LETTER:Complacency in education

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The Independent Online
From Mr George Walden, MP Sir: When you published my article ("Schooled in hypocrisy", 9 January) I told my wife that there would be a letter saying that what we needed were more resources in the state sector, and equating money with quality. It duly came yesterday. I was sad (genuinely) to see that it was from a Labour education spokes man, Win Griffiths. Does he feel he has scored a point against "the enemy"? In whose eyes? Did he not notice my criticisms of the Conservative position on choice, as applied to private schools?

If Mr Griffiths believes there is no problem of low aspirations in state schools, he should say so. But first he should read David Blunkett's speech last week at Ruskin College, where he faced the issue squarely, attacking the "culture of complacency" and "patronising benevolence" that reinforce under-achievement: "a good education is seen - even, I fear, by some on the left - to be beyond the wit of many working-class children."

Mr Blunkett has thus advanced to the position that Jim Callaghan set out in his famous Ruskin speech nearly two decades ago, though Mr Griffiths has yet to catch up. Better proof of my thesis of a blocked society I could not ask for.

Yours faithfully, GEORGE WALDEN MP for Buckingham (Con)

House of Commons London, SW1

12 January

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