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Silencing the “other” Black Paper contributors

Silencing the “other” Black Paper contributors Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to encourage re‐reading and re‐evaluation of a series of educational polemics published in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s, the Black Papers. These works proposed, for the most part, avowedly conservative views on education: condemning so‐called “progressive” teaching methods and the re‐organisation of secondary schools in the UK (especially England) into non‐selective comprehensives. It is argued, however, that much said and written about the Black Papers since has concentrated only on selected “high profile” contributors, to the neglect of other contributors, often anonymous, whose comments were sometimes more measured/thoughtful. Design/methodology/approach – The work proceeds first by re‐visiting the facts surrounding the writing of the Black Papers and their critical reception. It then analyses the nature of the contributors and describes selected essays not usually referred to when the Black Papers are discussed by historians and others. Findings – The work finds that the Black Papers are often infuriatingly and unhelpful polemical in nature but that much written about them since has concentrated only on selected contributors, ignoring others who were more measured. Originality/value – The work is perhaps the first critical re‐reading of the Black Papers in any depth in several decades. It does not simply dismiss them as hysterical rants by ill‐informed authors and suggests that they re‐pay careful attention, despite their often polemical nature. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png History of Education Review Emerald Publishing

Silencing the “other” Black Paper contributors

History of Education Review , Volume 41 (1): 14 – Jun 22, 2012

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
0819-8691
DOI
10.1108/08198691211235572
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to encourage re‐reading and re‐evaluation of a series of educational polemics published in the UK in the 1960s and 1970s, the Black Papers. These works proposed, for the most part, avowedly conservative views on education: condemning so‐called “progressive” teaching methods and the re‐organisation of secondary schools in the UK (especially England) into non‐selective comprehensives. It is argued, however, that much said and written about the Black Papers since has concentrated only on selected “high profile” contributors, to the neglect of other contributors, often anonymous, whose comments were sometimes more measured/thoughtful. Design/methodology/approach – The work proceeds first by re‐visiting the facts surrounding the writing of the Black Papers and their critical reception. It then analyses the nature of the contributors and describes selected essays not usually referred to when the Black Papers are discussed by historians and others. Findings – The work finds that the Black Papers are often infuriatingly and unhelpful polemical in nature but that much written about them since has concentrated only on selected contributors, ignoring others who were more measured. Originality/value – The work is perhaps the first critical re‐reading of the Black Papers in any depth in several decades. It does not simply dismiss them as hysterical rants by ill‐informed authors and suggests that they re‐pay careful attention, despite their often polemical nature.

Journal

History of Education ReviewEmerald Publishing

Published: Jun 22, 2012

Keywords: Educational debate; England; 1960s‐1970s; Progressive education; Comprehensive schools; Black Papers; United Kingdom; Education

References