|READING GUIDE TO:
Education Group II (1991) Education Limited: school and
training and the New Right since 1979, London: Unwin Hyman
The Education Reform Act of 1988 (ERA) offers a limited education. It is commercial and hierarchical, and it also offers new problems for struggle over education, since believing that an alternative exists is now a 'trap and pitfall' (page i) Further, classic class struggle is impossible, and New Social Movements are the only hope [this is based on the kind of analysis offered by the 'New Times' project -- which see]. There is also more cultural heterogeneity. However, there are limits to New Right thinking, as well as a list of achievements -- for example, it is still rooted in Englishness, and there is still a failure to modernise, which leads to some optimism.
Thatcherism is not completely dominant -- for example, the Manpower Services Commission (MSC) is not entirely Thatcherite [this parallels the debates about postfordism, and the hope that it might be possible to capture the progressive aspects of it]. There are some local alternatives to, and a need to link with them. New ethnographic studies, including case-studies, also give some hope, and we should be applying new social theory to education too, especially that derived from Cultural Studies. We might be to use the continuities established by Cultural Studies to preserve some kind of continuity with the past [perhaps via a revival of the tradition of 'really useful education'-- see file]. It is possible that we might see an accumulation of subversions from these parallel trends.
The team writing this book admit that they know little of primary education, adult education, or the education of children with special needs, but say they have been personally engaged in struggles over professionalism in teaching. They have an external abstract relation only to feminism and black struggle. They have experienced some difficulties in collective work of this kind, and admit that they have been selective in their reading (page xvi).
Introduction to part one.
They begin by rebuking other writers [including Hall and Jacques] for seeming to agree that Thatcherism has been entirely successful. New-right policies can be criticised, and there is no need to follow general attempts to read recent events [fatalistically] as 'a history of hegemony' (page 4) [ see Sivanandan on this turn from activism too). The professions seem to offer the key source of opposition, and there is a progressive side to the new vocationalism.
Chapter one (Green A on the peculiarities of English education). We need a specific analysis of the educational crisis as well as a more general and abstract one focusing on the limits of capitalism. British traditions are to blame, they're always behind Europe -- for example we were slow to develop a national system, and permitted obstacles to persist from the aristocracy and the Church [this is the classic analysis of the origins of the crisis in British socialism, developed by Nairn and others -- the English bourgeoisie had never properly disposed of the aristocrats, and thus remained in thrall to them, trapping England in some halfway house, with consequences for working-class consciousness as well]. Liberalism best describes English mind states -- but even Benthamite reforms never gained full support. They are crucial early stage, the middle-classes supplied their own schools, and this led to a low-status for teachers and little emphasis on technical education. While the 1870 Act was a compromise, later ones preserved class segregation and encouraged ad hoc development. Public schools remained unique in their effects.
England was late in developing a national curriculum, and by then there was no common constituency. Decentralised control was more typical, partly because it was also a 'close to the hearts of the teacher unions' (page 17). This system was progressive in a way, permitting initiatives from local education authorities, but there was also a non-progressive side: this system permitted control by experts, regional inequalities, and local tyrannies. The old socialist ideal involved the State as balancing these local oligarchies and elites, and making the system more open and competitive -- but again there are pros and cons (for example Boudon's study shows there are greater inequalities where differential expectations are important). Technical education is still segregated. The Youth Opportunities Schemes (YOPS) also failed, since they were employer-led rather than State-led, and this reinforced employers' stereotypes, and made education even more about reproduction. England also has the lowest rates of post-compulsory education and the lowest level of qualifications.
So, there was no real radical reform under Thatcher, but merely a shift to the market behind State control (page 27). The Education Reform Act was really about privatisation -- even the State curriculum was also about a return to the market. Thus the emphasis on testing embodies the idea that a market, together with the national curriculum, is the necessary basis of quality control, rather than the other emphases on matters like good practice, a new moralising philosophy, the rational reform of A-levels, or support for public schools and City Technology Colleges (CTCs). Such policies will lead to renewed class divisions, and the abolition of the national system.
