Today’s Guardian devotes three pages to a tribute to the recently deceased educationalist Ted Wragg, who, like most educationalists, wouldn’t have known a controlled experiment if it was being performed on one of his own children with a bonesaw. A lot of the space is taken up with the “best of” his quotable declarations on the subject of teaching: mostly smug, evidence-free piffle studded with linguistic clichés. But there are also admiring quotes from others, including Shirley Williams:
He had a synoptic vision of education but he didn’t get bogged down in the little details, he saw the thing as a whole. He visited a lot of schools. He believed in the concept of comprehensive education, but he was perfectly open to tackling the difficulties.
Bright, poor, ethnic, keen? Uppity nigger! The educationalists will see to it that that your ambitions are kicked* out of you by your less motivated peers at a sink comprehensive they’ve engineered specially for you, all in the name of a ramshackle ideology of levelling down so stupid even the Soviet Union rejected it. Funny how, before the state administers them, it’s more thorough in researching drugs whose worst side effects turn out to be headaches and nausea than it is in testing changes to schools whose side effects include the destruction of young lives.
*Actually, stabbing is growing in popularity these days.