrarian or argumentative - we need to know if we're talking about the same thing.

My guess is that we aren't.

The system you propose cannot work in the UK, if only because the radicals' success at educationalising the population, combined with the aggressive neglect of education in core trades and skills and deindustrialisation, has resulted in the absurd situation we now see of targets being set to have 50% of school leavers entering further or higher education for no reason other than that's what the Finns and the Dutch do, without regard for the differences between their education systems, demographics and economic structures and ours.

Bruce, your contention that 'who admninisters education' doesn't matter is absurd. By the same token one might as well visit a fishmonger for brain surgery. Your own market radicalism has perhaps clouded your vision - personally, if I ever have kids I'd prefer them to go to a school being run by a teacher.

And your assertion that education of children is driven by parental choice is also wrong. What drives childrens' education is firstly the child's aptitude and secondly their application.

For your assertion to work the aphorism 'You can take a horse to water but you cannot make it drink' requires to be suspended.

Like Greenpeace trying to ban chlorine, a physical element, it's absurd.

Posted by: Martin | Mar 26, 2007 2:54:31 PM