Fines for parents who don’t read to their kids

The Ofsted chief has said that schools should have the power to fine parents who don’t read to their children, or who miss school events.

This is the latest extension of on-spot fines, which are increasingly seen as the sole form of persuasion or sanction, and the answer to every social problem.

The fine is the one way in which a school can communicate with parents, apparently.

A school – an institution which is supposed to have a shared interest with parents in the education of their children – increasingly exerts authority through the use of coercive, pecuniary penalties.

There are also ever-growing fines for truancy, which are currently running at over 50,000 a year.

A similar shift is occurring in public institutions of all kinds – councils and hospitals are also gaining fining powers. Ultimately this betrays the institution’s loss of ordinary authority, founded on the project of education/health/public services. Instead, they start to become coercive and police-like, with every ideal backed up with £80 fines.

The expansion of the penalty slip throughout public institutions symbolises the death of public service.


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