Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Hands off Education, Nicky

Gove was ridiculous, but everyone knew that, probably including himself. He did serious damage to the idea of education, but Nicky Morgan is positively lethal.

   Now, I don't get exercised too much at the antics of the pack of Conservative ministers/ monsters, all focused on money and debts and deficits as though they are running the family firm. But when they get their grotty little paws on the schools, I have to sit up and scream. 

   I spent my entire working life in education and believe that all change for the better can only be achieved by educating the little ones. Catch them early and make them understand that all people, little or big, are born equal; that religion is a human construct (albeit a useful one, though some would argue that the idea of money and international banking are more useful ones. Yuval Noah Harari has some interesting things to say about this in Sapiens) and must be treated as such, not fought about. They need to understand that human achievement is not all academic, but must also include compassion, respect for the vulnerable, the disabled, the intellectually challenged, the idea of being part of a community, a society. No amount of testing can assess that.

   Testing at age seven? Is our lovely Nicky confusing test results with actual achievement, skills, knowledge...? And as a measure of progress in schools, what kind of progress are we after? Do we want to get more like the Japanese and the Chinese in this respect? India is bad enough - torturing four-year olds with tests in some schools. Germany starts Primary Schooling only at age seven, but the children catch up in quick time. In Africa most children start at age six; my children started school at six and I have not noticed any shortcomings in this regard.

   Or - is it teachers Nicky Morgan wants to harass? Someone should gently inform her that we are harassed enough. When I left teaching Secondary Maths in 1983 the biggest relief was all that regimentation I escaped. Those attendance registers on Thursdays for the County Council, the glib report templates that asked all the wrong questions...

   And what are our teaching unions doing about the dismantling of schools? Must I, at eighty, get myself a placard, and take to the streets?

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