Anastasia de Waal
July 2006

Anastasia de Waal, who is affiliated with the London think tank Civitas, a non-partisan group that says its chief interest is "civic cohesion," has written this stinging, 148-page exposé of how the British government's school inspectorate is neutering many of England's "independent" schools. Though much has been written in praise of the school-inspector system (New York's Joel Klein has actually imported a version of it to his sprawling domain), de Waal insists that the Blair government is using it more like a police force to turn independent schools into facsimiles of government-run schools--right down to their curricula, teaching methods, and record-keeping. And although these independent schools must comply with onerous regulations, they've still seen what little government financial aid they and their students previously received dwindle. This will resonate with U.S. private (and charter) schools fearful of heavy-handed government regulation, with or without government aid. The author also points out that the Blair government's "third way" approach leads it to welcome private funding and initiative throughout the schooling system, but that it has little or no tolerance for true educational diversity. You may want to have a look. You can get more information here.

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