Responding to Michael Gove’s proposed changes to the National Curriculum

Michael Gove continues to elicit hair-pulling and primal screams (“Gooooovveee!!!“) up and down the country this week, in the wake of his latest announcements regarding the national curriculum.

The education secretary’s most recent remarks came in the form of a response to a group of 100 academics who had a letter published in national newspapers, decrying the curriculum as an “endless list of spellings, facts and rules,” arguing it would stifle creativity and take the fun out of learning.

Gove dot the dots

The Goveian prescriptivism that provoked the academics’ open letter is, however, far from being the most concerning development. His earlier announcement that the new curriculum would abandon teaching climate change to under-14s was cause for much greater concern.

A 15-year-old school girl, Esha Marwaha from Hounslow in west London, set up a petition on Change.org as a response to the deluded and anaemic Key Stage 3 Geography curriculum. The petition to reinstate climate change as a key part of national education has over 12,000 signatories already.

Marwaha wrote in explanation:

“Our government, part of the generation who bear much of the responsibility for this problem, intends to not only fail to act on climate change themselves but to obscure the truth from children and young people. It is outrageous that Michael Gove can even consider the elimination of climate change education for under-14s. We must keep climate change in the curriculum in order for young people take on this challenge of tackling the threat posed by our changing climate.”

According to the Guardian, students, members of the UK Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC) and others plan to approach academics, universities and schools to take part in the formal consultation around the plans, which closes on 16 April.

In the meantime we recommend three courses of action:

1.) print out and complete the Gove dot-to-dot stress reliever

2.) Read Vandana Shiva’s new book, Making Peace with the Earth (Pluto; Fernwood, 2013) as a reminder of the precipitous moment we inhabit with regards to the environment.

3.) Take action against Michael Gove’s ridiculous and harmful national curriculum. Sign Esha Marwaha’s petition, and check out the UKYCC website for ways to get engaged.

Making Peace with the Earth

Vandana Shiva

Demolishes the myths of corporate globalisation and shows its devastating environmental impact.

“One of the world’s most prominent radical scientists.” – The Guardian

£14.99 only £13.00 on the Pluto site

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