Public or Private Education? Lessons from History

Public or Private Education? Lessons from History

Public or Private Education? Lessons from History

Public or Private Education? Lessons from History

Synopsis

The essays that make up this collection examine past, present and future relationships between the private and public dimensions of education. The book offers an analysis of the situation from an international perspective.

Excerpt

The industrial revolution of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century had a major impact upon Britain. Industrialisation and urbanisation, coupled with the rise of the bureaucratic state, led to much clearer distinctions between private and public in terms of employment, the roles of females and males, general social organisation, politics and the provision of welfare and education. Two centuries later many of those distinctions are being eroded. Home-working, both for men and women, is on the increase, fuelled by the revolution in communications generated by computers and the internet. Girls and women are no longer predominantly associated with the private sphere, but have full access to, if not always full participation in, public life. The capacity of individuals to employ others for personal as opposed to productive services proliferates once more-as shown by the rise of the personal trainer and lifestyle counsellor.

The privatisation of the British political, economic and social agenda of modern times is often dated from the election of 1979, which brought Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party to power. Public utilities were sold to private companies, local authority tenants were given the right to purchase their council houses and the powers of trade unions and professions were curtailed. In the years 1979-97 Conservative educational policies aimed at bringing market principles to bear in education included: the publication of school examination results, increased parental choice of schools and greater parental representation on school governing bodies, devolution of budgets to schools and open enrolment, and the right of schools to opt out of local education authority control. Little turning back occurred under Labour governments from 1997. In 2001 Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer in a

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