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Michael Gove axed as Education Secretary Watch

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    Vast majority of his time in charge was one calamity after another. I worked in education previously and both my parents spent their entire careers teaching at secondary level. All my past colleagues and my parents hated everything about the man.
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    I get increasingly weary every time I hear it explicitly stated or implied in various ways that we should listen to teachers, they're the real experts etc. That's not because I disagree, but because I think the intent is disingenuous. Probably the main thing that Gove was not prescriptive over was teaching style, to the point where Ofsted is now in theory supposed to judge teaching purely based on effectiveness, regardless of whether it's innovative teaching or straight up talk-and-chalk; so I fail to see how the professionalism of teachers isn't being trusted. This makes me wonder what contribution the teachers feel they have to make to educational reform. Do they want us to trust 'the experts', not the teachers themselves but the people who actively study 'education' in and of itself? In which case forget it. We know the conclusion of that; education should be fun, teachers need to make more use of various styles of learning, let's focus on positive reinforcement and never make students face failure. Puke. In secondary school I remember spending more time filling in squares ("What does this passage say about blablabla") and analysing the same chapter of a book than actually reading entire books and writing essays. I absolutely resent it. I'm so unknowledgeable and bad at writing now, because countless hours I should have spent expanding my knowledge were spent doing frivolous unproductive exercises. Do teachers want to dictate the curriculum themselves? Why, what will they contribute?

    I always see it pointed out that Gove was never a teacher, and I suppose the extension of that is that therefore he doesn't have a right to say in education. But the direction of the curriculum isn't an exercise in teaching, it's an exercise in, inevitably - education has not yet reached the state of being an exact science - ideology, and given the drastic state of the system under new labour, common sense. Yes, the PISA tests aren't the perfect measure of educational quality but that really misses the point. It's not difficult to look up and compare exam papers in England compared to for instance Japan, South Korea and even some exams available to brighter French and US students, and it exposes a massive skills gap. England falls behind so far on the PISA tests in a way that can't be explained purely by some experimental error, and it's because the exams and curricula in other countries are harder to the extent that their students are vastly more knowledgeable, practised in problem solving, and drilled in basic literacy. Meanwhile English students are given 'fun' lesson plans and **** around learning nothing. You don't need specific expertise to see the general trend, you would expect it to help, but apparently it causes such experts to bury their heads in the sand when atrocious results in international tests show their methods are failing with little margin of error.

    Quite frankly, the whining from teachers, and more specifically teaching unions about these reforms, is complete bull****. It's not based on some far-sighted body of expertise, it's based on political brinkmanship for better pay and working conditions. I'm not brilliantly positioned to say objectively whether teachers and overworked and underpaid, since they moan about it all the time I guess they are, and the sudden changes will have undoubtedly added to that burden. What the teaching unions are saying is, give us more money and we'll shut up. With just a bit more cash we might be able to submit ourselves to the overwhelming stress of having ofsted inspectors knock on our door once or twice a year or having to teach actually challenging content. I don't know why NUT and NASUWT became the most widely publicised critics on theoretical grounds as well as pay and pensions, the latter of which should be the ONLY thing on their agenda. Everything they have to say on the former matter is nonsense. I remember that insulting letter signed by 20-odd so-called experts they once distributed to try and prove in some way that Gove's ideas were wrong, only the letter was so disgustingly ill thought-out it was straight-up debunked by anyone with an inkling of knowledge.

