18 Jun '14

News How class impacts on education | @guardianletters

The government response to news of failing white working-class pupils is both telling and puzzling (Top teachers needed to help poor white pupils, 18 June). Given the range of factors that this group has in common with other disadvantaged and deprived groups, it ought to raise eyebrows if not blood pressure that the first response of the Commons committee is to engage "accomplished teachers", and not least because such a proposal has never been aimed at the decades-long failure of other ethnic groups.Such teachers are a boon to any school, but the call for their deployment diverts attention from a failure to analyse problems that are likely to be systemic rather than owed to a presumed lack of expertise among current teachers. Is there compelling evidence of a strong correlation between white working-class children and the inadequacy of their teachers? Are other pupils in the same schools hermetically sealed from the deleterious effects of such teachers? As with so many problems whose origins are structural, the preferred response of government is to engage in the magical thinking that solutions can simply be bought.Paul McGilchristLondon Metropolitan university Continue reading...

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