“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Chickens come home to roost in Brum.

The philosopher of science Paul Feyerbend, a man much admired by the libertarian left at one time, argued for creationism being taught in schools alongside evolution so that children develop an immunity to all propaganda. I don't know what Feyerbend would make of the the "Trojan Horse" fiasco going on  in Birmingham schools, government and the media. Chickens coming home to roost perhaps. I will be 72 this year and I cannot remember a time when this country's state education system  was not being made the subject of yet another huge overhaul.  Private schools are exempt from both government interference and income tax so don't enter the debate at all. Provided that they don't actually break the law that ostentatiously, the private sector can do whatever they choose. But in state schools, where 90% of our kids are educated, there is a constant readjustment, questioning of values, hand wringing doubt and struggle for power. It's a wonder, and a credit to the teachers, that any education happens at all. Will we ever get it right I wonder?
Tony Blair, like his mad wife, was always motivated by an unfortunate mix of religious fervour and a love of money. Guided by various god botherers and "business" people Blair's views on education resulted in an increase in the influence of faith schools and the birth of the academies. It was to be a policy heartily endorsed by both Brown and the coalition that followed. Now almost any bunch of religious loonies, ex-military discipline nuts or wealthy entrepreneurs can become responsible for the education of thousands of children. And really, all of this came about in an effort to undermine left leaning local authorities and Trotskyist teachers. Well, the mess in Birmingham is the result. I can't begin to imagine the way forward but I'm sure about one thing - both as individuals and as a society we have to find a way of being open minded and generous spirited while at the same time standing up to religious conservatism and anti-progressive thinking at every turn. If we don't do that our grandchildren may never forgive us.

1 comment:

Dr Llareggub said...

Perhaps it is time to re-read Feyerabend. His model was Mill's pluralism: neither Trotskiest nor Islamic fundamentalist. He advocated teaching creationism, defended the standpoint of the Inquisition against Galileo, and defended astrology. But did not endorse them: his objective was to expose the limitations of the received view of scientific method. As for his views on the Trojan Horse scandal: he would have started by exposing the lies from the BBC and its attempt to minimise the extent of political indoctrination. I edited this collection a couple of years back. It is still in demand.