During the late 1970s schools in England also came under an orchestrated media attack for low standards, “rising disorder”, and a failure to prepare students adequately for work. A government green paper in 1977 identified problem areas in schools as being standards, curriculum, teaching methods, preparation for working life and teacher training. “Education was called upon to be the efficient servant of a corporately managed economy”.
Media attention focussed on the failings of state schools in the UK, particularly those in inner-city areas that were said to be controlled by left-leaning local education authorities (LEAs). These LEAs focused on equity issues and this was one reason why the Thatcher government sought to undermine LEA control after it came to power in 1979 with a campaign that “Educashun isn’t working” and claims that reading and writing standards were falling.
The most recent manifestation of crisis promotion in the UK occurred with the publication at the end of 2006 of the Leitch Report, an audit of UK skills. Lord Leitch argued that the UK was “on track to achieve undistinguished mediocrity” and that unless work-related education was improved the economy would shrink and the British standard of living decline.
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