Mr Gove hasn’t made the speech* yet, but it’s being heavily promoted. He’s expected to say that opponents of his academy conversion programme are “enemies of promise” who are “happy with failure”. Some local authorities (LAs) are co-operating with him, he will say, but others are not. The latter are described as “ideologues” who are really saying (according to Mr Gove) that “If you're poor, if you're Turkish, if you're Somali, then we don't expect you to succeed. You will always be second class and it's no surprise your schools are second class.”
Mr Gove’s logic has failed him. It does not follow that those who disagree with his policies believe that minority children will not succeed. It does not follow that those who oppose Mr Gove’s academy programme are complacent. And it does not follow that those who argue against his ideas are “enemies of promise” whatever that high-sounding waffle means.
Mr Gove is expected to highlight the London School of Economics (LSE) report which found the academies programme generated "a significant improvement in pupil performance". But what he is not expected to say is that the LSE only looked at a small number of academies which were set up by Labour from under-performing schools. Neither is he expected to point out that the LSE found that the intake of these schools improved after they converted. And I do not expect he will mention that the LSE said more time was needed to assess fully the “academy effect”.
Will Mr Gove mention warnings from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that while his policies are likely to increase user choice they also need careful monitoring if they are not to increase further the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children? Will he tell his listeners that international evidence about the link between user choice and educational achievement is mixed? Will he inform them that the OECD is concerned that the English obsession with raw exam grades risks grade inflation, teaching-to-the-test, “gaming” and the neglect of important non-cognitive skills? Somehow I think not.
This site is full of well-argued rebuttals of Mr Gove’s viewpoint. These show that it is Mr Gove who is the ideologue not his opponents.
*The speech transcript is here. The above was written before the transcript was available. It confirms what Michael Gove was 'expected' to say.