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NPF Responses: Education

The Consultation document for Early Years, Education and Skills says that this year’s task for the Commission was to to do

“further work on building a modern early years system, developing a schools system for the 21st century, modernising further education and adult skills and how we can improve children’s social care and safeguarding as priorities for this year”.

The opening section (Labour’s Vision) assures us that Labour wants to build a world-class early years, education and skills system system that serves all. But then, of course, everyone says that. Equally generally, we are also told that “Labour’s aim is to build a National Education Service which would be open to all throughout their lives”. The lack of clear specific ideas, on this and in the rest of the document, is disconcerting.

In what follows I will suggest amendments only on the section entitled Labour’s vision and A school system fit for the 21st century. The problems of early years provision are serious but less institutionally complex than those of schools and anyway were the subject of last year’s NPF report. The section on further education and skills training requires comment but is a vast issue that is beyond my competence to write about. Others will, I hope, contribute ideas on this.

The section A school system fit for the 2lst century is 255 words long. It acknowledges that our schools have experienced a “tide of constant upheaval and relentless changes since the Tories came to power in 2010” and says that regional variations in the quality of provision have worsened. It also says that “Tory plans to bring back selection at 11 and open new grammar schools will only serve the minority of children” and that “It will do nothing for the majority of children”. Also cuts of £3bn by 2020 and the new funding formula are making things worse. Finally, schools now have a crisis of infrastructure and support services.

The draft document’s answer to all this is “We are looking at how we can build a world-class education system that promotes sustainable school improvement, is evidence based and supports teachers and the wider school workforce”. That is the entirety of Labour’s “response” to the “tide of constant upheaval and relentless changes since the Tories came to power in 2010”. The need for something more specific should be clear.

Suggestions for additions/amendments to the draft

1. Additions to “Labour’s Vision”

Labour’s aim is for all state-funded schools to cater for local children and do so without selection so that all children, whatever their background, will not only get a good education but will also learn to get on with other children from a wide variety of backgrounds. School should bring children together not separate them.

The present government has taken us so far in the direction of division and competition between schools that reaching the goal of good local schools for all will not be easy. It will only be achieved by working with everyone concerned with education and on the basis of general agreement.

Labour will work to build a high-quality, truly comprehensive school system. Such a system cannot be properly realised while some state-funded schools continue to select their intake. Our vision of the future is one in which we build on the achievements of our school system (1) to ensure that every child has a good local school to go to and which they feel is deeply embedded in the local community.

Achieving this vision cannot be done by diktat from Westminster and will have to be the work of schools, colleges, parents, teachers, industry and other interested parties. The control of schools from Westminister  or by Westminster-appointed officials must come to an end. A local democratic framework for school services must be restored. The present government’s policies have resulted in a dismantling of local authority educational expertise, has removed schools from a local framework and has starved local authorities of the funds needed to provide an adequate service.

Our vision must be one of a genuine public service which brings schools and pupils together instead of separating them. To achieve this we will need the understanding and cooperation of the overwhelming majority of people involved in various ways. Labour will launch a long-term nationwide discussion involving all interested parties around those values with the aim of driving education forward on the basis of broad agreement. Political and social beliefs are connected but not in a simple or straightforward way and this proposal would seek to develop widespread agreement including support across party political divides.

2. Additions to “A school system fit for the 21st century”

The education systems of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland differ in significant respects. In terms of population and in terms of national elections it is the organisation and running of the English system that come to the fore in general elections. The devolved governments control the education of their regions.

To make a school system fit for the 21st century we must abandon once and for all the idea that children have an inherent level of ability which determines their educational futures. School is a place where intelligence of various sorts should be nourished and encouraged to grow so that children constantly discover new potential in themselves. We want the creative spirit to be encouraged and developed in every aspect of education.

To achieve this lofty goal we need an appropriate school system. It is time to move on from the mantra that it is “standards and not structures” that matter. Standards and structures are inter-related in education as they are anywhere else. The breaking up of the English school system into academies and free-schools (i.e. state-funded independent schools) has been wasteful, and divisive. It has set school against school and has brought in private operators to run chains of academy schools. In these cases the schools have found themselves with less freedom than under local authorities and those running the chains are subject to far less public scrutiny than those authorities. The whole exercise has been a giant step towards privatising public provision. Labour will reverse this trend in an orderly way on the basis of widespread discussion with all parties involved.

