New Labour keeps same old scapegoats;Letter

26th June 1998 at 01:00
Margaret Hodge calls for a "new" or "Third Way" in education (TES, June 12), beyond the failed ideologies of Left and Right. While teachers will agree that political ideology is part of the problem rather than the solution, few will believe that Labour policy is "new".

After a year in office it becomes increasingly clear that essentially Labour offers more of the same "tough on teachers" centralised and controlling approach, attempting to cover up the under-resourcing that has typified successive governments for a quarter of a century.

The bulk of research evidence points to the failure of education policy over that period, providing neither decent education nor value for taxpayers.

Further evidence of the damage done in terms of the crisis of teacher recruitment and retention grows.

Despite this, New Labour continues down the path of proven failure, bringing itself into the same disrepute as the previous Conservative government.

Nothing has been learned, it seems, by this Government, whose calls for a "learning society" are thus weakened at best, or become laughable at worst.

Politicians of both major parties must be called to account now for incompetent management of education.

Margaret Hodge is right to seek a new way, but this means that the Government must truly "think the unthinkable" and have the courage and wisdom to break with the failures of the past. Blaming and scapegoating teachers while not telling the truth to the nation must cease if effective and ethical educational policy is to be made.

To trust in teachers and the people would cost less and promise more. A policy of truth and reconciliation is the way forward, as we can see elsewhere in the world.

Dr Rod Mackenzie The Granary Rill Farm Aylesbeare Devon

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