Chapter two (Johnson R on the Education Reform Act). The ERA should not be seen as an easy manifestation of New Right policies: these display an uneven history. The New Right emerged from the failure of social democracy, but it is wrong to underestimate the amount and type of resistance to it [although Johnson feels that a faith in New Social Movements is also unwarranted, partly because they seem to be unable to accept any criticism from the Left]. Early New Right policies emanated from quite small groups, such as the proposal to introduce educational vouchers [criticised page 35f, as only encouraging policies such as State cuts, for example].
Contradictions soon emerged in the New Right around several campaigns, including moral panics: policies such as increasing parental choice while maintaining educational standards threatened the credibility of the Tory leadership (page 37). The neo-conservative won out over the neo-liberal elements, leading to both traditional and authoritarian themes, tapping into the anxieties about the relativism of the 1960s, and based on real fears of inadequate opportunity for their children. Other contradictions included valuing traditional school subjects over vocational ones, and the control difficulties developed in the administration system based on the various 'partnerships' [with parents, with local business]. [Some detailed work by Salter and Tapper is referred to here, on actual policies and the difficulties of implementing them -- Salter and Tapper are also famous for arguing, in an earlier work, that the concept of 'hegemony' was too general to explain the specifics of educational policy]. There was a power struggle between the professionals, permanent officials, and State representatives -- considerable reserve powers resided with the civil servants at the Department of Education and Science [to resist reforming New Right politicians?]. New Right consensus, therefore contains class struggles under the surface (page 43).
The 1979 election campaign led to an actual softening of radical reforms, despite maintaining a Jacobin appeal to the masses ( with lots of reference to press coverage, page 44). There were many attacks on teacher trades unions (even though many teachers voted Conservative). Other policies, not necessarily New Right ones, also appeared. Tactical adjustments like this arose partly because gaps in planning existed, which could only be covered by restoring the past (page 45), and early Bills met resistance, or ran into administrative difficulties. The first period of Thatcherism, therefore, contented itself mostly with State cuts.
The first period of power, 1981 - 3, saw some serious crises, including the public airing of personal dilemmas and doubts by Sir Keith Joseph (then the Secretary of State for Education). Other conflicts also arose with teachers, which absorbed State energy, and alienated teachers still further. A concern for political unpopularity triumphed over any principles. Joseph's reluctance to enforce his views led to ad hoc interventions. Organisational restructuring [such as the Local Management of Schools initiative ] brought a shift towards seeing teachers as managers. There were no clear solutions, but lots of blocking and spoiling. The MSC pulled off some coups -- by monopolising the debate over schools and computers, for example -- but this upset the DES. Educational cuts were unpopular. Critics had to be censored -- at the Inspectorate, or the Schools Council (both of which were abolished). Only the Falklands adventure saved the Government in the 1983 election (page 52).
The debates over educational vouchers show the divisions. The DES were against partly because they were cross that the MSC got to control TVEI [sorry for this alphabet soup -- TVEI was the Technical Vocational Education Initiative, a very well-funded curriculum initiative, from European Community funds, designed to introduce vocational education into schools]. Issues like standards and choice seems more important than educational vouchers, especially when authoritarianism was in the ascendant (page 55).
Policies in the period 1983 - 86 show a new consolidation around the market forces, rather than the earlier initiatives on parental choice, modernization, vocationalism or a new curriculum, although New Right thinkers tried to retake the initiative over the curriculum. The big issue was new management for schools [LMS as above]. This was opposed by decentralisers and by teaching rank and file, who argued that policies such as anti-racism would be under resourced. Government policy still operated around this sort of 'crisis of negativity' rather than having a consistent programme.
Between 1985 and 86, a new pool of ideas appeared -- direct grant schooling, City Technology Colleges (CTCs), and vouchers again. Other means were advanced to produce the same effects as vouchers, including opting-out[State schools could withdraw from local authority control and receive their funding directly from a Government quango], further deregulation, and the promotion of 'magnet schools' [an American idea, where schools in deprived areas are heavily funded and encouraged to develop particular subject specialisms in order to make themselves more attractive and thus raise interest in education in deprived areas etc].
