Posted by: Alexandre Borovik | June 4, 2008

Class wars in education: a counteroffence

From Mail Online:

Children should no longer be taught traditional subjects at school because they are “middle-class” creations, a Government adviser will claim today.

Professor John White, who contributed to a controversial shake-up of the secondary curriculum, believes lessons should instead cover a series of personal skills.

Pupils would no longer study history, geography and science but learn skills such as energy- saving and civic responsibility through projects and themes.

He will outline his theories at a conference today staged by London’s Institute of Education – to which he is affiliated – to mark the 20th anniversary of the national curriculum.

The story is so unbelivable that I give an alternative source, The Guardian.

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Responses

  1. [...] aduial: [...]

  2. I can only assume this is some sort of plot to ensure that only privately-educated children have any conceivable chance of going to good universities.

  3. It feels like the Dark Age is creeping in. Terrifying, blood-chilling….

  4. What is so horrible about middle-class creations that they need to be done away with? (Again, not sure what middle-class means in UK, since middle-class is a banner of pride in the US).

  5. There is a problem. The problem of the growth of knowledge. When I was at school 30+ years ago there was a lot less knowledge, and yet the curriculum was pretty full. Children now have to learn about things that I did not, so the curriculum either has to be weeded or more breadth and less depth.

    Or, we take a new approach – teach information skills, let children study areas that are of interest to them, making sure that there is much breadth. They will enjoy learning and be better students – even if they don’t know what a gerund is or have chosen to look at the history of fashion rather than of war.

  6. I have some sympathy with Tom Franklin’s views. One consequence, however, is imediately apparent: If students learn how to learn and then use these skills to learn what they wish (eg, the history of fashion rather than of war), then we will no longer have a society in which all educated people share a common body of knowledge. I think it much less probable that such a society would share common values, agree on common future goals, or even agree on what is good or bad about the present state of affairs. Surely, governing or leading such an atomised society would be an order of magnitude harder than it is at present.

    There is also a very strong case to make that school students are the least-qualified people to be entrusted with deciding what and how they should learn, since they know so little about the world.

  7. http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?sectioncode=26&storycode=401980

    Elite institutions’ class bias simply reflects ‘meritocracy’

    22 May 2008

    By Rebecca Attwood

    Higher IQs mean upper-class domination is ‘natural’, academic says. Rebecca Attwood reports


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