I am disappointed in this article. It is not the kind of reporting and comment which I had thought ‘The Ferret’ planned to provide. I had understood that The Ferret, while having an explicit political stance, intended to report things with a fair degree of objectivity and to discuss these with some rigour.
This is a piece, which I think has been written from a teacher union (viz EIS) perspective and to invite carping cavilling comment from such as Iain Gray and Ross Greer. It is a partisan propaganda piece, which is pretty much the norm for the author when he deals with education issues.
Full disclosure: I was a member of the EIS for almost 40 years, I am a retired HT, I have voted for Labour or Greens more often than I have voted for SNP. I am not a member of any political party.
Raising achievement of our young people and ‘closing the gap’ between those from areas of lower SIMD is very important. While testing has a role in a multi-strand strategy, increasing resources to compensate for the malign mplications of poverty to such communities and focussing more closely on pre school and early primary is the most likely way to be successful. Well-constructed tests are one of the key instruments, but these have to be used in conjunction with other evaluative instruments to inform the practitioners, the children and their parents. I have concerns that they will be used to create ‘league tables’ and to be used to provide cheap jibes such as Kezia Dugdale’s ‘illiterate pupils’ and comments such as Mr Gray’s in the article.
I think I have abided by your exhortations, which are in the box in yellow at the side as I write.
You have to have the courage to state explicitly that organisations like EIS, BMA, RCN are trade unions and that their principal aims are to advance their members’ pay and conditions. They might well have sincere concerns about those whom they serve, but, in pursuit of their members’ interests they issue selectively to promote the perception that things are bad. These organisations contribute to goal displacement of NHS, schools, etc; they tend to distort them to serving their own interests to the detriment of clients. Indeed, while these ‘professional’ unions profess to be supportive of publicly owned and run schools and hospitals, they contribute strongly to creating the atmosphere in which the ‘privatisers’ of the Conservative Party and New Labour can garner public support for their venal aims.
In his blog, Mr Derek Bateman makes the point that we need more collaborative politics to deal effectively with things like our ageing population and how the NHS can respond and how to enable young people from less materially comfortable backgrounds to achieve a better education and an education which is wide and not simply about reading,'riting and 'rithmetic. The private sector knows this well; look at the range of activities they offer.
So, do better … or seek employment with The Record or Sunday Post!