What is the NUT for?
Originally posted by Peter Inson at 11:58, April 5 2013
Earlier this week one newspaper asked what the NUT is for.
One of its functions seems to be to implement government instructions relating to children who have been entrusted to their care, even when it has condemned these instructions, as it is currently doing over basic tests of six year-olds. The union’s members have yet to learn that strikes in state schools undermine the national child-minding service of which they are an integral part and alienate parents who might have more time for teachers if they were prepared to put themselves on the line by refusing to work in ways which they claim are harmful to children.
Were it not for the effect on children in state schools, one could dismiss the antagonism between the NUT and secretaries of state for education on the grounds that they deserve each other, but children deserve better.
When I taught in state schools I tried to persuade other unions to pursue secretaries of state in the courts: for wasting public resources – text books rendered out of date before they were delivered by rapid changes in the maths curriculum, and unreasonable comparisons of maintained with independent schools. Both unions declined to act for lack of certainty about the outcome.
Until the so-called teaching profession puts its own house in order it will continue to struggle with politically-motivated direction on the one hand and on the other with families and children who resent the discipline that is a precursor of education. Meantime we have employers and academics bewailing falling educational standards among young adults and a shortage of young people qualified for careers in science and technology.