Published in AEON Magazine.
We seem to live in a morally bashful age. Perish the thought that anyone might try to ‘impose their values’ on anyone else. Trying to ’adopt the moral high ground’ sounds, to modern ears, arrogant or hubristic. You risk becoming a figure of fun like a Speakers’ Corner tub-thumper. Education colludes with this squeamishness by pretending that the only serious questions it faces are technical ones. How are we going to raise standards? What are the most appropriate methods for testing students, and when, and how much? Should we have an ’English Baccalaureate’, or a six-term year?
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