The role of schooling becomes increasingly important as societies develop and in the modern world with its unprecedented rate of social and technological change this is clearer than ever. It is not only more important but it is more expensive. Children are staying at school longer. Schools need more specialist equipment and specialist teachers to provide children with the rich diversity of possibilities that they need to flourish. We should learn from the experience of of other education systems both positive and negative (2).

We will therefore begin by putting all schools on the same footing with no special privileges for any type of school. We will hand back to local authorities the ability to create and oversee new schools as and when they are properly resourced to do this. As a first step to ending the de-localisation of education through academy chains we will require all schools in academy chains to have their own governing bodies with the same powers as for all other schools. We will also require chains to be overseen by the local authorities in which they operate. We will also change legislation requiring all governors to have expert roles. We want parents, local residents and local councillors to once again play their full part in helping schools to succeed. We will stop state-funded schools being their own admission authorities since this is an open invitation to skewing school intake to the advantage of some schools and the disadvantage of others.

The comprehensive school system was created with parental and cross-party support in response to the recognition of the harm caused by a system of determining a child’s educational potential at the age of eleven and sending them to different institutions following an examination at that age. This was based on now discredited notions of inherent IQ and on the belief that the majority of children would not benefit from the more “academic” approach reserved for a minority in grammar schools. The principle of a common school system for all children was the response. It was never fully implemented and is now being rapidly dismantled.

On the basis of agreement established through well-organised public debate we will legislate to enhance the role of local authorities and to change the way authorities work in education to make them more open and transparent than ever before. We will work to end ability of private interests, working through charitable trusts, to deliver education in state-funded schools.

Above all, we want to end the marketisation of education. Children are not commercial products some of which are inevitably discarded or downgraded in the battle for market position. This idea was always wrong for education. This is widely recognised across the political spectrum and by the great majority of educationalists. Therefore we will end the publication of school league tables while nevertheless making fuller data on school performance available. We will end the over-testing of children because it  is harming the quality of education by forcing teachers to teach to the test. This process has also favoured a narrowing curricular focus to English, Mathematics and the Sciences. These subjects are unquestionably essential but so are History, Music and the Arts along with Technology and Sport.

In the shortest possible time we will both reform the system of school inspection and bring to an end the phenomenon of failing schools. It is no more acceptable that children should attend a failing school than that patients should be sent to a failing hospital. Failure of some lines is an inherent part of the operation of markets. This is inappropriate and unacceptable for a school system of the 21st century. At the first sign of any school falling below acceptable standards emergency action will be taken to bring any such school to a good standard. Nothing will be allowed to get in the way of providing children with what they need.

References

(1) The Truth About Our Schools, Melissa Benn & Janet Downs, Routledge 2016. School Wars – The Battle for Britain’s Education, Melissa Benn, Verso 2011.

(2) Finnish Lessons, Pasi Sahlberg, Teachers College Columbia University 2010. The Life and eath of the Great American School System, Diane Ravitch, Basic Books, 2010.

15 Comments

  1. JohnP says:

    Excellent proposed amendments, David. The really tragic thing is that your amendments are so basic and so obviously in tune with what , surely, most people would think of as traditional social democratic “Labour values”, that their total absence from the latest version of the NPF Education Document illustrates perfectly how utterly dominated by the privatisation driven neoliberal narrative Labour Party “policy” still is , despite the Corbyn Leadership victory.

    That Labour is not even prepared to mention the scourge of “academisation” in its Education policy document , never mind oppose it, shows that , so far, we on the Left are making no real headway in shifting the neoliberal political direction of travel of the Party at all – but instead the Right and Centre are running rings round us by their still solid dominance of the Party machine.

  2. John Walsh says:

    As with the Energy posting, I can’t see the point in this exercise. Or rather, I see it as a complete waste of time and at a time when the left ‘moment’ is disappearing – thus, doubly disappointing.

    For one, this exercise is only for members with either the time or wherewithal to write longish pieces. Secondly, we all know that the Party will take no notice. Thirdly, commenting is only for members who can put up with ‘clever’ retorts back or just defensiveness.