    Obviously, teachers should have some say in the reforms, but the gap between the role they should have and the role they think they should have is monstrous. In my mind, the most important contributors to any consultation should be the following: universities on A-levels and GCSEs, successful teachers and headteachers from OUTSTANDING schools who have a well-established track record of making students successful, and the students themselves. As far as I can tell these are exactly the groups who Gove was more than happy to consult. But the media narrative is that NUT and NASUWT, left-wing unions whose core purpose is to bargain for better pay, are the true experts and their ill-thought out rants and strikes are more important than rational and constructive criticism. I guess that's inevitable, but given how important these reforms I can only see it as incredibly damaging and despicable.
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    Nicky Morgan seems to be a lot worse. At least Gove came up with ideas not insisting and further developing existing failing ones. #BringGoveBack
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    (Original post by Unkempt_One)
    I get increasingly weary every time I hear it explicitly stated or implied in various ways that we should listen to teachers, they're the real experts etc. That's not because I disagree, but because I think the intent is disingenuous. Probably the main thing that Gove was not prescriptive over was teaching style, to the point where Ofsted is now in theory supposed to judge teaching purely based on effectiveness, regardless of whether it's innovative teaching or straight up talk-and-chalk; so I fail to see how the professionalism of teachers isn't being trusted. This makes me wonder what contribution the teachers feel they have to make to educational reform. Do they want us to trust 'the experts', not the teachers themselves but the people who actively study 'education' in and of itself? In which case forget it. We know the conclusion of that; education should be fun, teachers need to make more use of various styles of learning, let's focus on positive reinforcement and never make students face failure. Puke. In secondary school I remember spending more time filling in squares ("What does this passage say about blablabla") and analysing the same chapter of a book than actually reading entire books and writing essays. I absolutely resent it. I'm so unknowledgeable and bad at writing now, because countless hours I should have spent expanding my knowledge were spent doing frivolous unproductive exercises. Do teachers want to dictate the curriculum themselves? Why, what will they contribute?

    I always see it pointed out that Gove was never a teacher, and I suppose the extension of that is that therefore he doesn't have a right to say in education. But the direction of the curriculum isn't an exercise in teaching, it's an exercise in, inevitably - education has not yet reached the state of being an exact science - ideology, and given the drastic state of the system under new labour, common sense. Yes, the PISA tests aren't the perfect measure of educational quality but that really misses the point. It's not difficult to look up and compare exam papers in England compared to for instance Japan, South Korea and even some exams available to brighter French and US students, and it exposes a massive skills gap. England falls behind so far on the PISA tests in a way that can't be explained purely by some experimental error, and it's because the exams and curricula in other countries are harder to the extent that their students are vastly more knowledgeable, practised in problem solving, and drilled in basic literacy. Meanwhile English students are given 'fun' lesson plans and **** around learning nothing. You don't need specific expertise to see the general trend, you would expect it to help, but apparently it causes such experts to bury their heads in the sand when atrocious results in international tests show their methods are failing with little margin of error.

    Quite frankly, the whining from teachers, and more specifically teaching unions about these reforms, is complete bull****. It's not based on some far-sighted body of expertise, it's based on political brinkmanship for better pay and working conditions. I'm not brilliantly positioned to say objectively whether teachers and overworked and underpaid, since they moan about it all the time I guess they are, and the sudden changes will have undoubtedly added to that burden. What the teaching unions are saying is, give us more money and we'll shut up. With just a bit more cash we might be able to submit ourselves to the overwhelming stress of having ofsted inspectors knock on our door once or twice a year or having to teach actually challenging content. I don't know why NUT and NASUWT became the most widely publicised critics on theoretical grounds as well as pay and pensions, the latter of which should be the ONLY thing on their agenda. Everything they have to say on the former matter is nonsense. I remember that insulting letter signed by 20-odd so-called experts they once distributed to try and prove in some way that Gove's ideas were wrong, only the letter was so disgustingly ill thought-out it was straight-up debunked by anyone with an inkling of knowledge.

    Obviously, teachers should have some say in the reforms, but the gap between the role they should have and the role they think they should have is monstrous. In my mind, the most important contributors to any consultation should be the following: universities on A-levels and GCSEs, successful teachers and headteachers from OUTSTANDING schools who have a well-established track record of making students successful, and the students themselves. As far as I can tell these are exactly the groups who Gove was more than happy to consult. But the media narrative is that NUT and NASUWT, left-wing unions whose core purpose is to bargain for better pay, are the true experts and their ill-thought out rants and strikes are more important than rational and constructive criticism. I guess that's inevitable, but given how important these reforms I can only see it as incredibly damaging and despicable.
    Best thing I've read in this thread.

