1/12/2008

Nick Clegg - Sounding a bit like the Tories, but better

I am a firm believer in democracy and believe that where state money sis spent in vast amounts, like education, then the spending of that money should be accountable to elected politicians who can be removed via the democratic process. That is why I oppose a privatisation of schools.

On a Tory website I found this from the Tories

"Michael Gove, the Shadow Children's Secretary, set out plans to tackle educational under-achievement in the immediate term through policies ... that:
- Allow educational charities, co-operatives and parents to set up new schools
- Removes obstacles which prevent new schools being "

Then today we read that Nick Clegg wants to allow schools what, at first, appears to be much the same powers as the Tories, but under "local authority oversight, but without council control", thus keeping the key principle of voters, all voters (including those who don't have children at the school but whose money goes to pay for the school) having a means of keeping the school in check and accountable.

This is a far better system than the Tories are proposing, which would be to allow schools to spend tax payers money but with no accountability, and no means of voters to check on how their money is being spent. In many ways it is like the Tories setting up a whole load of new QUANGO's, as they were doing in vast numbers in the early 1990's.

Nick Clegg also goes further than the Tories in wanting to see meaningless grades abolished. Who proudly boast that they have passed a GCSE because they got a G grade ? The Lib Dems would abolish meaningless grades which are really "fail" grades, and would label them as such. If we are really keen on raising standards, lets encourage children to get a real "pass" and allow employers to employ people on the basis of real grades.

I would like to have seen Nick go further and announce an ending of year 2 and year 6 SAT's tests to be replaced by proper teacher assessments (which I know in my case happen 6 times a year), because anyone who knows anything about Primary educations will attest to the fact that SAT's place an unnecessary stress on children and actually record what is measurable, but not what is important.

So overall, a good start from Nick Clegg. This may sound like a Tory policy, but on closer reading it is much more democratic and much more liberal and fair.

2 comments:

Paul Walter said...

Good post Nich!

Mark Pack said...

I agree that there's a lot of good detail in Nick's speech (surprise!). IN case you've not seen it, the full text is on the party website.

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