What Labour seems now to be saying, with such announcements, is this;
Democracy in action? To a point. The problem is that, whatever it says about education, Labour always harms it. Labourites believe academic achievement to be the unfair product of social and material (perhaps even genetic) advantages. And we all know how much they hate "unfairness." They hate it more than they love art, science, literature, justice or, sometimes I fear, life itself.
Except, it seems, where it's an outcome of sucking up to them.
Can pupils be expected to achieve with such people in control? Yes, thank goodness. There will always be a handful of geniuses no mediocrities can keep down. There will be the strong ones who pursue their dreams regardless. The cunning ones who masquerade as "cool" kids, but study on the sly. For a while yet there will be those lucky enough to live near the few remaining grammar schools. There will be those whose parents can pay for private schools and who are getting better value for their money than for generations; thanks to Labour. Labour may close them one day, but they will simply move to Ireland or Switzerland.
Can a modern, technological society survive with only those minorities well-educated? Doesn't it need education for the weaker masses; those who want to fit in and can't be expected to swim against the current? Can a modern democracy survive with an electorate that is economically illiterate? Voters who, literally, don't know where wealth comes from and don't care? Has Labour made itself the natural party of government; its rule only intermittently interrupted for an emergency economic clean up by "the nasty party?" Is that true, however insane Labour's policies and however incompetent its leaders, because indoctrinated voters form a permanent majority?
There was a time when the Labour movement, through working men's institutes and the like, encouraged poor people to study widely. For working people, Labour was long associated with a quest for educational opportunity. That's ancient history now. For all my life, Labour has destroyed opportunity on doctrinaire grounds. It has been the party of class war, not class sizes. It almost seems to fear what will happen if working class kids are allowed to escape from the party's voter farms. Perhaps it has a point. Look at David Davis. Look at me. We are not what they want, are we?
Everything that is wrong with modern Britain is to do with Labour's dominance of British education. From the front line teachers through the lecturers who train them, the educational "advisors" who police them to the professors who design the courses, education in Britain is under the influence of the left. Pupils can pass through the whole system with no exposure to the ideas of classical liberalism; the ideas that are the foundation of the West. If they hear of "the West" it will be as a pejorative. What civilisation before has ever taught its schoolchildren to despise it? Many university students have to pay lip service to the left in their essays and exam answers, or be punished for their heresy.
Tinkering with funding will make no difference as Balls knows full well. It's not how schools are funded that matters, or even, to a great extent, how well they are funded. What matters is what's taught in them and by whom. Who will change that? And how?