Not Saussure

December 2, 2006

The Social Contract revisited — sign or we’ll prosecute you

Filed under: Education, Politics, UK — notsaussure @ 3:34 pm

A variation, apparently, of our Dear Leader’s plan for social contracts that you sign, as generally greeted without much enthiasm last week.

The latest wheeze is

Home school contracts so kids’ parents have to sign up before they go to school. If they don’t sign up they cant go.

Thus, one presumes, laying the parents who refuse to sign this contract under duress open to prosecution for failing in their duty to secure eduction for their children.

Guess whose idea it is.

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  1. Independent schools?

    Comment by jameshigham — December 2, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

  2. Jameshigham rather beat me to it, if he means what I think he means.
    I have as great a horror of Blair’s conception of the state/individual relationship as anyone. And NS’s, Nosemonkey’s et al’s dissection of these suggestion’s are compelling.
    But I think it is fair to say that perhaps Blair is simply trying, tho in a typically wrongheaded manner, to repair some unintended consequences of the welfare state.
    In a welfare state there must be a change in the relationship one has to the state; this is a common feature of rightish thought – the fact that it engenders dependancy and that it infantalises those who are the recipient of state aid which is automatic and divorced from duties – the culture of “I know my rights”.
    The fact that for a sizeable minority of parents one finds some unwilling and some unable to make their children attend the schools for which they neither pay nor have to qualify for in any way is surely one symptom. Hence I take it Higham’s note of the fact truancy is rare at private schools.

    This is not really to say much beyond commonplaces of course. But I would be fascinated to hear NS’s suggestions instead for dealing with the problem. I do not wish to slur you for one moment as an ivory tower merchant; I simply say that Blair has seen that there really are people who do not concieve of themselves as having real responsibility for their children, and that somehow they must be made to.

    For my part I would favour vouchers for things like education, more support for marriage (tho it is v interesting that the murderers of Tom Ap rhys price both had a lot of contact with their fathers and the church -such things are not perhaps the panacea the Mail would have us think they are), and less regressive benefits. But given that most of these measures are unpopular, and that there’s no one on the scene who looks like they could make them so, and given furthermore that the situation is urgent and requires action now, could one say that more immediate, and even draconian, measures should be tried?

    Sorry for the length, but this is something I’ve been pondering for a while, and none of the bloggers seem to have really addressed it. I am sure you will have some incisive thoughts to share.

    Comment by alabastercodify — December 2, 2006 @ 9:41 pm

  3. Oy veh! that’ll teach me not to follow links. But my question still stands – in our welfare state, where the state acts in loco parentis, and an particularly partial and shortsighted parens at that, do we not need some kind of recognisable contract?

    I thought that interview was surprisingly good, too…

    Comment by alabastercodify — December 2, 2006 @ 9:56 pm

  4. […] In a comment to my piece yesterday about Sign Up or We’ll Prosecute You, about a proposal to insist on parents signing home-school contracts before they can discharge their legal obligation to secure education for their children, at least in the state sector, ‘alabastercodify’ writes I have as great a horror of Blair’s conception of the state/individual relationship as anyone. And NS’s, Nosemonkey’s et al’s dissection of these suggestion’s are compelling. […]

    Pingback by Home school contracts revisited « Not Saussure — December 3, 2006 @ 6:20 pm

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