Schooling and the Commodification of Education

I worked as a volunteer in a UK primary school for a decade running a media club with ten and eleven year olds. I also tried to implement the then Labour government’s plans to introduce Learning Platforms. The school kindly funded my completion of a MA in education. I learnt 2 things in this time: 1. you can’t legislate for technological development and 2. Schooling and education are fundamentally at odds.

Schools in the UK and the US both suffer from their subjugation to neo liberalism. They serve to reproduce the necessary workforce for a Western Capitalist model of the world. Creativity is denied, very politely but also absolutely. By the time a child is twelve years old they’ve worked this out. No, I’m not arguing there are millions of mini Marxists running about with an awareness of their role in the reproduction of a proletariat, but I am suggesting the child knows he must embrace the boundaries of what is currently acceptable in the Schooling model. And however much we disguise it those boundaries remain largely the same: any work done that does not fit the heavily prescribed direction of state led Schooling is ignored, genuine creativity is squandered and intelligence is rated by scores on what amounts to a multiple choice test, where the providers of exams bow to a market that is seeking a certain mode of limited thinking.

The first time a youngster comes across encouragement to a deeper thought process is in higher education. But this is increasingly changing. The world doesn’t want creative leadership. it wants to maintain the status quo. And as time carries on any creative leadership/invention is swamped by the mediocre and the acceptable sycophant.

So what of that individual who somehow, by force of character, or more usually by accepting a label of eccentric oddball, tries to rise above their prescribed role. They are mostly to be found hiding in the shadows of academia, where once upon a time they would have been called philosophers or great thinkers. Now they are merely obstacles of ill thought out, but sanctioned, policy.

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