    But mostly, surely it would be more productive to identify crux points and focus on strategies and tactics for battles ahead. For example, with education, call it academisation, marketisation, monetisation or plain privatisation a crux point for socialists is that the very principle of education as a public good is fast disappearing. To then state “we want to end the marketisation of education … this idea was always wrong … this is widely recognised across the political spectrum. Therefore …” is all well and good but in the circumstances what’s the point?

    The NPF responses on here feel like a protracted headstone epitaph for socialism – that’s why I don’t think it’s the time for polite, casual small talk.

    1. David Pavett says:

      Your reply is a standard ultra-left offering: dismissive of anything which tries to pick up on where we are to formulate a feasible next step that could command popular support. Instead you want slogans without detailed arguments as all we need for “the battles ahead”. This sort of stuff appeals only, can only appeal, to a tiny minority of the left. There are no arguments, no analysis of where we are, no programme for moving from where we. All there is a promise of a clean sweep and a totally new beginning. This sort of politics is for true believers only and as such contributes nothing to debate.

  3. JohnP says:

    But what are YOU proposing, John – other than saying the articles here deconstructing the useless NPF policy documents are “a waste of time” ?

    A part of the reason for the current withering away of the “Corbyn Left moment” in the face of the utter , electorally suicidal, intransigence of the Labour Right and Centre majority, has been the utter failure of the Left to propose a coherent radical (Left Keynsian) programme across all policy areas around which the Left can rally and organised within and without the Party.

    David’s articles, Peter’s, mine, and C.Mack’s, and current policy work by the CLPD, are all part of that important ideological struggle against an embedded Right and Centre – who don’t have to develop any new policy – just ensure Labour keeps its current Blair era neoliberal policy bundle.

    You can rage in helpless passivity at the historic opportunity ,(gifted to us as a total fluke via the Progress funded Right’s hubristic adoption of OMOV for the Labour Leadership election in 2015), that the Left is indeed undoubtedly currently squandering – or take part personally in policy development and the current struggle in the CLPs and branches nationwide to win Delegates to Conference and shift policy Leftwards.

    From what I recall, you have stated that you don’t even attend your local branch meetings (as with so many of the “Corbynista Wave clickactivists ” sadly) – so you simply haven’t earned the right to snidely criticise the rest of us who are personally putting in the time.

    1. John Walsh says:

      John P, there has to be some kind of blind spot here.

      You’ve said above that DP’s amendments are “basic”, things we already know. I agree and as an alternative (both here and with Energy) I’ve tried to suggest a way forward. That is, to focus on crux issues, obstacles in the neoliberal road which if they aren’t addressed will easily block socialist policies – the blockage being created by the decades of neoliberal ideological hegemony that you write about.

      To try and say this again, what I’m not proposing is more policy ideas – that’s the easy bit. Rather, I’m proposing that addressing political obstacles is the much needed job in hand. For example, to reiterate, how can the ongoing monetisation of education be stopped? Of course, there are many more obstacles – listing these, how they relate and suggesting strategies to tackle them would be what I’d write if I had the time and if there was any evidence that people were interested – up to now, there isn’t any evidence.

      Re “from what I recall” – er, no, that isn’t entirely correct (Compliance don’t look kindly on mentioning these things in public, but maybe safe to say I’ve been Ken’ed for longer than Ken L has (but definitely not for the same ‘crime’)). Damn cheek mentioning ‘earning the right’ but I’ll let you off given your talent for anti-neoliberal rants.

      PS DP, “ultra-left”- fascinating. I kind of feel honoured.

      1. David Pavett says:

        … what I’m not proposing is more policy ideas – that’s the easy bit. Rather, I’m proposing that addressing political obstacles is the much needed job in hand. For example, to reiterate, how can the ongoing monetisation of education be stopped?

        Do you not appreciate that the fragmentation of the school system into state-supported independent schools, often with private sponsors, is a major step to the “monetisation” of education? Your position is to oppose “monetisation” per se which would have a traction of zero with the general public. What school campaigners propose is to reverse that fragmentation making the “monetisation” virtually inevitable. You stop with a general objective, school activists propose policies which implement realistic paths to reach that objective. That, it seems to me, is the difference between real and fantasy politics.

  4. Mervyn Hyde says:

    Education has massive ramifications to us, what we have witnessed over the last 30 years is the complete domination of market ideology forcing change for change sake in order to destabilise and disorientate people perception of what education can and can’t do.

    In a few words, you can’t buy brains.

