If this doesn’t sound familiar to you, then you’ve been exposed to way too much Fox News. Quotes from this Guardian article first, then my comments:
Poverty is about not having enough money. So don’t blame schools for it | Education | The Guardian
If the government is going to start using education data to hide child poverty, schools must find a way to highlight it
There is a joke in the film Brassed Off that goes like this: God’s assistant is creating people. He turns to God and says, “We’ve got all these bodies left, but we’re right out of brains, right out of hearts and right out of vocal cords”. And so God says “Sew ’em up anyway, make them talk out their arse, and call them the Tory party.”
It’s a harsh joke. But every now and then the Conservatives do something so egregiously stupid that the joke springs back into my head. The announcement that the government wants to change the child poverty definition has done it again.
Forget income as the main child poverty measure, says Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary. Income is inconvenient. If we measure poverty by how much money you have compared with other people, then when we make those other people wealthier (like, pensioners – or our wealthy donors), then children are inconveniently poorer.
“It is one thing to fail at school, another to be hungry because you cannot afford food. They are not the same thing”
Hence, he has proposed that instead of focusing on money – the dictionary definition of poverty – a plethora of measures will tell us how poor children are. One will be school achievement. That’s right. For the first time in history, schools will be helping to save children from poverty – but also causing it.
The policy is stupid for two reasons. First, it makes no sense. Poverty is about money. It is one thing to fail at school, it is another to be hungry because you cannot afford food. Both are a problem but they are not the same thing.