No Choice But Choice

Around the country there is often little choice for parents about where to send their children as there may be only one post-primary school available to them.

But where there is choice, some will use league tables of feeder schools as an aid to help them decide where to send their children.

The Irish Independent has an editorial in praise of ‘league tables’, on the day it publishes its own educational league tables.

Seeing as the Independent News and Media group has ‘identified the area of education as an attractive and fast-growing sector in which to strategically invest‘, it is hardly surprising that one of its newspapers is focusing quite a bit on education of late.

If I were running a media company with vested interests in the provision of education, I would try to influence my newspapers so that confidence in state-provided education were undermined as far as possible. I would ask questions about why so many schools are failing. I would make parents fear the consequences of not investing in their children’s education. I would suggest that students should supplement their classes with grinds and the like. I would prey on fears of a middle-class squeeze and the consequences for children. But I wouldn’t express things so vulgarly.

No: if I had a vested interest in property sales, I would fill the papers with stories about how people stood to fall behind in the housing market if they didn’t get on the ladder straight away. So I would get people to write about how people are investing in property because they fear that their pension won’t be sufficient for retirement, and how the failure to provide houses for young people accompanied by rocketing prices meant that many young people were scrambling to get enough together to put down a deposit now, and were fears that many could end up unable to afford a home if the market continued its current trend.

I would concoct my education stories with a similar admixture of suggestion and fear. But that’s just me, and I’m nasty.

I’m sure the Independent keeps its business interests independent from its interest in independent reporting.

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December 2007
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