In Praise of League Tables

When I was a teacher I despised League Tables. I thought they distorted the curriculum and moved focus away from the needs of the children to the fetishes of the politicians. Today I have to reconsider.

I still think that school league tables are, at best, a distraction and, at worst, a disaster. A recent article in the Independent, however, has shown me that they can have real value in highlighting real problems.

This article

UK most unequal country in the West

shows us that we ar sliding down the league table of equality.  According to Geoffrey Lean and Graham Ball the gap between rich and poor in the Uk is as great as that in Nigeria. The poor in the UK have an overall better income than the poor in Nigeria but the gap is similar.

We come below Jamaca, Ghana, the Ivory Coast and are twice as bad as Sri Lanka or Ethiopia. That’s a depressing picture, but does it constitute a problem?

Well Michael Bruno of the World Bank believes that inequality hinders growth. Reducing inequality would boost growth. We have a government that claims to be trying to boost growth. They are simultaneously increasing inequality.

Now, either the government do not know what thy are doing and our growth is being restricted by incompetence or they are perfectly aware of the consequences and still plough ahead with policies that boost the rich and depress the poor.

Which do you think it is?

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