Posted by: Administrator | 11/12/2009

Educators for Reform: The Founding Statement

{Admin note: This might be of interest to readers here}

The challenges of the twenty-first century can only be met by a rigorous education that promotes personal discipline, intellectual curiosity and independence of thought. The global economy places a high premium on the skills – logical thinking, problem solving and cognitive ability – that in-depth subject teaching engenders. Economic success and social progress go hand in hand. A rigorous education, available to all, is the key solution to stagnant social mobility.

Britain has a proud heritage of thought, from Isaac Newton to Alan Turing to Frederick Sanger. Parts of its thriving university sector are competitive on the global stage. The academies programme and TeachFirst are raising standards in schools where it is needed most. There are also signs of a grassroots intellectual renaissance; the British Museum is now the top tourist attraction in Britain.

But other parts of Britain’s legacy are less positive. With the best of intentions, successive governments have undermined the true values of education. A wish to make society more equal has undermined the teaching of knowledge, fixed syllabuses and assessment by examinations. A desire to make the economy more productive has weakened the intellectual content of curricula and put into question the value of learning for its own sake.

The result is that examination standards have fallen. Curiosity, initiative and problem solving have been sapped by teaching-to-the-test. One in ten young people say they would drop out of education to be on reality TV; half of 16-19 year olds aspire to be a celebrity. Teaching’s status as a profession has diminished. The baton of leadership once held by Britain has passed to others.

Educators for Reform will champion the value of education in itself for the future of Britain. This agenda is not about restoring the teaching methods and practices used in the Victorian classroom. It is about using accumulated knowledge to educate British citizens to the highest possible level. It is about abandoning techniques and philosophies that have been shown not to work and have damaged the lives of many children. It is about achieving a cultural change in British society, to the point where education and educational achievement are highly valued.

Educators for Reform are headteachers, vice-chancellors, teachers, lecturers, business-people offering qualifications and training, college heads – anyone who is passionate about educating others. We believe that education policy should be about:

• The value of learning for its own sake
• The importance of an educated society
• Autonomy for educational institutions over curriculum and staffing
• Recognition of the benefits of competition, rigour and elitism

We invite all those who believe in these values to join us. Please contact us to get involved with our programme and/or to support our work.

Dale Bassett
dale.bassett[at]reform.co.uk

Luke Tryl
luke.tryl[at]reform.co.uk

Educators for Reform
45 Great Peter Street
London
SW1P 3LT
Tel: 020 7799 6699
Fax: 020 7233 4446
www.reform.co.uk

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