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    (Original post by Unkempt_One)
    I get increasingly weary every time I hear it explicitly stated or implied in various ways that we should listen to teachers, they're the real experts etc. That's not because I disagree, but because I think the intent is disingenuous. Probably the main thing that Gove was not prescriptive over was teaching style, to the point where Ofsted is now in theory supposed to judge teaching purely based on effectiveness, regardless of whether it's innovative teaching or straight up talk-and-chalk; so I fail to see how the professionalism of teachers isn't being trusted. This makes me wonder what contribution the teachers feel they have to make to educational reform. Do they want us to trust 'the experts', not the teachers themselves but the people who actively study 'education' in and of itself? In which case forget it. We know the conclusion of that; education should be fun, teachers need to make more use of various styles of learning, let's focus on positive reinforcement and never make students face failure. Puke. In secondary school I remember spending more time filling in squares ("What does this passage say about blablabla") and analysing the same chapter of a book than actually reading entire books and writing essays. I absolutely resent it. I'm so unknowledgeable and bad at writing now, because countless hours I should have spent expanding my knowledge were spent doing frivolous unproductive exercises. Do teachers want to dictate the curriculum themselves? Why, what will they contribute?

    I always see it pointed out that Gove was never a teacher, and I suppose the extension of that is that therefore he doesn't have a right to say in education. But the direction of the curriculum isn't an exercise in teaching, it's an exercise in, inevitably - education has not yet reached the state of being an exact science - ideology, and given the drastic state of the system under new labour, common sense. Yes, the PISA tests aren't the perfect measure of educational quality but that really misses the point. It's not difficult to look up and compare exam papers in England compared to for instance Japan, South Korea and even some exams available to brighter French and US students, and it exposes a massive skills gap. England falls behind so far on the PISA tests in a way that can't be explained purely by some experimental error, and it's because the exams and curricula in other countries are harder to the extent that their students are vastly more knowledgeable, practised in problem solving, and drilled in basic literacy. Meanwhile English students are given 'fun' lesson plans and **** around learning nothing. You don't need specific expertise to see the general trend, you would expect it to help, but apparently it causes such experts to bury their heads in the sand when atrocious results in international tests show their methods are failing with little margin of error.

    Quite frankly, the whining from teachers, and more specifically teaching unions about these reforms, is complete bull****. It's not based on some far-sighted body of expertise, it's based on political brinkmanship for better pay and working conditions. I'm not brilliantly positioned to say objectively whether teachers and overworked and underpaid, since they moan about it all the time I guess they are, and the sudden changes will have undoubtedly added to that burden. What the teaching unions are saying is, give us more money and we'll shut up. With just a bit more cash we might be able to submit ourselves to the overwhelming stress of having ofsted inspectors knock on our door once or twice a year or having to teach actually challenging content. I don't know why NUT and NASUWT became the most widely publicised critics on theoretical grounds as well as pay and pensions, the latter of which should be the ONLY thing on their agenda. Everything they have to say on the former matter is nonsense. I remember that insulting letter signed by 20-odd so-called experts they once distributed to try and prove in some way that Gove's ideas were wrong, only the letter was so disgustingly ill thought-out it was straight-up debunked by anyone with an inkling of knowledge.

    Obviously, teachers should have some say in the reforms, but the gap between the role they should have and the role they think they should have is monstrous. In my mind, the most important contributors to any consultation should be the following: universities on A-levels and GCSEs, successful teachers and headteachers from OUTSTANDING schools who have a well-established track record of making students successful, and the students themselves. As far as I can tell these are exactly the groups who Gove was more than happy to consult. But the media narrative is that NUT and NASUWT, left-wing unions whose core purpose is to bargain for better pay, are the true experts and their ill-thought out rants and strikes are more important than rational and constructive criticism. I guess that's inevitable, but given how important these reforms I can only see it as incredibly damaging and despicable.
    Gove is not a teacher or an educational bureaucrat. He is a politician and the first thing a politician must do is carry his voters (that part of the electorate which is disposed by reason of general outlook and ideology to his party) with him. That, in the case primarily of parents but also the teaching profession (he managed to halve Conservative support amongst teachers from 2010) he singularly failed to do.

    Why was that?

    I suspect it was two-fold.

    Firstly there was the strong suspicion that he was playing politics with children's futures. There was the idea that each individual policy was designed because it most discomforted his political opponents rather than because it was the best thing to do.

    Secondly, he left an impression of lack of inclusiveness; that he didn't really care beyond children who were going to read PPE at Oxford. Until other people's memoirs come out, one cannot know whether that was actually the case, but it is an impression he has left behind.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Gove is not a teacher or an educational bureaucrat. He is a politician and the first thing a politician must do is carry his voters (that part of the electorate which is disposed by reason of general outlook and ideology to his party) with him. That, in the case primarily of parents but also the teaching profession (he managed to halve Conservative support amongst teachers from 2010) he singularly failed to do.

