The Tory Mind on Education, 1979-94

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Falmer Press, 1994 - Education - 159 pages
"The purpose of the book is to attempt to understand Conservative education policies since 1979 by referring to the declared beliefs, values and attitudes of Conservative politicians and their advisers. Although education policies since 1979 have been greatly criticised for lack of coherence, an assumption is made that there is an ideological pressure of some power behind the policies. Part of the problem - and the explanation - is that the ideology behind the educational changes, although powerful, has serious internal contradictions. The author divides Conservative views on education into three categories: those of the privatisers (who would denationalize education completely): the minimalists (who prefer a state system which is deliberately cheaper and inferior to the independent sector): and the pluralists (who would like a high quality service for all, but with built-in selection)." "Part of the story since 1979 has been the tilting of the balance of power in favour of the privatisers: market forces and consumerism have tended to dominate. One of the ironies of the situation is that the Conservatives, who pride themselves on their practical and common-sense approach to education, have adopted policies which rely on the abstract, highly theoretical work of Hayek, and on an objectives model of curriculum and assessment which is not only the most theoretical one available (and of doubtful applicability), but is also very far away from the teachers who have had to struggle to operate the new system." "The book concludes with an assessment of the chances of the Conservative Party being able to adjust to the needs of an education service suitable for the next decade."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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About the author (1994)

Denis Lawton is professor at the Institute of Education, London.

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