Friday, September 25, 2015

The Educational Cuts (1952)

From the April 1952 issue of the Socialist Standard

The Educational cuts suggested by Mr. R. A. Butler, and put into effect by the Minister of Education, Miss Florence Horsbrough, have raised a great outcry from many quarters. Perhaps the most vociferous sections have been the teaching profession and supporters of the Labour Party.

We look at the matter from the point of view—what fundamental effect will it have on the workers' position? But this is not the reformers' attitude. This prompts a further question—why in fact are we educated at all?

"Teacher's World" of 16th January, 1952, can perhaps throw a little light on these questions. An editorial article headed "Freedom" shows us the extent to which freedom can be practised. It is quite clearly stated that "this is the true freedom of the teacher to teach how he thinks best. But what he teaches is not, and never has been, left solely at the choice of the teacher." Who, then, decides what the teacher has to teach? Let us return to the article—"Curriculum, inevitably, must conform with the law, with public policy and with convention."

The last statement is further elaborated by being applied to three aspects, namely religion, politics and language.
"It would be wrong to leave teachers in maintained schools, or even Eton, free to play the tunes of atheism, paganism or gnosticism. For this is a Christian country. It is the policy of the State that the generality of its people should be Christian."
"Nor is it possible to give teachers the utmost political freedom. The tunes of communism, fascism, nihilism and anarchy are not to be played by teachers in county schools. It is public policy that the young of this country shall be educated as democrats."
Even the language of education is decided by public policy. Children must be brought up to speak English—or Welsh with English."
To sum up, then, the law, public policy and convention intervene in the educational system through the state. Since the state is the expression of the capitalist class, it must pursue an educational policy in their interests; it must ensure that there are at all times sufficient replacements for that vast army of wage-workers so necessary for the profit-motive system. In other words, the children of to-day are educated with a view to their being being the workers of to-morrow.

The Socialist Party of Great Britain does not seek to reform the education of the workers; it seeks to abolish the present system of society, Capitalism, and with it the educational policy which it creates. In its place we would establish a system of society where the education for our children will not be determined by the interests of a ruling class, but will be in harmony with an administration which satisfies the needs of all mankind.
Margaret Hopwood 

1 comment:

imposs1904 said...

This article was originally signed as 'M.G.H'.

For information on Margaret Hopwood, her Socialist Standard obituary is at the following link:
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2010s/2011/no-1287-november-2011/obituary-margaret-hopwood