I was feeling in the mood to write having been inspired by a number of related pieces I’d read all reinforcing my beliefs here in my little feedback loop bubble. And then Angry Young Man posts his consummate comment which bears repeat: “Management is simply part of what we all do; a function as basic as going to the toilet. It is not a job in itself any more than ‘toilet user’ could be. No wonder all of our institutions are in such a mess. The so-called managers have no awareness of what it is they are supposed to be managing. They have no moral integrity. They are drunk on a toxic cocktail of incompetent power and corruption. The tables are all filled with their filthy vomit. Bring on the water cannons. Flush ’em all down the toilet.”
In 1979 the tts and kleptos goddess was elected and so began the serious job of really deflowering all that hippy bollocks that had so gloriously flowered in the 60’s. I came of age in that much maligned decade dubbed the 70’s and for me it was a wondrous time, not just with my release into adulthood but that there was a ‘counterculture’ ripe with the possibility of release from the evolved norms of a capitalist society. That life could be actually more fulfilling, rewarding, fun, for everyone and not just the few.
One area this was happening was education and the move towards a more ‘child-centred’ education. When I began teaching the ILEA ran education in London and there was an energy and buzz about how education could be, but thatch had just been elected and dark clouds were rapidly gathering. The ILEA was soon corralled along with all the other ‘loony left’ projects and disposed of. To be replaced with so called ‘neoliberal free market’ dogma. In education we had a national curriculum imposed along with ofsted and all the other paraphernalia of the capitalist canon. Even under a ‘Labour’ government this continued, and when the tts got back into power in 2010 they reset their malign agenda with a vigour that has brought us to a very sad and sorry state.
The advent of ‘free schools’ and greater ‘freedoms’ for so called ‘academies’ has merely unleashed a torrent of ‘loony right’ bollocks. Examples abound with over 60 of these new schools failing at an obscene cost and reducing the amount of money other state schools get. Examples abound of the ‘top managers’ of these institutions (the same has happened at universities and other tertiary institutions) awarding themselves ever greater amounts of loot and committing fraud on an industrial scale. As Angry Young Man states, they have no moral integrity.
And how does this all affect our young folk as they embark on their life’s journey? How does it compare with my joie de vivre as I embarked on my teaching career? Well for my daughter Grace currently in her second year studying to become a primary teacher it will be a debt of over £50,000 pounds. Much of that money will have lined the pockets of her university’s managers, the landlords and landladies of the properties she rents, of the company that provides rip off student accommodation, of the privatised utility managers and so on.
But what captured for me the tawdriness and lack of any moral integrity of what has been unleashed from the end of the 70’s was a comment Grace made on Sunday when I drove her to the privatised train (actually the privatised train wasn’t running but there was a bus service, oh the efficiencies of the market eh?). She said that she was finding it hard studying because much of her current studies involved more ‘open-ended’ thinking, more critical thinking; much less simple binary yes/no, true/false, wrong/right style that she’d been indoctrinated with during her school education. This has come about because it is easier to impose and measure, things managers love to do.
A very sad indictment of our education system, education means to ‘draw forth’ and it has become the exact opposite.
Capitalism has failed, even on the terms on which it would like to be judged such as efficiency, value, even profit (except for the kleptos of course). Now it is time to have a sensible resetting based on moral integrity and continuing that which briefly flowered in the 60’s and 70’s.
Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.