Starting to drain the Education swamp...

May 15, 2024By Pete North


I like Miriam Cates and I know what she's getting at, but Miriam Cates' speech on lawless schools is the wrong approach and I doubt it's enforceable. If anything, it will weaken the authority of the state because parents will openly defy it.

What's missing is proper parental supervision and a lack of discipline imposed by teachers. That points to a bigger and more difficult problem. 

Teachers, like the police, can only impose discipline if they have the backing of the state and the parents. The police are hamstrung by political correctness without political backing, and teachers live in constant fear of lawsuits and disciplinary action. Consequently, they have no authority and kids can run rings around them, just as criminals can openly mock the plod. 

The more difficult problem is the lack of parental backing of teachers, where parents view teachers as glorified babysitters. Teachers should have parental authority to impose discipline on licence, but if teachers assert their own authority, they are likely to face complaints from parents.

The other problem, is that we have overly feminised teaching, and too many teachers are an absolute pushover who do not command respect in their own right, thus lack personal authority. Kids can smell a weakling a mile off.  

The ultimate issue, though, is feckless parents who take no interest in their child's development, and believe it is the responsibility of the school to instil discipline. Parents are outsourcing parenthood to schools, and a leftist run educational establishment is all too happy to assume that role, with the state acting as a surrogate. Leftists want control over your kids so they can indoctrinate them in everything from climate dogma to gender ideology. Instruments like free school meals are just one of the ways to water down parental responsibility. 

Fixing this is not easy. Fixing it requires better, more rounded teachers.

It used to be the case that teaching was a respected profession and a teacher would enjoy a degree of social status. Now it's just a job. There is no competition to become a teacher, and nobody in their right mind would want to do it with so little moral support from the state or from parents, and not for the pitiful pay.

I think what's needed is a formal contract between parents and schools, setting out the obligations of all parties including the child, and the school should enjoy the right to exclude. Here, I'm in danger of speaking outside my field of experience, because I know how difficult that would be to enforce, and the school isn't always right. It would probably need independent regional arbitration bodies headed up by voluntary magistrates.

We have no problem setting standards, but we're useless at enforcing them because we're a soft touch and there are too many mitigating excuses. We need to demand better of parents and make them understand that their negligence/indifference/incompetence will have consequences. What we're talking about here is a renewed social contract that stops making allowances, especially on the grounds of race/faith and culture, and doesn't bend to "special snowflakism". Your child, in all probability, does not have special needs, isn't autistic, and needs to comply with the same  basic standards as everyone else. 

The proliferation of unchecked phone use among minors is a symptom of a broader malaise, and Cates is attacking a symptom rather than an issue that has deeper philosophical causes. 

As such, her proposal is only going to end up inconveniencing responsible parents while making virtually zero impact on the causal problems, which would no doubt require much more ambitious and contentious measures, and will again have to take on the blob. This falls short of that very necessary confrontation, and we can chalk it up as another instance of the Tories fiddling around the edges, and shrinking from taking on bad faith actors and degenerate leftist ideas. This is a half measure, and it ain't gonna work.

A simplistic, half-baked populist approach illustrates why populism is a poor substitute for policy. aims to provide efficient and common sense government without the millstone of dogmatic politics