    Once we understand that, what do we think the objectives are of those people that support this madness that divides us.

    Clearly you need to impoverish people to put pressure into the system in order for them all to compete or sustain themselves.

    TAXATION: A SECRET OF COLONIAL CAPITALIST (SO-CALLED) PRIMITIVE ACCUMULATION (rough draft—comments welcome)

    Mathew Forstater, University of Missouri—Kansas City

    In Volume One of Capital, Marx laid out what he called “The Secret of Capitalist
    Primitive Accumulation.” Capitalist accumulation must be preceded by some previous
    accumulation, “an accumulation which is not the result of the capitalist mode of
    production but its point of departure” (Marx, 1990, p. 873). Marx, identified the ‘double
    freedom’ requirement necessary for capitalist production: workers must be ‘free’ to sell
    their labor-power and they must be ‘free’ from the means of production. The existence of
    a working class ready to sell their labor-power to capitalists requires that a mass of
    population have no means of production with which to produce their own means of
    subsistence. If they could produce their own means of subsistence, they would not be
    compelled to sell their labor-power to capitalists. A legal system is also required under
    which workers are freed from their feudal obligations and by law may enter the market to
    sell their labor-power. As Marx wrote, “so-called primitive accumulation, therefore, is
    nothing else than the historical process of divorcing the producer from the means of
    production” (1990, pp. 874-875).

    Despite this emphasis, Marx recognized other important varieties of primitive
    accumulation as well as the fact that it played out differently under different historical
    conditions. Although many authors associate primitive accumulation primarily with the
    3
    enclosures that divorced serfs from the land, creating a landless, property-less class
    compelled to sell their labor-power to capital to obtain their means of subsistence,
    Marx uses the term primitive accumulation much more broadly, to encompass a whole
    variety of preconditions and prerequisites for the capitalist mode of production. In
    addition, in highlighting the historical processes by which the producers were left without
    means of providing their own subsistence, Marx not only was focusing his remarks on
    Europe, he actually states that the “classic” case is limited to England, while the “history
    of this expropriation assumes different aspects in different countries, and runs through its
    various phases in different successions, and at different historical epochs” (Marx, 1991,

    Sorry for that bulky quote:

    What I am trying to say is that we need to cut through all the hyperbole of a good or bad system, the system of education is deliberately fragmented in order maintain power to those who benefit from it.

    It doesn’t really matter to the masses what level of education they are at when we see University students as post graduates regarding Tesco as a career option…. that only 50 years ago would be the last place they would look.

    The Jobs are not there to service all these Einsteins the system says are essential for the future development of the country.

    In short we need all children to receive the best possible education to meet their needs, both for a sustainable economy and for society to work.

    That means accepting not all children are academic and that society doesn’t need every child to be an Einstein.

    In other words the old idea of education being a lifelong process which people can access all through their lives. That of course does not exist today like it did in the Sixties and early Seventies.

    Comprehensive education works, Grammar and selective systems are there to create division and serve no other purpose except it also installs a sense of innate privilege.

    When I was a governor in my local comprehensive as an LEA nominated person, I noted that apart from funding the difference between New Labour and Tory was almost indistinguishable. The carried on with change for change sake for I believe the same reasons.

    Now that that comprehensive has become an academy, I predicted that those governors that supported it would not find an improvement in educational standards and would lose control of the very management they thought was essential to deliver it. Needless to say there was a mass resignation over the fact that one Governor who originally instigated the moves to a Cooperative Academy was deselected out of the governing body. Hence the mass resignations. I don’t know the reason why that happened but this was the person that led the charge to academy status.

    Academies are of course management driven, they were supposed to be supported financially by industries and local business, only for that business enterprise to retain control of another academy in the city and stopped funding the school. So the myth that business would financially support academies has now gone out the window. What they do though hold is the deeds and rights to school property, some schools have sold playing fields to housing developers for money.

    Academies as most now know is just the next stepping stone to private schools, and the Tories are pushing to create more free schools that have characteristically failed in Sweden.

    What we need to do is like everything else in Britain renationalise education, take them back into local authority control, and educate our children according to their needs, and introduce political education into the curriculum instead of political indoctrination that we have today.

