The recent discussion of paradigms-Kuhnianism has run its course, to be taken up elsewhere. The point is that there are political attitudes which are resistant to evidence.
LSN has the facts that show the current paradigm especially academies do not work, and if facts matter then LSN would be in #10 every week. But they do not. The climate changed 40 years from being benign to progressive thinkers (c1960 to c1979) to being an ice age.
The progressive period was the comprehensive period and famously Margaret Thatcher closed down more grammar schools than any minister before or since. Then the Black Papers (1969-77) took over and the ice formed. Grammar schools could not be brought back, but comprehensives became the alleged sink schools.... and academies were born. And so on...
This does not mean that C B Cox, Kingsley Amis and so on are the guidelines for today, even Rhodes Boyson when he died last year was a forgotten man. But two key propositions became embedded as the techtonic plates shifted (a) all state schools are inferior (compared to the private sector, neo liberalism in action) run by low grade progressives, aka The Blob (b) politicians must interfere all the time to combat the 'race to the bottom', imposed by trade unions and the Blob.
The assumptions lead to constant contradictions. and incoherence at the policy level, not that the media notice. For example, Performance Tables are essential to keep the teachers from slacking and to inform parents.... but as on January 29th the Performance Tables are interfered with on political grounds. And while Tristram Hunt wants to give all schools the freedom of academies, he doesn't know the data which Melissa and Janet have compiled, that academies don't work. The NAO report, OFSTED report and the Select Committee report all have passed him by.
As Kuhn would have said, he doesn't understand anomalies. He only knows the paradigm. Not that I would imagine he understands the black paper ideology or would accept it if he knew it. The paradigm has become unquestionable common sense. It is obvious that academies work, comprehensives don't. And politicians know without doing any research.
How this will change is imponderable, but Kuhn argues the weight of evidence is enough. Not I think in politics. Here brutal failures may need to happen. On this front, staffing shortages are building up. Teachers are fed up with being interfered with, and are voting with their feet. While I was told this week that a leading journalist has rejected the idea there are teacher shortages, like academies the evidence is stacking up. When it is obvious to parents, the paradigm may start to waver.
The facts are essential to start the process and we need more studies like that Melissa and Janet have produced
. But ultimately its political campaigning that will be decisive. When schools do not have enough maths English and science teachers, the game may change.
What a way to run a system. But the paradigm is deeply resistant to rational debate. That is why we need to understand how paradigms work. Onwards and upwards!