Sunday, 20 May 2012

Last post on Gove's Bible nonsense (probably)

Education has continued to become a more horrible place to work since I last blogged. The proposed changes to Ofsted mean that everyone has to desperately revise the way lessons work in order that we can tick the new boxes that mean you know how to do your job. This is even more tedioius and time consuming than you can imagine.

On top of that, the failure of all the teaching unions to keep a coherent strike strategy to stop the pension tax thus far means we're stuck with being screwed even more for at least a while.

And now Gove's managed to find some rich Tory fucks to pay for his narcissistic Bible project. I think I'll see if the English department want ours, since it's fuck all use in RE - as I've mentioned before.

Now Dawkins has chipped in with something fatuous.

I am a little shocked at the implication that not every school library already possesses a copy. Can that be true? What do they have, then? Harry Potter? Vampires? Or do they prefer one of those modern translations in which "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, all is vanity" is lyrically rendered as "Perfectly pointless, says the Teacher. Everything is pointless"? That is Ecclesiastes, 1:2, as you'll find it in the Common English Bible. And you can't get much more common than that, although admittedly the God's Word translation provides stiff competition with "absolutely pointless" and the Good News Bible challenges strongly with "useless, useless".

Where to start? Labour decided that not all schools need a library any more and the Tories apparently agree. So the first sentence should probably read 'I am a little shocked that not all schools have a library,' which is a sentence I could agree with wholeheartedly. As it stands, it's little more than petulent whingeing. Our school library doesn't have a copy of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, which is surely a crime against literature.

Then the further whingeing - 'they don't have a 17th century version of a book that is available in many more accessible versions but which I have a nostalgic attachment to because it reminds me of the old days at public school, but I BET they've got some of those books kids actually enjoy like that Harry Twilight fellow, eh?'

I suppose what's getting to me is the way that this whole issue seems to have become a faux-battleground where middle-England can indulge its nostalgia for some mythical Jennings/Mallory Towers-era of education (a world without If... and with no memory of Kes), and engage in yet another defence of white middle-class privilege against the evil hordes of philistines with their 'pointless'es and their 'useless'es on their Klout Twitterbooks - why, public school-educated white men are the *real* oppressed class!

And this is the battle they pick? Honestly, what do we all actually, in the sense of 'how does this help education' rather than 'how does it make Mail readers feel', gain from Gove's vanity project, other than the chance to bury a book (with his name printed in gold on the spine, no less) at the back of the stockroom?

It's not relevant to Key Stage 3 English or RE. It's not part of any of the major GCSE RE specs and is highly unlikely to form part of the English or Eng Lit GCSE specs either, I suspect. It's not useful for A Level New Testament study either, for the twin reasons of unreliability and inaccessibility. What a pointless, pointless act to become a national priority that requires the intervention of the Secretary of State and multiple comment pieces in newspapers.

So that's it. The only national story relating to RE in my memory and it's a bunch of fatuous reactionary dicks belly-aching about whether people should be made to read more 'thees' and 'thous' than they would be expected to if they aren't from Staffordshire. And RE is NOT ABOUT THAT.

Trust me, I'm a Marxist RE teacher.

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