chapter  4
Communities of Learners Myth: Schools are Communities
Pages 21

In the United Kingdom most of the current pressures on schools centre round the raising of attainment as measured in public tests or examina­ tions, largely though not exclusively in order to improve industry's eco­ nomic efficiency and national competitiveness. This is at once superficial, counter-productive, and profoundly ignorant. It is superficial in the sense that it fails to understand that technical solutions to problems that demand a more comprehensive engagement with meaning and purpose lead to an even greater frustration and a deeper sense of despair. It is counter-productive in the sense that overemphasis on an uninspiring, impoverished view of schooling will alienate teachers and students alike and thus turn out to be self-defeating. It is fundamentally ignorant in the sense that, as John Macmurray observed in a paper originally published in

1932: 'We have immense power, and immense resources; we worship effi­ ciency and success; and we do not know how to live finely ' (Macmurray, 1935, p. 76, [my italics]) . Furthermore, even in its own terms of economic efficiency and competitiveness, recent work indicates that the connection between educational attainment and economic performance is far from unproblematic (Robinson 1998) .