Gove is having to look for nasty sounding rhetoric to describe opponents of his free schools and academies policies. So we have been described as "enemies of promise" and even "trots". The reason for the use of this language is simple. It would be hard to mount a huge attack on people who just want good locally managed schools for local children.
This is the view of the majority of the "enemies of promise". We would like you to have a good local school to send your children to and if possible a choice of good local schools. We would like these schools run locally by local people and accountable to parents and the local community. We want local people to make decisions about local schools such as a decision to open a new school. We want this to happen in an accountable way with the people making the decision engaging with the local community.
This does not sound to me a radicle agenda of "progressive" education. In fact I would go as far to say this is a true conservative agenda.
You will notice I said "good" local schools. This is not an agenda for failing schools. Such schools need to be held to account and challenged to improve if necessary. But this should be done locally. Gove suggested that:
What are they saying?
“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.
But what Gove seems to be saying is that if you are poor, or Turkish, or Somali then don't expect to run your own school or have a say. You will always need to have your schools run from Westminster as we know better than you what your children need and what success is.
To me the real "enemies of promise" are the new educational establishment run by ideologically driven neo-liberals who are undertaking an experiment in supply side economics in your local school. These people don't listen to reason or appeals to common sense. So what if a new school isn't needed, nobody wants it and it will make other good schools worse. Nothing must get in the way of progress and choice.
These ideologues are surrounded by career opportunists who are making a fortune from the new policies that began under the last Government and have gathered pace under the Coalition. There are the Academy Chain CEOs who can earn up to £280K a year and the "revolving door" staff who move from senior positions in the DfE and Ofsted straight into high paying jobs in the educational companies.
And there are growing numbers of companies in this education"industry" willing to employ these people and try and increase their "market share" offering branches of educational supermarkets rather than good local schools.
This new educational establishment of ideologues and career opportunists are the new progressives in education. And the funny thing is that we are left to defend the traditional educational values of local schools for local people against a bunch of reckless ideologues. Isn't life strange?