to think if you are going to criticise teenagers' historical knowledge, you should at least do some proper research first - Gove, that means you

(64 Posts)
kim147 Mon 13-May-13 21:52:39

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/dumbing-down-minister-michael-gove-gets-his-educational-facts-from-marketing-surveys-for-uktv-gold-and-premier-inns-8614525.html

Gove came out a while ago criticising teenagers for not knowing who Churchill was or much about other aspects of UK history.

Hence the curriculum changes to history - which look really uninspiring.

So where did he get his facts from? Quality academic research?
No - according to a FOI request, it was from a Premier Inn survey and a survey for UKV Gold.

Don't you just love him - the man responsible for our children's education.

partystress Mon 13-May-13 22:24:44

I haven't got the words to say how I feel about him. Appallingly arrogant, ill-informed, bigoted, hypocritical, dangerous, destructive sack of smugness. Actually, those words will do nicely angry

BlackeyedSusan Mon 13-May-13 22:31:45

oh joy. oh well, the other lot will be in soon and it will all change again.

Michael Gove, for example, is a twat.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Mon 13-May-13 22:39:10

God Bless that tenacious retired teacher, and the FoI act.

Panzee Mon 13-May-13 22:44:31

The NUT magazine refers to the new History curriculum as "Pub Quiz Curriculum". I think this sums it up rather well. I wish he'd hurry up and get out of Education.

I prefer the Michael Gove, is, for example, a cunt.

But that's just me!

wish I could do a Gove History of the World Atlas.....Big old red blob surrounded by small grey floating bits (AKA rest of world)

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Mon 13-May-13 22:53:53

To be fair, Gove's article was in the Mail on Sunday, so a survey for Premier Inn is way above the usual level of factual evidence required.

It's a major flaw in our system of government, not just Gove TBH; we get career politicians with no relevant work experience or knowledge put in charge of running the country's education (or whatever) system.
They force through whatever random changes their party philosophy suggests, with no evidence basis whatsoever (see the NHS reforms, too), causing disruption, harming staff morale and costing a fortune.
Then by the time it's clear it was a really shit idea, there's been a reshuffle and they've moved on to fuck up another department. It's crazy really.

LadyRainicorn Tue 14-May-13 08:04:46

I'm always embarrassed to think he's my MP. In addition to everything else, the man looks like a ventriloquist's dummy.

limitedperiodonly Tue 14-May-13 09:10:52

Hurrah for Mrs Downs. Won't stop him though.

I have to say I grudgingly admire the Mail On Sunday for their headline on the Gove interview: “Why I refuse to surrender to militant Marxist teachers hell-bent on destroying our schools”.

Someone on that subs desk was surely having a bet.

cory Tue 14-May-13 09:49:57

I'd like to take a look at those questionnaires before I decide how reliable the answers are likely to be.

My 13yo takes a keen interest in modern history and politics, to the extent of watching parliamentary debates (wouldn't be my idea of fun), but even he would not be able to restrain himself if faced with a question along the following lines:

Was Henry VIII's first wife:

a) Catherine of Aragon

b) Isabel of Spain

c) Delia Smith

As for the Churchill question if the question looked like this:

Identify the following:

i) Churchill

a) the dog advertising Churchill insurance

b) The British Prime Minister during WW2

then surely both answers are accurate and even I might be tempted to answer a) though I have a degree in history and Churchill's history of the Second World War (the PM's not the dog's) sits on the shelf behind me.

Teenagers take the piss. It's what they do.

Abuelita Tue 14-May-13 09:51:03

I'm pleased my research has caused so much hilarity. But under the mockery is a serious concern about what Gove has done and still intends to do with the English education system. It's not the first time, and I doubt it will be the last, when Gove misrepresents data or relies on unreliable (even non-existent) evidence to back up his pre-conceives ideas.

My article about the FoI response is here on the Local Schools Network where you can find other examples of Gove's misrepresentation.

www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/05/dfe-digs-up-more-surveys-but-do-they-support-goves-statement-that-teenagers-have-disturbing-historical-ignorance/

Abuelita Tue 14-May-13 09:53:25

cory - I shared your suspicion that the answers were given by teenagers having a bit of fun. My favourite answer was that the plague was a heavy metal group.

Brilliant!

trice Tue 14-May-13 09:56:22

Gove is actively destroying the education system and wrecking thousands of lives. It is not remotely funny. It is a disaster. I could weep.

cory Tue 14-May-13 09:59:18

I remember another survey from my teens, where we actually answered the questionnaire quite seriously and truthfully, but where the answers gave rise to a certain amount of unjustified handwringing and concern. The question was "if you wanted to buy drugs, would you know who to get in touch with?". We all unanimously answered that we would. The truth being that we all suspected that there was one girl in another class who almost certainly did know, so we could have asked her. This was not proof that we ever intended to actually ask her, let alone act on the information, we were just answering the question as it was written. In fact, there was very little drug taking in my school and no cause for concern whatsoever.

cory Tue 14-May-13 09:59:54

Agree that it isn't funny and that Gove is a shithead.

