School Wars tells the story of the struggle for Britain's education system. Established during the 1960s and based on the progressive ideal of good schools for all, the comprehensive system has over the past decades come under sustained attack from successive governments. From the poorest comprehensives to the most well-resourced independent schools, School Wars takes a forensic look at the inequalities of our current system, the damaging impact of spending cuts, the rise of "free schools" and the growth of the private sector in education. Melissa Benn explores, too, the dangerous example of US education reform, where privatization, punitive accountability and the rise of charter schools have intensified social, economic and ethnic divisions. The policies of successive British governments have been muddled and confused, but one thing is clear: that the relentless application of market principles signals a fundamental shift from the ideal of quality education as a public good, to education as market-controlled commodity. Benn ends by outlining some key principles for restoring strong educational values within a fair, non-selective public education system.
Publisher: Verso Books
Number of pages: 276
Weight: 227 g
Dimensions: 197 x 130 x 22 mm
"Partisan but surprisingly fair ... refreshing, in a debate usually full of denunciations." Andy Beckett, Guardian "A clear-sighted restatement of why universal, comprehensive education is - obviously - the best option. It should, and hopefully will, be taken as a rallying call to the left." Phil Beadle, Independent "This is a tremendous book. It is a passionate polemic about the most important public policy divide of the day, schooling." Anthony Seldon, Observer "In this polemic, Benn sets herself up as a one-woman commission of inquiry, analysing the social, political, and financial case for comprehensive schooling in a climate of spending cuts and a culture of privatisation." The Times