One of these new ideas was the ERA, following on from curriculum changes introduced by TVEI and CTCs. There was still opposition from teachers, although this loss of support was balanced by gains among working class groups and business (page 63). A number of internal alliances supported the ERA, and, in a way, the ERA solidified the Government. The ERA seemed to offer different possibilities -- it was neo-liberal, with some public support, but also centralist; it was in favour of tradition, and against modernization and cross-curriculum enthusiasms (including those of the MSC); it promised to destroy subversive subjects, and exclude the Left; it offered to revitalise the national culture. This versatility lay behind public support for the Act.
It also politically disabled teaching professionals. They were to be restrained through parent power and through Government populism. Teachers were blamed as an answer to educational crisis, which helped the Government deny any responsibility through State cuts. There was also an element of a self-fulfilling prophecy over dissatisfaction with State schools. However, professionals were still indispensable, partly because of the very paucity of ideas. The State still needed teachers with high morale, and they lacked any idea of how to exercise detailed control. They intended to deprofessionalise teaching, by pushing through local contracts, for example, but this ran the risk of proletarianising teaching, with consequent opportunities for the Left.
The ERA still included contradictions. For example, parents were to be involved only on New Right terms, as consumers. The national curriculum seemed traditional yet modern. The education system was supposed to reproduce society through a neutral meritocracy, but this required the curriculum to seem neutral too [and yet it had been clearly politicised] -- this produces tensions in the reproduction of hegemony and the justifications of it (page 77). The former system had maintained a segregation between the academic and vocational, but this was now to be dismantled: yet the Government must feel anxious about the possibility of opening up a debate about proper knowledge, hence the uneasy compromise between the traditional curriculum and the market-oriented grading system. The more differentiated provision for teaching the national curriculum the greater the social class differences that will emerge, rather than the national coherence the Government sought. Following these contradictions, the ERA but it has helped forge a new alliance between progressive teachers and business!
The package was introduced by the use of interim settlements, but the long-term contradictions remain. The market still needs superstructures, including the State, at least in the short term, to do negative work at least [that is, take on opponents]. The combination of the national curriculum and the privatisation of education shows the continuity of the need to socially control knowledge.
Educational policy in Britain has always loosely connected to the real problems of capitalism, though. Market forces produce instability and increase social divisions: the subsequent polarisation introduces 'radical disaffiliation at the moral and cultural level' (page 84). The New Right cannot grasp this -- they focus on policies rather than on social contradictions. Capitalism cannot meet people's needs [an alienation problematic here?], and this must lead to further authoritarianism [rather than the loosening of controls that the New Right advocate].
On the other hand, there is a rather desperate optimism to this analysis of contradictions -- will ordinary members of the public recognise these contradictions, and rejoice in them, as much as members of the happily unreconstructed Left will do? Johnson's rather strange self-critique follows immediately...
Chapter three (Johnson R again, rethinking the role of New Right ideas) 'In a common fantasy... I sought to control events by understanding them' (page 87). Johnson now has doubts about his earlier analysis. He says he has confused the New Right's academic strategy with its popular one -- he has now realised that there are other enemies, and that he was engaging before in 'imaginary politics... a saving fantasy or wish' (page 88). He now wishes to contribute to some [practical] alternatives.
Thatcherism is best understood as combination of liberal and conservative ideas, and this compromise is found even in the work of some of its foremost theorists such as Hayek. Hayek is a sceptical Popperian, who puts his faith in tacit knowledge rather than social planning. This parallels the New Left/New Social Movement criticism of science -- here, a greater knowledge is claimed of social conditions, and restricting this to scientific knowledge is a form of closure. For the New Right, the market provides a more organised kind of knowledge than planning does.