    Why was that?

    I suspect it was two-fold.

    Firstly there was the strong suspicion that he was playing politics with children's futures. There was the idea that each individual policy was designed because it most discomforted his political opponents rather than because it was the best thing to do.

    Secondly, he left an impression of lack of inclusiveness; that he didn't really care beyond children who were going to read PPE at Oxford. Until other people's memoirs come out, one cannot know whether that was actually the case, but it is an impression he has left behind.
    I don't think it was just a case of him playing politics by discomforting opponents, as you put it - your clear presumption there is that he was somehow succeeding by hitting them where it hurts, haha. I think the reality is that it was always clear that his policies were designed to cosset certain groups of disgruntled middle class parents (mainly the ones who can no longer afford the spiralling cost of private education, about which the Mail and the Telegraph have stories every other day) and the ultra-religious. The Free Schools are all about handing over government money to these categories of parents, often with disastrous consequences. Gove didn't dream these policies up - he isn't quite the dazzling ideological superbrain he and his supporters like to portray - but he and, more importantly, the heavily Tory think tanks he really works with - seized on them.

    Basically, Tory educational policy in a nutshell is to take money away from the majority and hand it over to the already-privileged and the nutty but vocal and to make sure they deny any involvement in the often bizarre results. They are building a bizarre modern 'rainbow coalition' of the advantaged. They are reminiscent of all those well off but unpleasant people who come out in Latin American countries to bang pots and pans at socialist governments who won't return all the privileges they once arrogantly enjoyed.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    I don't think it was just a case of him playing politics by discomforting opponents, as you put it - your clear presumption there is that he was somehow succeeding by hitting them where it hurts, haha.
    I think by his lights he was. If you treat politics like chess or judo, then he was outmanoeuvring them, getting them into false positions etc. Those who "score" politics; who decide who wins PM's question time etc, would have said Gove was extremely successful. Of course, so was William Hague when he consistently beat Blair.

    I think the reality is that it was always clear that his policies were designed to cosset certain groups of disgruntled middle class parents (mainly the ones who can no longer afford the spiralling cost of private education, about which the Mail and the Telegraph have stories every other day) and the ultra-religious. The Free Schools are all about handing over government money to these categories of parents, often with disastrous consequences. Gove didn't dream these policies up - he isn't quite the dazzling ideological superbrain he and his supporters like to portray - but he and, more importantly, the heavily Tory think tanks he really works with - seized on them.
    I think that is a travesty.

    The fee school movement is an import from Sweden. I think those behind it aren't about mollycoddling the middle classes. They are full of high-minded idealism. The problem is there aren''t many of them. It was seized on, as it was always going to be seized on, by those with a grievance of some sort about the local educational provision. Many of the grievances are religious ones.

    The Tories' (and New Labour's) attitude to faith schools is nothing really to do with religion at all. Faith schools are good because there is a higher proportion of committed parents and a nucleus of responsible teachers and governors uninterested in building Soviets. What government didn't realise is that the new entrants to the faith schools market don't wear their religion lightly. They want control of schools to push doctrine. I think it has come as a genuine shock that the fundamentalist Christians and radical Muslims aren't like the vicar of St Compromise's.

    They are building a bizarre modern 'rainbow coalition' of the advantaged.

    I think what has happened in the UK is that sympathy for the disadvantaged is evaporating because there is increasingly a view, and I think a view with some truth that disadvantage isn't due to a cruel hard world.

    Essentially sympathy for the disadvantage was born of Victorian philanthropy converted into state provision for an essentially small section of society. That sympathy remained through the Great Depression, the civilian losses of WWII and the 1980s recession and refocussing of the economy because they were seen as events out of the participants' control. You can see that sympathy where for example Margaret Thatcher on winning the 1987 election's first comment is about improving the inner cities.

    That has dissipated. Most of the folk of "Benefits Street" were not people who lost their industrial jobs in the 1980s. They are too young. They are people who haven't faced up to the world as it now is. We have seen millions come in from abroad and find unskilled work whilst we have a lumpen group and their apologists saying "there are no jobs". Noticeably, the most recent recession has not brought about a resurgence of sympathy for them. If there is sympathy it is for the relatively privileged TSRians who cannot find jobs.
 
 
 
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