For around a decade, immigration has been among the most salient issues for British voters, and particularly in the years since the decision to leave the European Union, British news coverage has been overwhelmingly preoccupied with Brexit and all of its corollaries. Though social institutions such as the NHS have come to the fore during this period, the issue of the quality of British education has largely been neglected, despite the fact that over half of all voters consistently view education as one of the most significant factors when choosing a party to vote for. When education has featured in contemporary political discussion, it has largely been invoked in relation to immigration, and as such, has been utilised as an ideological cudgel in televised polemics. For these reasons, though many Brits are keenly aware of the existence of education inequality within the UK, few are aware of the extent of the problem, and many continue to view Britain as a meritocratic society.
There is waste happening all around us – waste of food, waste of money, waste of resources. There is however a deeply saddening waste which is happening under all of our noses. It’s the waste of human talent – hundreds of thousands of young people in our country who do not fulfil their full potential. I’m talking about the so-called “less able” who are not given high expectations, the “more able” who are not challenged further and the cosy middle who are mollycoddled and not stretched beyond their comfort zone. Continue reading “Should We Give Grammar Schools Another Try?”
It almost goes without saying that education is the key to success. But it does still need to be said, because huge achievement gaps in primary and secondary education stubbornly persist in both the United States and the UK. Children from different socioeconomic, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds are simply not awarded the same educational opportunities, a discrepancy that has profound consequences for their chances later in life. This gap is often quantifiable. For example, why is it that in 2008 test scores for black seventeen-year-olds in the US, as opposed to their white seventeen-year-old peers, reflected a difference in learning approximately equivalent to three fewer years of school? Why are there two black Caribbean students for every three white British students in the highest testing tier at age fourteen, even when these students’ test scores at age eleven were equivalent? Clearly, something crucial is missing in the approaches that both countries currently take to educating diverse groups of students. The question that follows is whether current policy is capable of addressing these trends, and, if not, what the most effective and efficient policies might be. Continue reading “How do we fill in the Gaps in Education Policy? A Look at the US and the UK.”