However, liberalism has no concept of society, no theory of the differential distribution of power -- it can only offer the old stale and inconclusive debates about society and the individual [beloved of all trainee sociologists too]. Primary social relationships, those based on class, gender, race, sexual orientation, age and ability, are denied [Johnson in this apologetic mood hastens to add that 'any such list is an abstraction and must be open to new political claims' (page 93) ]. Thus gender in New Right thinking is not problematic, as shown in their conception of 'normal families' (page 94); in their identification of masculinity and enterprise; in their splitting of identities into simple terms like male and female. New Right thinking takes a simple pro-Western line over issues of technology, unlike as in the Labour campaign in 1987, on caring for the environment and the Third World [which Labour lost].
Socialism and communism were oppressive in terms of social relations, and face a genuine challenge if they are to grasp notions of caring ones. The New Right seized upon this, and offered new family-like social relations, and revived the notion of a national culture. This was of course selective and racist, and regional and macho, leading to a new plea for responsible individualism, from philosophers like Scruton. These policies arose possibly from a fear of change: there was a strong theme of negativity (pages 99f), especially towards modernising or reforming the State. The State was OK as long as it acted functionally in terms of maintaining values or the economy, at the most macro levels, but there is no need for welfare to interfere in the voluntary relations between individuals: the idea was to contain politics rather than expanding it. The New Right was afraid that anything could be politicised (page 102) [exactly what the New Left was intending].
New Right thinking saw society in terms of new classes -- entrepreneurs, or independents -- and were against what they saw as levelling down. Professional intellectuals were their enemy, sen as in some sort of dubious alliance with politicians to spend public money (page 105). This kind of politics shows the real power of the commercial bourgeoisie in New Right thinking, says Johnson, although this is often invisible. 'Multiple publics' took the place of the category 'taxpayers'. Welfare has benefited the working-class, and attempts to trim it back have led to the emergence of New Social Movements: these were held to be the enemy, and much 'hard ideological work' followed, in an attempt to link the decadence of the 1960s with welfare scroungers. The aim was both to create more coercive State systems and permit wealthier people to exit to private provision.
(Educational) professionals faced new dilemmas as a result. They had been deskilled, possibly (page 108f), and often formed close alliances with the new social/welfare constituencies. However they were still divided by gender. Nevertheless, they still held real power via the control of knowledge, although it would be wrong to see this as entirely progressive. There were some oppressive uses of this knowledge, successfully taken up by Thatcherism, but educationalists still had a base, alternative values and some power to resist. Above all, they were still needed.
So there is still room to manoeuvre for 'us' [we educational professionals, that is]. There will be no return to the old days when experts were consulted by politicians aiming at social reform. We should form alliances with users of our services, but we need to redefine the notion of our power first -- the status of academic knowledge is a problem, it helps us develop careers and address our peers, but leaves us as outsiders (page 111). We need to undermine conservatism, and transform the relations of power in education [assessment would be the key area for me], and begin to consider education outside the conventional institutions. Truth is the issue rather than polemics, even in our discussion of the New Right.
Chapter four (Avis). This chapter is about progressive education and initiatives such as CPVE [ the Certificate in Pre-Vocational Education, another short lived and European funded initiative in school-based vocational education] and YTS [the Youth Training Service, designed to help the unemployed school-leaver acquire the skills necessary for work -- another big scheme once, again funded partly by Euro cash].
Progressivism is always contradictory and is likely to be conservative. It can also be hegemonic when combined with the new vocationalism [there is a reference to a classic study by Sharp and Green here, which expose the contradictions in 'child-centred' primary education -- relying on children to proceed 'at their own pace' gives a tremendous unintended advantage to the middle-class child, it was argued]. Educational policies in this field owe more to bricolage than to consistent design. The flaws that result include an inherent individualism in terms of development and knowledge, empiricism, and an exposure to immediate tactical use in government policies. Policies such as the raising of the school-leaving age shows a tendency to reduce pedagogy to technique, and progressive methods are available for hijack by the new 'competency-based' approaches, which are often simply contrasted with 'traditional' teaching (page 119). A full-scale reductionism is likely -- behaviourism, or the social life skills of Youth Opportunities.
