Socialist Worker

Labour's crackdown on "bad" teachers ignores real issues

Issue No. 2103

Teachers were under attack once again this week. Jim Knight, the schools minister, said that every school has at least one bad teacher who should be “helped” to “move on” to a different job.

He claimed that the quality of teaching in schools was a “social justice issue” and that “thousands” of children were failed every year by bad teachers.

Knight failed to mention how New Labour’s policies have made the work of teachers more difficult, or how they have worsened the quality of education that children receive.

The real problems in schools are clear to most people.

Forcing children to take numerous tests ruins their education.

It also increases workload and stress for teachers.

Refusing to properly fund schools and reduce class sizes means a worse education for children and worse conditions for teachers.

When these things are added to wider structural problems – such as poverty and racism – it’s clear that there are a number of genuine barriers that stop children getting a decent education.

These are the real “social justice issues”.

But for the government, scapegoating teachers poses far fewer problems.

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Tue 27 May 2008, 18:52 BST
Issue No. 2103
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