Saturday, June 29, 2013

Private schools and song thrushes

click photo to enlarge
The other day I walked past the scene shown in this photograph and fell to thinking. My first thought centred on the song thrush that was singing its heart out from the top of a roadside tree even though it was ten minutes to eleven in the evening. Was this, I wondered, due to the fact that light remained in the sky or was it because of the street lights' illumination? Perhaps it was the combination of the two light sources that prompted its nocturnal canticle.

My second thought was one of despair. How long, I wondered, will our country have to suffer the dead weight of private education delivered by our so-called public schools? Is there no political party prepared to look at the clear evidence that private education not only impedes our country's economic progress through the values that it imparts, is one of the main causes of inequality that affects the rich every bit as much as the poor, and is a form of schooling that doesn't even deliver the educational goods that it professes to offer? One would imagine that a socialist party would give some thought to the issue, but no. You'd also think that parties of the right that espouse market values and a "survival of the fittest" culture would have no truck with a school system that produces students with inflated examination qualifications (see the link between average quality of university degree achieved by pupils of state and public schools with the same school examination grades), or that promotes advancement through socio-economic selection and networks rather than ability. But no, our private public schools continue to flog their wares to the well-heeled, the buyers and sellers profit, and the country continues to suffer from their self-interest.

The domed chapel shown in silhouette was completed in 1901. It serves Giggleswick School, "a co-educational boarding and day school", that charges fees to educate pupils. It is one of the many private educational establishments that I think our country would do well to dispense with for the better education and prosperity of all.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 37.1mm (100mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4.9
Shutter Speed: 1/60
ISO: 3200
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On