I’m not going to make any bones about it, I was, and still am, a very ardent “Remain” voter re Brexit. I am also strongly opposed to Trump. Apparently this makes me one of the liberal elite. Now, as far as I’m concerned liberal means that you care about others, not just yourself; you are a vocal proponent of equality of opportunity and vehemently opposed to any sort of racism, sexism etc. and you are tolerant. Elite in this context means educated. It used to be that these were attributes to be admired, now they are flung at you in an accusatory way as if thinking about things for more than a nano-second and looking at things deeper than a soundbite are failings in your character.
In depth analysis of voting in Brexit shows that the strongest factor that determined the way you voted was education. The more educated you are the more you were likely to want to remain part of the EU. This pattern was also true of voting in the US election although other factors also had strong correlations such as culture – less educated blue collar white males were the most likely to vote for Trump.
So to me it seems that Education is the key. If we want a just society that thinks through problems and challenges and doesn’t just give in to knee-jerk reactions and simplistic solutions then we must educate our children. This seems such and obvious statement to me that part of me is incredulous that I am having to say it. We need to “teach our children well”. That isn’t just a pretty good tune from Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young but a necessity. But when we have a US President putting in place as Secretary for Education a woman who has previously stated that she doesn’t believe in Public education we are going to have to fight for our children’s’ future. At the same time Education in the UK is becoming increasingly fragmented and open to Private interference. The control of Local Authorities is being eroded and no longer is there a cohesive system – it’s a free-for-all. State schools are being seriously under funded while large handouts are given to whatever is the current pet project of the Government. From a personal point of view I am very pleased that E is now through her compulsory education and is happily ensconced at Sheffield University.
And through all this we have the teacher struggling to do their best in the classroom with their children. It is an uphill struggle , but despite all the obstacles that are put in their way teachers remain committed to their children.
I have recently been doing a load of Roamer training via skype (damn technology now means I don’t get to travel!) from Turkey to the US. And it doesn’t matter what country the teacher you are talking to is from there is a Universal Language that everyone who has been in the classroom recognizes. I see the same motivational forces in the teachers I am meeting, the same desire to do their best for their children, to help them realise their potential and set them on the right path for a successful life – all that Education gives them. Now I realise that by being Roamer users they may be a self-selecting group – teachers who recognize just how powerful a tool Roamer is and want to provide that for their children. But I’m not so cynical – I’ve been in teaching long enough now and worked with and met a whole array of teachers but I could count on one hand the ones who didn’t care about the progress of their students.
So, even in these dark times, we can fight back. We can continue to promote equality and tolerance as virtues. We can reset the world’s moral compass. We can teach our children well.