No Hidden Agendas, and an Inquiry into Education

In this week of important anniversaries we’re today sharing a significant milestone for 3D Eye. This is our 400th blog post. We’ve been keeping an eye on wellbeing, education and human intelligences for quite some time, though only sharing our thoughts through this blog since 2011.

Sometimes we’re asked whether our opinions are fixed and set in stone. Are they conditioned by adherence to a particular political agenda or party loyalty? Are they personal, professional or political?

scalesOur position is that it’s impossible to separate the personal, the professional and the political – or at least it should be impossible if one’s values are ethical, humanistic and extend beyond party politics.

To understand what we mean by this, we could consider last Tuesday’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of Emily Wilding Davison’s protest at the Epsom Derby.

suffragette epsomThe suffragette movement was supported by both women and men, by people of all social classes and by members of every political party. The movement’s aims were progressive in that they focused on the need to increase human equality, to promote human wellbeing and to further social justice. These were values that could be supported by all people in every part of society. A great many people fought for these aims – and supported the suffragettes – just as a great many fought against them.

suffragettes 1The antis said as much about their values and their ideology as did the pro-suffragettes about theirs – even those who just stood by and appeared passive in the face of an enormous social injustice. Is there anyone today who’s prepared to say that the suffragette cause was wrong and should never have succeeded?

suffragettes 2Similarly with the tragedy of World War Two. Yesterday we tweeted about the 69th anniversary of D-Day to recall the bravery of those who took part in the invasion of Normandy – men and women of every social class and every party allegiance who were willing to put their lives at risk in the cause of a great anti-Nazi coalition.

At this point I’ll admit to a personal bias in terms of my own father’s participation in the Normandy invasion, and the fact that he was badly injured and almost lost his life on the battlefield. Without a doubt my feelings about this, and about the Nazis, have influenced my entire life. They have made me anti-Nazi, anti-imperialist and anti-war. They have made me pro-peace and pro-equality in the same way that the whole country, as a response to being “in it together” during the war, wanted its postwar government to build homes fit for heros, to promote a more equal society, to enact social justice through better universal healthcare and education, and to care about the wellbeing of every single citizen – be they rich or poor, male or female, black or white.

D-DayAs a result of the horrors of Nazism it became impossible for decent people to support racism, class prejudice, gender inequality and other forms of gross inequality – in this and many other countries. To its credit the Tory party – especially under the relatively enlightened leadership of the one-nation Tory Harold MacMillan – adhered to the social democratic postwar consensus and maintained a commitment to progressive taxation, decent public housing and high quality healthcare and education for all (including adult education).

social justice 2Now that the postwar consensus has broken down it’s necessary to at least be aware that this is the case. Even the Labour party’s leadership – during the period of New Labour – believed that it could no longer stand for the traditional values of the so-called people’s party, and considered it impossible to break with the new system of values and economics that had become the post-Thatcher norm in England (though not in Scotland and Wales).

Clearly 3D Eye is not on the right wing of the political spectrum, and we’re probably as pro-social justice as it’s possible to be. We differentiate ourselves absolutely from those who believe there’s ‘no such thing as society’, as well as those who are ‘intensely relaxed about the filthy rich’. Since the Labour party is still trying to decide where it stands on many issues that impact on social justice – including schools and education – we’re not unconditional supporters of, and not members of, the Labour party.

social justice 3To put all our cards on the table, we’re essentially supporters of social justice, human rights and particularly the rights of children and young people. We’re also members of Compass, which is a non-aligned group or movement of those who are working for progressive changes in our society that will impact on the life chances of families and of our future generations. Compass welcomes to its ranks anyone – social democrats, liberals, greens, independents, etc – who support its progressive aspirations.

compassThrough our membership of Compass we’re about to embark on a major project whose focus is a national inquiry into education in Britain. This inquiry will be officially and publicly launched by Compass next week at an event at the House of Commons, which we’re looking forward to attending. Is our involvement in Compass’s inquiry personal, professional or political? It’s all of those, and we sincerely hope we can encourage as many 3D Eye readers as possible to join Compass and become involved in any way they can with this major effort to create a report into the current state of education in Britain, and a sense of where education should go in the future.

Our current secretary of state for education claims he’s with Gramsci in his concern for the educational achievements of the most needy children and young people, as he pursues his Hirschian and neo-liberal agenda for educational attainment based on high stakes exams and a centrally-prescribed, knowledge-focused curriculum. We regard this as complete nonsense, and we will continue to examine and comment in this blog on what Simon Jenkins rightly claims is in effect Soviet-style control and management of education in England. This is now a time for all who care about children and young people, and also care about a good society, to stand up and say which side they’re on.

hands upGF

https://3diassociates.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/compass-conference-radical-approaches-to-education/

https://3diassociates.wordpress.com/2012/12/12/compass-education-radical-approaches-to-education-conference-part-two/

http://www.compassonline.org.uk/

Related articles

An Educational Revolution for a Good Society (3diassociates.wordpress.com)

Tweeting Headteachers and a Need to Reform Education (3diassociates.wordpress.com)

Simon Jenkins on Education in England – A Devastating Critique (3diassociates.wordpress.com)

A Slow Revolution (3diassociates.wordpress.com)

The Future of Education – in Finland and Elsewhere (3diassociates.wordpress.com)

Our Friends in Business (3diassociates.wordpress.com)

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About 3D Eye

Gary Foskett and Clare Blackhall are educationalists, writers and consultants. We work with schools and other organisations who share our vision of how schools, businesses, etc should work in the 21st Century. We also run courses and contribute to conferences - speaking about our three dimensional model of intelligences and how schools, colleges and universities can develop the full potential of all their staff and students. We also offer consultancy for businesses and public sector organisations to support staff training and organisational change and development. For more detailed information read our blog at https://3diassociates.wordpress.com/ or see our website at www.3diassociates.com.
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