Monday , December 16 2019
Home / Adam Smith Institute / Compulsory education

Compulsory education

Summary:
On November 29th, 1870, the Elementary Education Act passed into law. We’ve tended to call landmark education acts in the UK after the education ministers who put them through, and this one is popularly called the Foster Act, just as later ones were the Butler Act of 1944 and the Baker Act of 1988. The Foster Act introduced compulsory private education in England and Wales, though it was not initially all tax-funded state education. Until then schooling had been private, with the “penny schools” teaching a high proportion of children literacy at the cost of one penny a week. A penny was then one 240th of a pound. The 1870 Act established local education authorities to fill gaps in schooling, and authorized public monies to upgrade existing schools where this was deemed necessary. The 1902

Topics:
Madsen Pirie considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Tyler Durden writes Is China Or The US The Biggest Global Superpower? Here’s What The World Thinks

Tyler Durden writes Colas: “I Met Paul Volcker A Few Years Ago…”

Tyler Durden writes A Quarter Of Kids Treated At Transgender Clinics May Just Be Autistic, New Study Finds

Tyler Durden writes Virtue Signaling To The Max: Dems Dis Their Own Debate

On November 29th, 1870, the Elementary Education Act passed into law. We’ve tended to call landmark education acts in the UK after the education ministers who put them through, and this one is popularly called the Foster Act, just as later ones were the Butler Act of 1944 and the Baker Act of 1988. The Foster Act introduced compulsory private education in England and Wales, though it was not initially all tax-funded state education.

Until then schooling had been private, with the “penny schools” teaching a high proportion of children literacy at the cost of one penny a week. A penny was then one 240th of a pound. The 1870 Act established local education authorities to fill gaps in schooling, and authorized public monies to upgrade existing schools where this was deemed necessary. The 1902 Education Act allowed local authorities to create secondary schools, and the 1918 Education Act 1918 abolished fees for elementary schools.

Schooling in Britain has been very much a case of the wrong thing done for the right reasons. It is good that children should be educated and given a chance to exercise their talents and to make good. Nearly all parents want this to happen, and some need help to bring it bout. The mistake was for the state to go into the production of education, owning schools and paying teachers. The role of the state would have been better had it concerned itself with the finance of education. It could have directed funds to ensure that every child had access to decent schooling. Instead it turned primary and secondary education into effective state monopolies, giving power to local authorities and teachers’ unions to control its output, instead of directing it to produce what parents wanted.

The result was the abolition of grammar schools, which promoted social mobility, and the spread of comprehensive schools that held back bright students by prioritizing equality of outcome more than achievement. Starting with the Baker Act of 1988, various measures have been implemented to redress this. Foundations schools, Academy schools and more recently Free schools have been given a status that gives the school some autonomy from local authorities.

Ideally state education should allow for different types of school, with parents given the choice of where their child should go, and with public funds being directed by those choices. The school system in England and Wales is heading there steadily, as more schools choose that route. It is, in effect, a voucher system in which the vouchers have been made invisible, floating above the head of every child, and sending state funds to the chosen school they attend.

Teachers’ unions and left-controlled local authorities have opposed all of the measures designed to turn schooling from a top-down system in which the state allocates each child a school place, into a bottom-up system in which the choices are made by parents and children. Fortunately, the reformers were able to draw on the experiences of countries such as Sweden and the Netherlands where parental choice directs the state funding.

Ideologues might want to create new model children, taught to value a state-directed society and to acquire statist opinions, but parental choice thwarts this by choosing to have children educated instead.

Media enquiries: 07584 778207 (Call only, 24 hour)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *