"I have a great deal of sympathy with Nick Clegg," says Melissa Kite in The Guardian. The deputy prime minister has criticised aspects of education secretary Michael Gove's flagship free-schools policy.
He argues those schools should have to follow the national curriculum and employ only formally qualified teachers (so far they have significant autonomy over what they teach and whom they hire).
Free schools, says Kite, have "opened the way for establishments such as the Al-Madinah free school for 400 Muslim pupils, [a school] condemned as dysfunctional' by Ofsted".
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Those who want to educate their children outside the national curriculum "should put their money where their mouth is and pay for their indoctrination".
"Good teachers are crucial for pupil performance," writes Gabriel Sahlgren in The Daily Telegraph. But "if there's anything research in the economics of education has disproved, it's the theory that teachers with specific qualifications perform better than those without".
Forcing teachers to have specific qualifications means "many perfectly good educators... can't enter the market". This "is not in the best interest of children".
Indeed, the furore over the problem schools two or three out of the 170-odd that have opened shows that Gove's system works, says Fraser Nelson in The Spectator. "Notice how quickly action is being taken. If only sink schools in the state sector were remedied as fast."
Clegg's change of heart is just a cynical stunt, says Iain Martin in The Daily Telegraph. He was all for free schools at first. Now, after problems at one and an election on the way, "he is an opponent of them all".
He clearly hopes to boost his "pitiful" ratings and "win back disgruntled teachers who may have abandoned his party" not to mention the fact that the "switch in policy gives him something left-wing to offer Labour in the event of negotiations after the 2015 election".
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