Thursday, September 28, 2006

Citizenship lessons 'inadequate'

From the beeb:

"One in four secondary schools in England is failing to offer pupils adequate lessons in citizenship, the education watchdog has warned.
Citizenship became compulsory for pupils aged 11 to 16 in September 2002, but inspectors said only a minority of schools taught it "with enthusiasm"."
Now, the Scottish curriculum is different from Engerland so we don't have this. Or rather we do but we call it something different. Or is it different and we call it the same thing? Dunno - don't care. The point is, despite my ignorance of the English system I immediately thought on reading this, "Betcha there's no GCSE on citizenship." Lo - I was right:

"[I]nspectors called on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to offer a full GCSE course in citizenship, as well as A-level courses.

Ofsted's director of education Miriam Rosen said: "Citizenship is still seen as the poor relation of more established subjects but it requires teachers to be highly skilled and able to deal with contentious and sometimes difficult issues.""
Oh I dare say it does - but here's a bit of history to chew on. Keith Joseph, monetarist ideologue and one of Thatcher's first education ministers, was once asked to define education. His response? "That which is measured by exams" - or something equally barbarian.

Ever since that day, education in this country has been dominated and controlled by Thatcherites and now by this present bunch of Thatcherites in drag who think precisely like this. It's all quantitative measures, centrally-controlled curricula and testing - and a supermarket of competition is to be built on the results of these.

I don't know but if the English 'citizenship' curriculum even resembles the sort of pish that's churned out here, it'll be full of vapid shite about 'shared values' and other assorted platitudinous tosh of that nature.

This in and of itself enough to put any self-respecting teacher off it - but that isn't the key issue because it isn't primarily a matter of taste and choice. We live with a system where what is valued is what can be measured by instruments of assessment. People's pay depends on it. The careers of teachers depends on it. Whether a school stays open or is closed can depend on it.

This system is supported by know-nothing journalists who will consign you to pre-history if you fail to agree with this intellectually impoverished managerial hell.

Aspiring PMs or depute PMs or whateverthefuck they want to be will seriously argue that the problem with education in this country is that there hasn't been enough of this slavish conformity to the edicts of the soulless quantifiers.

Then they wonder why schools don't throw themselves heart and mind into delivering this? Duh!

Here's one of the 'architects of citizenship' in schools:
"Sir Bernard Crick...said the subject should educate children in how to be politically literate using real issues.

"Being taught to respect the law without learning how bad laws can be changed and better ones promoted tends to create apathetic subjects rather than active citizens," he said."
So our job isn't to teach a subject, it is to treat the pupils as so much material to be worked on, to mould them into 'active citizens'?

I've got a better idea: why don't all these Blairite managerialists stick to something they are good at - like writing meaningless 'mission statements' or shit articles for the Times about being 'progressive' or something and leave those who understand what the vocation of a teacher actually is to get on with it? Fat chance of that happening, of course.

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