“16-step programme to make education better. Not.
1. Look across the whole glorious landscape of human wisdom and knowledge.
2. Select from it those parts of it that can be chopped up into ‘subjects’.
3. Within these subjects, select those parts of it that you think you can call ‘core’ or ‘essential’.
4. Order teachers to teach the ‘subjects’.
5. Tell examiners to test the subjects in ways that will show that human beings, when measured in terms of their ability to answer questions on the test, are distributed on a graph in the same way every time: that is, according to what’s known as the ‘bell curve’.
6. Reward examiners for devising tests which do indeed produce the bell curve.
7. Get people to say that the bell curve is ‘natural’ or that this shows something important about what defines us as human beings.
8. Ignore the fact that you have chopped up knowledge in such a way (mostly in little bits which have right/wrong answers) so as to make it precisely the kind that can be measured in this way.
9. Ignore the fact that there are people in the real world, outside of education, saying that – looking across the whole glorious landscape of human wisdom and knowledge – there are many, many things, processes, events, ways of inventing, being and interacting that are not included in the self-serving circle of producing chopped-up knowledge for the bell curve, no matter how it is dignified with such names as ‘core knowledge’.
10. Tell teachers to teach children to sit the tests.
11. Tell the public that it’s naughty of teachers to teach children to sit the tests.
12. Take note of the fact that children do indeed come out in the shape of a bell curve but don’t make too much fuss about it in case people cotton on to the fact that the whole thing was set up to produce the bell curve in the first place.
13. Ensure that sufficient numbers of people running all this call this ‘fair’, ‘sensible’, ‘reliable’ and ‘valid’.
14. Tell the population that this is ‘rigorous’ because children are learning the ‘basics’ now.
15. Try to obscure from view that the tests have a secondary purpose in terms of forcing conversion of local authority schools to become academies, and academies to become…er….academies in an endless cycle of disruption, stress and pressure.
16. Say that education is getting better.”
Comment @ Michael Rosen: remove from education any ‘subjects’ that promote imagination and creativity because in them there is no ‘right or wrong’.
18) Ignore the fact that when arriving in Higher Education one of the things students have to learn is that most things they’ve learned up to that point are open to challenge and questioning and are therefore not necessarily right.
Like · Reply · 44 · May 18 at 2:14pm
Comment @ Michael Rosen: 17. Cut teaching staff in FE and increase budgets for marketing and your ‘brand’. Spent tons of cash on banners that sound like David Brent ‘To happen first it must be a dream’ or ‘Enterprise is the key to Harmony’. Create new management posts for vital functions such as Twitter Profile. Keep all the good rooms for Business Breakfasts where local fraudsters and callous care home millionaires can come and share their wisdom. Ensure gender balance on board of management by appointing at least one woman. Make stuff sexy by grouping together a few modules and calling them things like ‘International Peace Studies’ (French and Politics) or ‘Massive Cool Shit Dude’ (Sociology, Chemistry, Philosophy). 18.Bang on constantly about adopting the ‘Nordic System’ but hey timetables just cant cope with collaborative learning, oh no summative assessment is key, outside? but what about the risks? Putting three subjects together? How will that fit on the rooming spreadsheets? Intercultural skills? Are you a communist? Your students have complained that money has been spent on luxury offices for SMT that are always empty whilst they do not have enough chairs or desks – have you been teaching them that critical thinking stuff again? etc etc etc
Comment @ Michael Rosen: Get rid of, by threatening to sack, or make redundant in an unfair way, older, more experienced teachers in those Academies, who cost more money than younger teachers.
19. Remove enhancements for teacher’s extra responsibilities and give them a small grant of about 25% of the original enhancement instead.
20. Without consultation with the Academy staff, change the Grievance procedure in those Academies in favour of top management.
21. Increase the teacher-student contact hours for no extra pay in those academies.
Comment @ Michael Rosen: Apart from having been to Eton (obviously), there has to be some arbitrary means of deciding who goes to Oxford and who goes to work at M&S.
May 19 at 7:41am
Anne McElvoy: I feel the pain of studying for GCSEs almost as much as my children
”Having two children on different history syllabuses, we have consumed bite-size chunks of the Third Reich and Vietnam — it’s like being on the history conveyor belt at Yo-Sushi! with dishes that are wholly unconnected to the one before appearing in random formation. You would not have to insist that the next generation answer the spoof question raised in 1066 and all that: “Arrange in order: Edward I, Edward II, Edward III” to see this lacks a certain narrative flair.
Too late to argue with exam boards and politicians now. On we slog towards the sunny uplands of June,” http://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/anne-mcelvoy-i-feel-the-pain-of-studying-for-gcses-almost-as-much-as-my-children-a3251266.html
18 May 2016 – From Teacher ROAR:
”Michael Rosen on yesterday’s AQA GCSE Biology paper. Just when you think you can’t be any more horrified by the shenanigans going on in education it happens…
“In case you hadn’t heard. Today’s AQA GCSE Biology paper was a gigantic scandal. The students have been learning the standard syllabus; a whole raft of stuff they learned didn’t come up and there were several questions which the students and teachers are saying were not biology.
If ever an exam was so openly and blatantly devised to produce fails, it was this one. Despicable, cruel people – sitting in their offices getting paid huge sums to devise tests that are supposed to be ‘reliable’ and ‘valid’. This one was neither.””
14 may 2016
The Girl On The Piccadilly Line – Sorry, Nicky, I’m out.
Comment: ”Zoe, I wish that instead of you and the many other teacher leaving the profession, you would stay and fight. I know that years of bullying by Gove and his evil band of Troglodytes takes its toll. We’ll toot for teachers in the same way we toot for Junior Doctors. It’s all about the children, so we can’t let this madness continue. Surely now is the time to strike. Not for pay, not for pensions, but for the future of our children. Guided not by the desire to appease party factions, but simply to return the guiding hand back to the teaching profession, so they can truly enrich the life of our children.
Please, Zoe, stay and fight. Strike. Protest. March. Join together. Everyone in primary education knows this is wrong. The parents know it’s wrong. We can and must change the system before the madmen (and women) destroy it for a generation.”
GW: She started in 2010. How sad she is leaving already. This TC Cabal has to go!