  5. David Pavett says:

    Insofar as I understand your over-long comment I think that we have significant measures of agreement and that should have been clear from a reading what I wrote. In particular we agree that

    (1) “we need all children to receive the best possible education to meet their needs, both for a sustainable economy and for society to work”;

    (2) children will follow very different developmental paths in education and in post education life so that there cannot be a one-size fits all approach;

    (3) education should be regarded as a lifelong process which means that the means for this must be provided.

    (4) too many are educated for jobs that don’t exist in the numbers required.

    (5) “Comprehensive education works, Grammar and selective systems are there to create division and serve no other purpose except it also installs a sense of innate privilege”.

    My proposed changes were based exactly on these ideas (and others).

    What I think that you don’t recognise is that agreement between Labour and Conservative members on a governing body, and elsewhere in education, is not always a negative reflection on Labour. Note that some Tory councils have offered more resistance to academisation than some Labour councils. Someone can be a Tory and recognise the need for good comprehensive education and this has been clear for many years.

    Nor do you seem to recognise where the Labour Party is now on educational matters and what sort of arguments and proposals are likely to have the traction required to move things on.

    We agree about the intentions behind the fragmentation of schools into academies and about their management-led nature and how this constrains them to treat schools increasingly like a business proposition with its winners an losers. I dealt with that also.

    Where we seem to fundamentally disagree is on the overall role of education in society. Rather than regarding education simply as a tool in the hands of the ruling class to be wielded according to its needs we should regard it (as Brian Simon always used to argue) as an arena of class struggle in which popular movements can ensure that the ruling class doesn’t always get its own way.

    I thought that you long quotes from Marx were irrelevant to the debate. That’s a shame because he had some very interesting things to say about education. Here is one of my favourite quotes from Vol 1 of Capital

    Modern Industry, indeed, compels society, under penalty of death, to replace the detail-worker of to-day, grappled by life-long repetition of one and the same trivial operation, and thus reduced to the mere fragment of a man, by the fully developed individual, fit for a variety of labours, ready to face any change of production, and to whom the different social functions he performs, are but so many modes of giving free scope to his own natural and acquired powers. … One step already spontaneously taken towards effecting this revolution is the establishment of technical and agricultural schools, and of “écoles d’enseignement professionnel,” in which the children of the working-men receive some little instruction in technology and in the practical handling of the various implements of labour. Though the Factory Act, that first and meagre concession wrung from capital, is limited to combining elementary education with work in the factory, there can be no doubt that when the working-class comes into power, as inevitably it must, technical instruction, both theoretical and practical, will take its proper place in the working-class schools.

    1. Mervyn Hyde says:

      Broadly agree that will suffice as a consensus.

      The reason for that quote was it was supposed to outline how people are corralled by the capitalist system, and as a friend is quoted as saying, “they are farming us”, and that in education they want total control by the institution as well as their ability to indoctrinate us,

      People talk about a good education, noting going to Oxford or Cambridge is indicative of that, then we see the products coming from the private sector such as Cameron or Johnson, which begs the question what is a good education?

      1. David Pavett says:

        You raise the important issue of the content of education i.e. what is education and for whom is it intended? I completely agree about this and I am constantly frustrated by how difficult it is to raise these question in Labour circles, including left-wing ones. The default Labour position is that education is a good thing so we need more of it.

        We should be discussing a critique of education in all its aspects. Marx once said that the ruling ideas in any epoch are the ideas of the ruling class and he was right. This should be of the utmost interest in educational debate. Such a debate would involve thinking critically about the nature of knowledge, the psychology of learning and ultimately our concept of human nature. For all this we cannot just take current university textbooks off the shelves. We need to examine their theoretical assumptions. All this is a very big task and I am afraid that Labour, as at present constituted is simply not up to it.

        Of course, I agree with your comments about the idea of a “good education”. The elitist grip on the educational imagination is incredibly powerful. I lost count of the number of times I have heard educational managers who in one moment denounce elitism and then in the next moment measure the success of their institution by how many pupils it has got to Oxbridge or to the “top universities”.

        I would also like to discuss very specific things like why is most maths education so stunningly unsuccessful. There is however nowhere in the Labour Party, or frankly on the left in general, where one can have a discussion about such things. Above all it is pretty clear that Labour’s Early Years, Education and Skills Policy Commission is, despite its name, no such place.

        1. Mervyn Hyde says:

          Something is happening on this site Which is rather odd, I moved to pick up a quote for you and lost all the previous text.

