Will Hutton in a state of confusion

4th May 2001 at 01:00
Having admired Will Hutton's book, The State We're In, I was disappointed with the sloppy thinking of "What a state our comprehensives are in" (TES, April 13).

How can he have "a lot of sympathy" for the National Union of Teachers' case (against specialist schools), and at the same time sneer that it "lost the argument years ago"? If its case holds water, then that is what counts.

Improvements in teachers' pay and conditions and the quality of the education service have to be fought for. To claim that we should not even threaten industrial action because it is "proletarian" is an argument I don't think you would hear anywhere other than ritain. I can't see our French colleagues, for example, falling for this one! Employees have the legal right to organise collectively and withdraw labour as a last resort. Their social class cannot be a determinant of the correctness or otherwise of this position.

If the specialist schools initiative takes off, I predict a scramble by parents to get children into "better" schools, thus making more intractable the problems of the ones that are left, especially in the inner cities.

To go along meekly with Will Hutton's line of reasoning is, I am afraid, very much a mug's game.

Andrew Turner 38 Swin Forge Way Swindon, Dudley

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