Do I see some cause for concern in the latest PISA findings? Yes! Do I see a ‘crisis’ in Scottish education? Of course not! Because I’m neither an idiot nor, to the extent that there is a meaningful distinction, a British nationalist.
While any suggestion of a decline in education standards is troubling, what is truly disturbing is the unbridled glee with which the British parties have pounced on this suggestion as a stick with which to beat the hated SNP. In all the overblown rhetoric of catastrophic, sky-collapsing failure, it is not possible to detect so much as a vestigial concern for those at the heart of the issue – the students. Listening to the comments from the British parties in Scotland one hears only the bitter resentment of politicians rejected by the electorate and the shrill panic of ideological Unionists fearful of any threat to a system that serves their narrow personal and partisan interests.
Such is the state of our politics in Scotland that the divide is not between different concepts of education – its purpose, organisation and methods – but between those who are genuinely concerned about the educational welfare of our children and those whose first instinct is to use it as a weapon in their fight to regain what they regard as their rightful status.
Are there issues with Scotland’s education system that need to be addressed? Undoubtedly! Are those issues going to be effectively addressed by media sensationalism and political theatrics? Absolutely not!
Who should we trust to address those issues? Should we put our faith in those who, for the sake of petty political advantage, seize upon every opportunity to talk down our education system and the people who make it work? Or should we rely on the people who maintain a sense of proportion and decline to indulge in a knee-jerk reaction to a single isolated indicator?
Should we turn to those who can see nothing but crisis? Or should we stick with those who have earned our confidence?Views: 2029
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