However, such initiatives also illustrate micropolitical resistance. Case-studies undertaken in CPVE, YOP and FEU [I can't remember for the life of me what this means -- Further Education Unit?] show a pattern of cultural reproduction and struggle, and the raising of discussion on matters such as the models of students, society, and education in place (whether these should be liberal, vocational, or meritocratic and so on).
These schemes also illustrates the progressive techniques may not be accompanied by critique, and may indeed be used to manipulate the learner. Certainly, struggles are limited by the curriculum. Even when there are criticisms, such as those of the elitism of traditional knowledge, the logic of criticism is often flawed -- the aims of such criticism are still conservative ones. [Presumably intending to replace traditional knowledge with vocational knowledge other helps the reproduction of the social relations of capitalism]. Radical teachers often attracted to these new schemes, but also commonly incorporated (page 136): knowledge is reified, and made abstract and empiricist in these schemes.
Overall, curriculum schemes like these reflect the social divisions among the school population, by perpetuating the idea that exclusively academic knowledge is only for the middle classes. Perhaps teachers were insufficiently political in their reactions to these schemes in the beginning?
Introduction to part two
Politics is central to education. As with studies of popular forms of life, choice is very limited in education: the cultural process underpins such choice, including the cultural capital of those choosing. The notion of an active agency can be stressed as a basis for resistance and transformation, but it needs to be made into alternatives, and this is difficult. The paradoxes of resistance and incorporation are always present too.
Chapter five (Vickers on the transition to YTS). Vickers writes as a humanities teacher facing up to the implications of the new vocationalism. He studied pupils in four schools in Leicestershire, and developed some implications for radical careers work -- examples from this work are found on page 150f, and they include using soap operas with the class [to develop careers education?]. He tries to develop positive response to the new ethos, but finds that YTS is actually very variable -- much depends on the gender, class or race since these factors structured opportunities. How the student saw YTS is another variable, and then of course there are differentials within YTS double - the so-called mode A or mode B options [entirely work-based or work and college-based options].
The conclusions are generally pessimistic. The official MSC survey showed a success rate of 60 per cent, but there was a low return rate and the questionnaire was very partisan. Informal knowledge about the scheme suggested student antagonism, an awareness of the low-status of the scheme, and a feeling that the scheme was not the first choice of students. Some of this sceptical knowledge came from the adult community, who tended to hold low opinions too, and saw YTS as a last resort. The scheme lies halfway between school and work, and this tends to confirm the low-status of schooling. The scheme operates with contradictory notions of the individual and the labour market and their respective needs (page 160).
The widespread scepticism about YTS has certain advantages: there are opportunities for radical teachers, who expose our choices are structured and thereby deny official accounts of equal-opportunity. Vickers hopes that the disadvantages of YTS will not lead to a return to the old curriculum, but to renewed dialogue about schooling.
[This is a very brief account of this article, and much of the burden of the argument is taken by a number of detailed examples, which I have not noted].
Chapter six (Hollands R on school and training) This chapter opens with a quote from Gramsci on the dubious nature of vocational education [although Gramsci's support for traditional education is not cited]. Holland's uses his own ethnographic research to illustrate the usual debates, and to pick up on the students' experience of rejection and feeling deeply wounded by conventional schooling -- so turning to vocational education seems good by comparison (page 172). However, this simply confirms the old division between manual and mental labour.
It is important to realise how limited the options of young school-leavers are, however. Certainly, unemployment soon gets extremely boring. YTS schemes simply appear as the main reality anyway. Careers teachers can be crucial mediators nevertheless (page 176) for example in allocating students to particular schemes (locality and proximity to home were important variables for students). On the whole though, allocation is really a lottery rather than a choice.
