Keep our system democratic

4th September 1998 at 01:00
Returning from holiday I read again the argument why local education authorities should cease to exist.

It is interesting that people elected by no one and accountable to no one are advocating the end of local democracy. But what is strange is that people take the argument seriously.

Professor Tooley advocated that education should be delivered by private companies running schools in competition with each other. In fact he compared a school system to running a supermarket. Somehow this has something to do with raising standards and giving every child an entitlement.

I repeat what I keep saying. Local education authorities do not run schools. Education in this country is the joint responsibility of the government (which is elected), local government (which is also elected) and teachers and governors in schools.

Each has different functions to carry out.

Local education authorities actually provide more money for schools than the Government does through the standard spending assessment grant system. Without local government schools would have less money.

I do not expect university professors to understand the complexity of local government finance, but I do wish that they would concentrate on helping us to raise standards in all schools, instead of calling for an educational system that destroys democratic accountability and would leave thousands uneducated.

Standards in this country have continued to rise since 1945 and Professor Tooley might want to contemplate that most of the students in his university have been educated in comprehensive schools, a policy pioneered by local government and supported by councillors of all political parties.

Graham Lane Leader Newham Council London E6

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