Earlier this year, I was speaking on a panel for International schools in the city in which I work. It was both an opportunity to promote the school I work for and network with others in the area. It was a small event but there were a number of schools participating and it was well worth being involved in.
Something I hate about being a teacher is the aura of Cultural Marxism (or whatever you want to call the nonsense assumptions), that fill out documents and discussions about education. I could make a list of commonly used platitudes but I might throw up on my keyboard and make the rest of this post impossible. So when it came to the question of why you would want to send your children to an International School, the panelists all came out with variations of these platitudes without getting to the real motivations parents have for sending kids to these schools.
I did no better mind you, and as I was last in line to offer an opinion, I merely stated that I had nothing to add on top of what was said. Also, as I do not own the school I was representing, I felt it was inappropriate to say anything that might draw censure from any observing commissars. Perhaps I’m also just a coward.
So as the title should indicate, this post is to rectify my inaction from that day.
The first and most obvious thing to point out is that when one speaks of International Schools, you are almost invariably talking about schools where the primary language is English or possibly French. I haven’t heard of an International Madrasah and I don’t imagine if they exist, that they have quite the same appeal. You’re also probably looking at a school where the majority of the staff are native English speakers and probably from an Anglosphere country. I can testify from experience that where this is not the case, it is still preferred by the people paying the tuition.
The next thing is diversity. Now it is true to say that International schools are diverse but (of course), not in the sense that there is a genuine diversity of perspective. There are people from all over the world who come to learn a more professionally delivered version of the same leftist nonsense that has poisoned Western education for at least the last fifty years. The main benefit is they become far more proficient in the language than they would in a local school.
It is important to note that as much as they may try, the elites can’t teach what they want in these schools without also imparting students with a high standard of literacy and numeracy. It is quite safe to leave students with the party line and basic literacy in a public school, but not so where money does most of the talking. If you think of International education as a cut of meat and the ideology as the bone, most students will take the meat and the bone will be tossed with their mortarboard on graduation day.
To anticipate a rebuttal, one might ask why, if cultural Marxism is so bad, that it can dominate these schools and not affect the bottom line? As is too often the case, the answer is simply: power. This is the ascendant ideology and however wrong and destructive it may be, it is at least for the short-term; the path to power. So even people who detest it will tolerate it as long as necessary for access to this power.
I have written about the decline of Western culture more than once here but it is not relevant to this post. However temporal it may be, it is still the reality right now and people with the money and means will seek it for their posterity while more humble souls will have to make do with what they can.
What is really wanted from an International School is fluency and proficiency in the English language and the connections and prestige that come with these schools. They want Western Culture, Western Civilisation and Western Language. They are particularly interested in access to the Anglo-American culture which has dominated the world more or less for over 200 years. They may not directly say so and teachers obviously won’t, but that’s what they’re really after. And I wish this could be said instead of having to endure the flim flam that inevitably fills the air at conferences like the one that inspired this post.