          So to start again:

          I also support the view that we do have to consider content and evaluate the meaning of learning, As I mentioned before but now have lost the text, My old college lecturer used to say, In this day and age it is better to learn how to manipulate formulae rather than to remember each one,

          In connection with text books I read this extract from a Bank of England bulletin and noted that they said as you can read, that Universities do not accurately explain how money enters the economy, In other words Students get taught incorrectly on the basic fundamentals of money creation:

          In the modern economy, most money takes the form of bank deposits. But how those bank deposits are created is often misunderstood: the principal way is through commercial banks making loans. Whenever a bank makes a loan, it simultaneously creates a matching deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money.

          “The reality of how money is created today differs from the description found in some economics textbooks:”

          • Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits. • In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money ‘multiplied up’ into more loans and deposits.

          I put in the quotation marks.

          So it is important for us to understand what and how things are taught.

          1. JohnP says:

            Off on your hobby horse again, Mervyn. It is true that the “banks lend multiples of their initially deposited funds ” simplistic explanation for money creation by private banks, that economics courses traditionally taught , and I was taught – and as I taught as an economics lecturer, is indeed not correct. As the Bank of England now admits , banks in the real capitalist world away from the simple model of the textbook, create new money “ahead of deposits received”, as a core mechanism of “fractional reserve banking” – and capitalism as a system.

            The problem facing the “positive money fans” is that this ability by private banks to create money via loans is an important part of the key to the entire expansive dynamism of capitalism itself. As a profoundly non socialist , essentially petty bourgeois “Poujadist” ideology , this obsession with money creation by private banks has deep reactionary roots, in the “anti usury” obsessions that underlie “Strasserite” fascism in particular.

            This ideology essentially separates out “good, productive capitalism” from “bad finance capitalism” – and claims that if only the ability to “create new money” was removed from fractional reserve based private banking, capitalism could then flow on without a problem. That the current “Positive Money enthusiasts” add in a lot of “socialistic demands” , which Mervyn obviously sincerely believes in too, to surround their ,unachievable within capitalism, monetary proposals ,doesn’t alter the fact that their obsessive belief in abolishing private bank money creation is a complete diversion from the struggle to build a socialist society beyond the capitalist market entirely , based on democratic planning and commonly owned economic “commanding heights”.

            The “Positive Money” adherents seem to believe that the fact that the banking system does indeed create new money all the time, through lending, means there is no limit to the amount of money a state with its own currency can create . This is utter nonsense. The global 2008 financial crash should demonstrate to everyone that when the banks lend out more money than the borrowers can repay, as with all the dodgy mortgages sold to poor people across the USA and UK in the boom years leading up to the 2008 crash, eventually too many of these these loans become “non-performing” and the bank balance sheets turn out to be based on worthless paper loan” assets”. In other words there are actually finite limits on how much new money banks can create, before the loans become worthless and/or the currency these ever expanding loans are based on become increasingly worthless relative to other global currencies, and hyper inflation results.

            Money creation is at the very heart of capitalism, but has always included the danger of exceeding the current ability of the capitalist system to expand in line with the new money supply. Which is why governments periodically try to check the rate of money supply increase via mechanisms like requiring larger capital buffers within bank reserves, demanding higher deposits on mortgages, and raising the central bank’s interest rate.

            What any of this has got to do with the topic of this article Education policy, I can’t say !

          2. Mervyn Hyde says:

            John: The reason I quoted that….. was it pointed out what you have just said, that your text books wrongly described the most fundamental part of economics, how money actually enters the economy.

            The point I was making there was that we really need to understand how education forms peoples views and therefore whilst we have good teachers teaching to the best of their ability, we also need to understand the subject matter that is being taught. My example was to highlight even Oxbridge students were being wrongly educated and to stretch the point, is it any wonder that our PPE politicians get economics so fundamentally wrong. (Apart from the fact that they don’t care either way)

            Finally to make my point about government spending.

            All money is created out of thin air, why should we only consider issuing money through the Banks as Debt?

            Positive money states that a commission would consider the need for government spending and issue it directly into the economy to meet that.

            Private Banking would cease to issue money, as they do now, (willy nilly) and only be allowed to issue money that they have accrued from profits or business transactions, in other words not create money but only issue money already in circulation.