Phil Cohen is cited on working class identities and how they are tied to work opportunities -- there are 'apprenticeships' (which include cultural factors), 'inheritance' and 'career' codes. But all of these have been destroyed by the collapse of skill and the end of macho jobs -- although there is now a greater diversity too. Students have their own typologies too, which are interwoven with class race and gender -- for example the domestic nature of female work continues, and all destinations are 'infused with varied notions of femininity' (including glamorous ones). Trainees embrace an individualistic philosophy, and often fooled by the para-professional nature of work (page 181).
For females, there can be a female shop floor culture which offers a pause before marriage. It is class-based [that it generates solidarity] but still patriarchal too. For boys, Willis's 'lads culture' still persists (page 183). Boys are still looking for manly jobs which will enable them to 'have a laff' -- but the YTS scheme offers reduced opportunities, while 'deepening' racism and sexism (page 184). There are also service sector possibilities, which are individualistic and middle-class, and an 'entrepreneurial'option for both males and females.
YTS can take on anti-work values too, as students use it to develop their street skills. Occasionally, YTS experiences can lead to encounters with feminists, Unionists, or even proper work. So there are some active possibilities, and YTS can be a complex experience, with some 'soft spots'. But the new developments by the Training Agencies can incorporate some of these possibilities, and our successful in marketing positive images of proper careers, glamorous enterprises, and so on. This simply masks 'the real working-class issues such as decent employment rights' (page 190), but is also helpful as a kind of criticism of the old options.
In this way, there is a space for radical teachers to do dialogues, oppose work socialisation, and used work experience critically. It might help them grasp the youth question and press for reform of both Labour and the trades unions. The goal is to press for a unified system of education and training, which will reflect the 'cultural experiences and desires of young people themselves' (page 192).
Chapter seven (Avis J on CFEs and students' identities) The CFE was a vocational scheme which predated CPVE. Many students end in disillusion with school even when they are successes, producing Willis - type reactions [see file]. CFEs offered an ideology of vocationalism to replace the standard choices, and promised new pedagogic relations -- and these seem to pick up on class and macho elements, or conventional female elements, as in routes that led to nursing. Internal differences were recognised, but the structural inequalities between teachers and taught were not highlighted. Many students preferred the practical and work experience based courses, although this reproduces the mental/manual divide.
Avis found that even A-level students didn't like their subject (Sociology!) and developed instrumental and coping strategies. They disliked the 'childishness' of schooling, even where they recognised that work or unemployment could be worse. Style became a particular compensation for female students (page 209).
Overall, vocational courses offered a varied experience, and students were ambivalent and sceptical as well as committed to them. They stressed individualism, but there were still class elements too [I didn't find any strong evidence for this]. Avis's solution is to make academic education critical progressive again, to make it more relevant and to take on individualism course step
Chapter eight (McEwan on progressive teachers). This chapter is based on a study of a Leicestershire progressive, democratic Community College. It turned out to be not so democratic in terms of catering for women and parents, the teachers realised (page 217), and teachers now feel guilty, gloomily except reality or change their practices. The study consisted of interviews, questionnaire, and offering a feedback session to staff. The central themes were school policy, the relations-students, the curriculum, the possible response to MSC and TVEI, decision-making processes, the existence of factions among the staff in terms of progressivism, different views on race class and gender and how these are manifested in school, and Community Education. The study showed there was a determination to keep teacher involvement in policy making [and that there were still radical teachers in the system] and that efforts to politicise them were still worthwhile.
Chapter nine (Carspecken on parental choice). This chapter shows the complexities and the renewed class divisions brought about through the national curriculum. It focuses on one incident in particular in Liverpool, the parental campaign to retain Croxteth Comprehensive School, which featured an occupation by parents.
Despite their militancy, many parents shared a deep rooted belief in the traditional curriculum as proper education. The chapter chronicles various disputes among the radicals (pages 240f). Although centred on slogans about community power and the social wage, the campaigners still saw school as a black box, and as a general good thing, despite the fact that many of them themselves had rejected it [at last! A proper study of the attitudes of the respectable working-class!]. 'Proper knowledge' was that which was taught by 'the authorities'. Standards had to be maintained. These adults had challenged the schools when they were 'lads', but not broken with the authority of the school in general: they saw their own rebellion as youthful excess (page 247).
