We need to keep researching and working for public education in England.


Helen Gunter, FAcSS (Professor of Education Policy, Sarah Fielden Professor of Education, The Manchester Institute of Education) has given permission for this short post to be reproduced.  Its original site is on the Critical Education Policy and Scholarship (CEPaLS) blog: cepals@mie

“As election result day dawns, we can reflect on the polls, exit poll and the outcome. It is clear that the Conservatives will form the next government. What we now face is the full privatisation of education, where the move towards vouchers is logical given the pledge for more deregulation with 500 free schools promised – though it could be more.

As I contemplated this on the train today I started reading a new book from the US called: The Public School Advantage by Christopher A Lubienski and Sarah Theule Lubienski. The main thrust of the book is that the logic of the market with charter and independent schools, and vouchers, has not actually improved student outcomes. They make the case that public education is of a higher standard, and also that the quality of the teaching is higher! They make the point that their data analysis shows that:

“despite reformers’ adulation of the autonomy enjoyed by private and charter schools, this factor may in fact be the reason these schools are underperforming. That is, contrary to the dominant thinking on this issue, the data show that the more regulated public school sector embraces more innovative and effective professional practices, while independent schools often use their greater autonomy to avoid such reforms, leading to curricular stagnation” (pxvii-xviii).

Interestingly they also show that much of the market theories have been promoted through corporate/philanthropic investment in ‘research’ and have funded academics in centres/clusters in higher education. They raise serious issues about the research integrity of projects and claims being made by right wing researchers.

Colleagues, our agenda remains on track. We need to keep researching and working for public education in England”.