Debate Magazine

Gloriously Shit Ideas Of The Day

Posted on the 23 January 2014 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth
From the BBCParents who earn a combined income of more than £80,000 should have to pay if their children go to the most popular state schools, a report suggests.(1)  Private headmaster (2) Anthony Seldon raises the idea for left of center think tank, the Social Market Foundation. He said it would break "the middle-class stranglehold on top state schools" (3) and provide additional funds...   Dr Seldon said parents who were the top earners would pay the fee the state pays, which would be about £6,000. Fees at the most oversubscribed state schools could be the same for the most affluent as those at independent day schools, about £15,000 a year for some primary schools, and £20,000 at secondary schools.(4)  He said a quarter of the money raised through charging should be retained by the school, with the rest redistributed among other state schools... Speaking to BBC News, Dr Seldon said:  "There's a tremendously unjust system at the moment whereby the rich and the successful and those with strong elbows buy houses in catchment areas of successful schools; (5) they pay for tutoring, they elbow their way into top schools and this pamphlet is designed to enhance social justice."  ...The proposal to offer poorer pupils places at independent schools says their fees should be paid by a government grant capped 50% above the cost of sending them to a state school.(6)  1) Dude WTF? Those self same people are paying more than their share of the cost of state education via the income tax system. This sort of means testing on speed just increases marginal tax rates even further.  2) Aha, now it makes sense. Want he wants is to increase the demand for private school places by reducing the cost differential between state and private sector. The money-grubbing shit.  3) How does he work that out? If, as he suggests further down, the state school concerned is allowed to keep some of the money raised, they'd have every incentive to accept as many pupils from higher income backgrounds as possible, so that would lead to increased segregation.  Unless he hopes to achieve this by driving children of better-off parents into private education - that's the only rational explanation 4) See 2). 5) Now he's getting down to the nitty gritty. What he is proposing is really a kind of twisted Land Value Tax or income tax surcharge which is only payable by the small sub-set of people who a) live in the area, b) earn a lot and c) send their children to the local state school.  The point of Land Value Tax is to reduce and replace other taxes and to apply to everybody. So we might end up with a situation where all the homes in the catchment area of a good state school are bought by higher earners - which is what happens anyway.  So what? They'd be paying the [land value] tax and they get the benefit, unlike Seldon's system where they pay the [income] tax for nothing in return and then pay again for the benefit.  6) Aha, yet more income for private schools, add that to 2) and 4). Except his maths is whack (he's only a fucking head teacher, after all, not somebody who knows anything), how on earth are parents of "poorer pupils" supposed to pay the difference between private school fees and the £9,000 grant?  He's got that one arse about face anyway. If we are going to have vouchers, give them to all children equally, that's the best system. If it's "social justice" he's after, that sorts itself out by definition because those vouchers are funded out of taxes by the "sharp-elbowed middle class".

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