Parents could see no alternatives. Teachers wanted to oppose exams, but they were overruled. Parents wanted streaming. When teachers did develop infernal relations with parents, the pupils did not like it (page 253). The teachers always seemed separate from community volunteers, although this separation was never fully explicit. Conflicts occurred especially over methods of classroom control [parents wanted tougher ones].
So this unusual occupation by community volunteers could exaggerate the radical potential of parental choice, which seems to have been quite limited in practice. The episode shows the specific contexts for such actions are very important, and that cultural conditions affect choice as much as formal power [or some general residual radicalism among the working classes] (page 262). Parents seemed basically conservative, and Carspecken uses the term 'conditioned' to describe them [nothing very subtle about hidden forms of hegemony etc here then]. The occupation did lead to dialogue, though and this could have led to developments, but genuine dialogue about assessment and the curriculum is still essential.
Introduction to part three
The market will not work in education -- it reproduces class division and hides policies. Some sort of pluralism is needed, as in the New Times project. At the moment, professionals dominate the debates, and there is a need for a new complex politics involving making students conscious, and engaging them in debates. There must be clear and articulated assumptions in the debate instead of the unarticulated ones of the New Right, no challenge launched a against the apparent nationality of the national curriculum. A great deal of patient work is involved, as advocated by Carspecken above. Reforms of the whole system are needed, involving those on the inside.
Chapter ten (Avis on professionalism). Professionalism involves individualism, and the structural issues are rarely explored: more awareness of these is needed. The professionalisation of teaching has been affected by its material base -- the role of the State, for example in the national curriculum, the provision of TVEI and market-based relations, and the attempts to deskill teaching (page 277). [There is a reference here to Grace's work on professionalism]. Wider debates are needed, including a recognition of the antagonisms between teachers, and we should be developing radical professionals. We need to recolonise the practical. The contradictions in academic knowledge, in terms of its content and form, mean there can be no easy return to an academic curriculum (page 282), and that the tensions will remain.
Some sort of new synthesis is needed, through teacher activism, and through rethinking the old notion of 'really useful knowledge'. We need to consider real students, and to meet their short-term and long-term interests.Our research should move beyond positivism. We need to develop a potential alliance of all professionals, including welfare professionals and all other progressive movements. We should also admit the bad side of conventional teaching too, including racism and sexism (page 288). We need to take on managerialism and reverse it, but at least rearticulate it, as the New Times project suggests (page 290).
Chapter eleven (Green A). We need to modernise and expand the education system, and Green suggests some priorities: a post-16 unitary system of technical and academic education; the reform of A-levels; the end of the binary divide in higher education; a reform of the national curriculum. We need to radicalize teachers. Some hope has offered from European involvement (page 298). Labour policy is assessed and found to be favourable -- electoral pragmatism is seen as the excuse of Labour's failure to specify the level and source of funding.
Chapter twelve (Johnson R in conclusion). There should be a public acknowledgement of the limits and dilemmas of radical practice -- for example, we simply must grade students (page 308). Professional practice is often ideological. We must develop more irony, and be prepared to negotiate over our power. We should be prepared to be informal, but beware of seeing good relations with students as our reward -- being nice can 'mystify the asymmetries' between teachers and taught. We should experiment with group work. We should make all orientations to knowledge 'speakable' (page 311), as part of our agenda to equalise opportunities. Our aim should be to enable students to reach a position of their own, rather than pursue an abstract or a totally relative stance. We should defend ourselves against vocationalism, but be aware of the risks in doing this (page 313). We should be aware of the pain of education for the participants [teachers as well as students], which can lead to resistance. We should form alliances, starting with those at school. We should encourage new educational movements rather than specific organisational changes. We should encourage other sites to become educational ones, including homes. We should interest ourselves in the politics of difference. All these practices are already going on and will continue, but not if New Right thinking succeeds!