BarbarianMum Tue 14-May-13 10:00:12

<<Gove is actively destroying the education system and wrecking thousands of lives. It is not remotely funny. It is a disaster. I could weep.>>

^^This. He would be funny (hysterically so, in fact) if he were a local councillor spouting off. As the Minister of Education, not so much.

Abuelita Tue 14-May-13 10:04:04

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep - I wrote about the Mail On Sunday article on the Local Schools Network. As well as the "survey after survey" mentioned by Gove, he also cited an allegedly dumbed down question on GCSE science paper. He'd used that before in 2009 and Channel 4 FactCheck had investigated at the time. The FactCheck found that the cited question was a small part of a question and that the paper also contained more difficult questions. This didn't stop Gove from repeating it though.

As I told the Independent, I think that Gove shows contempt for us if he thinks we're so stupid and uncritical that we'll swallow everything he says. It doesn't help that many sections of the media pick up and run with his misinformation.

www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/03/bellicose-gove-incites-mail-readers-to-join-battle-against-enemies-of-promise/

The UK Statistics watchdog censured Gove and his department for misusing data from international league tables. I wrote about it here:

www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2012/10/statistics-watchdog-expresses-concern-about-dfe-use-of-the-pisa-2000-figures/

Abuelita Tue 14-May-13 10:13:13

cory and trice - I agree that deep down it isn't funny. But it took two years of serious lobbying by FullFact, Local Schools Network and others before the UK Statistics Authority censured Gove and the DfE for misusing international test data (see my post above). By that time it was too late - the myth about UK education "plummeting down league tables" had become "truth". It was even repeated in the Commons by Tory MP Chris Skidmore after the Stats Watchdog had warned the data was unreliable. I wrote about it here:

http://www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/2013/01/the-commons-ebacc-debate-a-mixed-serving-with-piquant-side-dishes/

Sometimes it takes mockery to make the point. The survey story has generated more headlines, tweets and so on than any number of my more serious offerings on LSN. Some of these are not exactly exciting reads although they deal with important subjects. For example, how many articles about the findings of the Academies Commission (see LSN faqs) can readers possibly take?

noblegiraffe Tue 14-May-13 10:14:14

Keep up the good work, Abuelita.

Gove's anti-Marxist piece in the Mail really alarmed me, it read like the paranoid ramblings of a conspiracy theorist. People couldn't possibly be rejecting his ideas because they simply think they're shit, could they? No, they have to be mindless slaves to an out-moded political ideology that most people would probably be hard-pressed to define. Utterly bizarre.

I don't think Gove highlighted his concerns in a particularly illuminating way, but I do have some sympathy with him, because the state education system across the UK as a whole really isn't good by international standards and hasn't been for a while. The system really does require reform and, I suspect, a shake-up by someone outside the system.

I don't intend any criticism of teachers by making this point. I think they have a thankless task and do it well in circumstances that are not their fault, and are the fault of successive Education Secretaries from Kenneth Baker onwards, amongst other reasons.

I live in NZ. Tales of the awfulness of UK schools are legion amongst teachers down here, both amongst emigrants and also Kiwis who have taught in it. I could wax lyrical about the NZ state system, but it's probably enough to say that it is one of the major reasons I am bringing up my DDs here and not the UK. There is nothing flash about the schools here: they are simply run by common-sense, discipline and hard work, and in attainment in core subjects they kick the daylight out of UK schools.

noblegiraffe Tue 14-May-13 11:44:56

England did way better than New Zealand in the 2011 TIMSS mathematics achievement rankings.

noblegiraffe Tue 14-May-13 11:48:32

And way better in science and slightly better in reading.

Abuelita Tue 14-May-13 13:07:47

Toadinthehole - you've been misinformed about UK education probably because of Gove pushing the "plummeting down league tables" line until the UK Stats Watchdog told him to stop misrepresenting the figures.

See faq "Is the UK tumbling down the international league tables?" for up-to-date data on the position of England and the UK in global education tests (with links to the evidence):

www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk/faqs/

You're right, however, about the constant interference in schools of successive politicians. Teachers in England are punch-drunk with initiatives and the accountability system (national league tables, Ofsted forever chaning the goalposts) encourages teaching to the test, gaming and neglecting important skills which can't easily be assessed.

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