Posted by foxburg on 11/18/2010
I listen to the pontifications coming from Michael Gove with increasing alarm and disbelief, as he appears to say so many contradictory things, and this is on the back of his blatant lies to Parliament about the number of ‘free schools’, I do not believe a words he says, which is terrifying as his actions are just so random, we don’t know what will happen next.
I read James Vernon’s article in the Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/nov/16/school-history-gove-schama-tv), being the same age as me, this Professor of Modern British History seems to share similar views to my own on some issues. Despite being at an American University for over a decade, he appears to have a better understanding of the situation than Gove’s advisers.
History, it appears, is not just in retreat in our schools, it is fast becoming a privilege of the privileged.
and Michael Gove appears to be in denial about this, blaming poor teaching. This article is one of the first I have seen that does not engage Gove in his ‘What should be taught’ debate, a ‘debate’ created to divert attention away from the true problem, the emphasis schools place on statistical results. This is a real concern of mine, for years now, I have seen students being pushed towards useless and irrelevant examination subjects, just because they provide a better, but false, picture of student attainment; I could go into the terrifying aspect that is exam hyperinflation, where spending one year producing Powerpoints guarantees students four times the number of GCSE passes than a two year History course.
I acknowledge that there needs to be a radical change to our educational system, but this tinkering with curriculum, and attacks on the professionals who have to implement, it will not improve the education of England’s youth. We are in competition with the emerging nations, and are way behind our European neighbours in terms of quality educational outcomes, we are simply not
providing the same quality of education.
We want students who aren’t just entertained, but who can think critically and effectively about the world they live in.
I, for one, firmly believe that specialist History teachers can provide this, and only specialists can provide this, but as our examination benefits are weighted towards the ‘vocational’ subjects the specialists are marginalised, leaving our students in a pretty poor situation, clutching their numerous examination certificates like Marks in 1920′s Germany – numerous but worthless.