What Constitutes ‘Rigour’ in Our 21st-Century Educational Systems? [DMLcentral]

My latest post for DMLcentral is up. Entitled What constitutes ‘rigour’ in our 21st-century educational systems? I analyse the latest moves of Michael Gove, the English Secretary of State for Education:

What concerns me about Gove’s proposals is the assumption that rigour consists of a very particular method of assessing young people’s knowledge, understanding and skills. I say this as a former teacher and senior leader, as someone who is currently involved in education on a national and international level and, most importantly, a parent. The ability to sit still and concentrate for three hours on examination questions testing feats of memory does not sound to me like a 21st century skill. Which pieces of the complex puzzle of human knowledge, skills and understanding are not captured under such a system? I’d suggest many.

I’m closing comments here so that you can comment over there. 🙂

 

Is Michael Gove systematically dismantling English state education?

Would you trust this man with your kids?

Is Michael Gove systematically dismantling state education in England?

I’m not sure.

To believe so presumes competence, intention and strategy on his part. Most of what I observe is an ill-informed sociopath flapping about at seemingly-random educational targets.

See what you think by looking at these BBC News stories since the beginning of the calendar year:

So no need to be a qualified teacher in England any more. This news, of course, was buried by being announced on a Friday in the school holidays, on the very day of the Olympic Games opening ceremony. Perhaps that was to avoid another strike by teachers like the one in November 2011?

From where I’m sitting, this looks like part of a wider move to centralise schooling in England. There were huge financial incentives for schools to become academies. Now, even if the money’s not there, there’s certainly political and other kinds of pressures bearing down on headteachers and governors.

Once English schools all become academies they’re outside of local authority control but under the direct control of Whitehall. Gove may bleat that academies have powers to do this or that, but when there’s no buffer between the headteacher and the all-powerful politician in control of the money, there’s no real contest.

Michael Gove is the most power-hungry, dangerously reactionary, and misguided millionaire Secretary of State for Education we’ve had a for a long time. He proposes yachts for over-privileged, taxpayer-funded families and gives out religious texts inscribed with his name. Meanwhile extra cash for the most deprived boroughs is turned down and, in the midst of one of the most sustained attacks on the profession in living memory, teachers are expected to roll over and accept performance-related pay.

Who will rid us of this troublesome beast?

Image CC BY-NC staticgirl

 
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