As election fever heats up I fear that education is being used as a manipulative tool to gain votes. But at what cost to schools, teachers and particularly our kids?
Education is a concern for all parents. And of course all teaching staff and other educational professionals. We are bound to be interested in any educational promises the various parties make and this will affect our vote.
But is this right? And who can we trust?
We’ve had many a promise broken before – the cost of university fees for instance. But the more fundamental question is; is it right even that education should be political? Is it not the case that educational decisions and policies should be determined irrespective of political leaning, should be generic and not politically biased? That is the only way we could have an objective and professional education system (professional as in – the practising educational professionals making the decisions) and not one that is at the mercy of political whims. (Interesting article here)
The trouble with each political party having its own ideas on education policies is that it is always the children and those working in the profession who suffer as a result. They suffer constant change, not always for the better. They suffer policies that are made for political leverage rather than educational excellence. They weather educational trends which are created more for popularity than the good of the children. It can feel that the needs of the children are way down the list of priorities, despite promises made in public, and education becomes disruptive and inconsistent.
I’m not suggesting that education remain static and unchanging. New research and new ideas constantly update what we know about learning and teaching and develop new approaches to educating the young. But these developments and changes should be made on intelligent research and increased understanding, irrespective of what political preferences we have or the fickle climate of politics. I’m not promoting his party but it seems Nick Clegg thinks the same.
So when we think about which party to support, and check out their educational policies, we could do well to keep in mind whether these feel like they are made for the good of the children or the good of the politicians!
Perhaps we need a campaign to keep politics out of our children’s and teacher’s lives, or I fear we will never know the answer to my earlier question; who can we possibly trust?