Yesterday I suggested that Gove’s “bespoke” reforms were turning to rags. I highlighted a groundswell of opposition from disparate groups including independent and state schools, the CBI and the exam watchdog to Gove’s exam reforms. I wondered if this would signal the beginning of more widespread disquiet about all of Gove’s policies.
The concern is spreading.
First, the “evidence” underpinning Gove’s exam reforms: Warwick Mansell provides a devastating critique
of the document submitted by the Department for Education (DfE) to the Education Select Committee. This paper supposedly gives the “evidence base” which allegedly underpins the proposed changes. Mansell demolishes this – statement by statement. In his conclusion he attacks the wider misuse of evidence by the DfE:
“In summary, there’s no getting away from it: I think this is dumb, or massively dumbed-down, policy-making… The tragedy of our system has become, clearly, its ultra-politicisation, with fair treatment of evidence a casualty. I think people should start saying this much more loudly than they have been; “evidence” of this kind is not just embarrassing, but an indictment on the way we now do policy in this country, with potential implications for pupils across England.”
Second, the black hole at the centre of Gove’s propaganda: Peter Wilby in the Guardian
writes, “…there is scant evidence that English schools face any kind of crisis or that Gove's policies will deliver improvements. [Gove’s] stellar rating [in the Daily Mail and other papers] rests on little more than a journalist's talent for telling a good story (he was a news editor and columnist for the Times) and some distinctly dodgy statistics.” Wilby takes Gove to task for his misuse of PISA figures, something that the Local Schools Network and FullFact have criticised many times in the last two years. The UK Statistics watchdog shares this concern
and has censured the DfE’s use of PISA statistics.
Wilby punctures the academy myth by using Henry Stewart’s analysis for this site. Henry’s research has recently been confirmed by academics from Leeds and Manchester Universities: there is no academy effect
. Wilby concludes that Gove’s “mission is essentially an ideological, not an educational one.”
Parents will not be pleased when they realise Gove has been using their children’s education to enhance his own political career through “stellar” ratings. There are already hundreds of parents angry about the GCSE 2012 debacle – their numbers are likely to rise when parents eventually realise that Gove’s talk about the urgency of educational reform is based on unreliable data.