            We currently issue money through debt, and the economy is regulated via interest rate policy, that is an extremely crude way of dealing with the complexities of economic cycles and doesn’t fulfil the promise of economic stability.

            To put it very simply, and simplicity is the key to economic stability, we spend into the economy and tax out the inflation.

            Modern monetary theory, which isn’t really about theory but how the economy actually works, call that fiscal spending.

            In that the government prints the money(mostly Electronically)before people can earn it in order to spend.

            If the Economy overheats it then taxes that money out of the system to bring it back into balance.

            The fact that neither of us support the great Neo-Liberal Alan Greenspan or Ben Bernanke, doesn’t mean what they say about unlimited liabilities on a currency, what they actually say is that there are limits in reality, but that in truth a government could spend into infinity if that is what it took.

            Governments of all persuasions regulate the economy and our currency floats according to trade imbalances.

            What MMT proclaim is that we don’t have to tax and spend to keep just one sector of the population happy (the Rich) to the exclusion of the rest of us.

  6. Bazza says:

    Yes good from David (better than the NPF) and we should share and develop ideas.
    I think we need to be clear about 2 things to begin with, firstly perhaps it could be argued education is not about helping all children to reach their full potential under the Tories, it is perhaps about entrenching and strengthening the position of the rich and powerful, capital needs a wheat and chaff – mainly the middle class to manage and working class people to do the often mundane but important jobs to make society work and to create the wealth by their labour.
    But of course the middle class because of generally more autonomy at work don’t particularly see themselves as being particularly dependent on selling their labour to live.
    Grammar Schools are perfect for the rich in this, making a group of mainly middle class kids feel special (reinforced by each other, parents, and teachers) based on the elaborate memory tests of exams (and middle class parents often buy extra tuition, use informal networks etc. to try to have an unlevel playing field) and for some feeling special may stay with them all their lives whilst of course the reverse may be true for those with the worse memories (or lack of coaching/additional tutoring).
    Working in adult education I heard so many good ideas from diverse working people who often felt their ideas weren’t valued.
    But perhaps the rich and powerful don’t want students to think too particularly critically (a role in the past often played best by critical HE courses) but sadly now the arts, humanities and social sciences seem to be under attack.
    Secondly a significant number of working class kids will have no chance in life until we seriously get rid of poverty.
    Address this and harness the skills of teachers to measure educational progress by continuous assessment and feedback, and we perhaps may nurture a society of critically thinking citizens.
    So just a few potential action points:
    * End poverty with a massive redistribution of wealth and a living benefit.
    * Invest in free and early years development.
    * End SATs and let skilled teachers measure progress and let kids learn by having fun too.
    * End Free Schools etc. and fragmentation and bring all schools back under the democratic control of democratically elected local authorities as Democratic Schools and local communities could elect school governers.
    * Free education for all at all ages primary, secondary and FE (and bring back the EMA) plus promote adult education with community workers trained in the ideas of Paulo Freire (to work with ‘The Left Behind’) plus promote Life Long Learning and day release.
    * Free HE and make Big Business pay.
    * Also make sure vocational and technical courses incorporate critical thinking elements so students are challenged to think about community and environmental issues.
    * End all tax relief and subsidies for independent (private schools) and public schools.
    * Reform universities to increase democracy – all staff elect senates, senates slect diverse shortlists of 6 (50:50 male/female) for VCs and then VCs elected by all staff plus VC salaries linked to LA rates, and 50:50 male/female representation on all senior committees, plus a living wage for low paid staff, amd massive outreach programmes to take Univerity education to diverse working class communities and to bring working people in.
    Solidarity!

  7. James Martin says:

    Although not affiliated (initially at least), the creation of the National Education Union (NEU) from the 1st September with the merger of NUT and ATL and the creation of what will become the 4th biggest union in the country is potentially significant in the education debate given that tyhe Labour affiliated Socialist Educational Association that David is involved with nationally already has a lot of welcome input from leading members of both current unions.

    I predict that this also now sets up a likely potential future merger with UCU into the NEU which would then unite education workers across all schools, FE and HE and only leave NASUWT outside, who under their current GS Chris Keates have followed an increasingly sectarian path, although whether she would be able to continue her members to follow this indefinitely is open to question. Either way from September it will be the case that education workers themselves play an increasing role in shaping the ideological debate on the future of education policy in the UK.

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