Thursday, 31 March 2016

Conspiracy theory of the day

According to a recent headline "Education reforms have brought 'chaos' to classrooms, says NUT leader." From the point of view of Christine Blower, most other education professionals, parents and, most importantly, children, Nicky Morgan, Michael Gove and every other destructively meddling reforming education secretary, going back at least to David Blunkett* (who first rolled out the notion that academy schools would somehow solve the "problem" of "bog-standard" comprehensives), have all been doing a terrible job.

But you could also say they've been making an excellent job of furthering elite interests by keeping the plebs demoralised, ignorant and tractable -  "...the political establishment decided that the best way to keep the British** public passive and servile would be to systematically deny them the thinking skills they need to see through the right-wing political propaganda they're being drip-fed..."

Conspiracy theory? Well, Hanlon's razor warns against attributing to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. But on the other hand, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you...
"Conspiracy theory" can also be used as a snarl word to dismiss a valid worry that a group is up to something. A good example would be the discovery of COINTELPRO. People such as the Black Panthers and Abbie Hoffman suspected that the FBI had a covert program dedicated to tracking, discrediting and destroying them; however, they were largely written off as paranoid radicals finding a way to blame the man for their failures. (All sane people knew J. Edgar Hoover would never do anything such as these freaks were claiming!) Then, lo and behold, in 1971 the "FBI Burglars" released documents mentioning COINTELPRO. This in turn led journalists to investigate and expose the program and prove that the radicals were right.
Anyway, it's just a theory - use your own critical thinking skills to decide whether cock-up or conspiracy best explains our ongoing educational catastrophe. Right, Brian?

Brian: You've got to think for yourselves. You're all individuals.
[Crowd, together]: Yes, we're all individuals!
Brian: You're all different.
[Crowd, together]: Yes, we're all different!
Lone voice in crowd: I'm not...
[Crowd, together]: Shhh!
*The Tories have the most terrible record on educational "reform", but New Labour deserves a dishonourable mention for cobbling together such Frankenstein's monsters as academy schools and student-paid tuition fees in the first place.

** "English" if we're talking forced academisation.