24 April 2010

UK election

Asked about my interest in the UK election, I do not say that there's no difference between the parties. The winner would surely do things differently from the losing parties. But I do say that the nature of that difference and its implications cannot be known in advance. In 1997, former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said that his priorities would be 'education, education and education'. The results, after 13 years, have been dismal: 'teaching to the test', a switch to less demanding subjects, and grade inflation.
Although the current Labour government has doubled spending on schools since coming to power in 1997, pupils are falling behind their counterparts in other rich countries. Their recent showing in the tests of 15-year-olds' reading, mathemantics and science skills...has been sobering. Between 2000 and 2006 Britain tumbled down the OECD's rankings in all of them.... A classroom revolution (subscription), 'The Economist', 24 April
Politicians should talk about outcomes, not intentions. And election campaigning should discuss outcomes, rather than intentions, platitudes, spending plans, or vague and often conflicting so-called priorities.

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