Gove and the illusion of dialogue. Montgomery school still fighting academy status.
Gove can haz hashtag?
Education Secretary Michael Gove has demonstrated how 'in touch' he is with 'the pulse' of public opinion by soliciting questions via Twitter this week. "This is a good way of breaking down the seemingly vast gap between the governed and the governing ... We are always looking at ways of reaching out and making sure people can use our services to help us hold the government to account."
Gove, you're not in he slightest bit interested reducing the 'gap between the governed and the governing'. When over half a million teachers went on strike in November you did nothing but talk shit about it. If you won't listen when people take part in the biggest withdrawal of labour in the UK since the 1920s, what makes you think we're stupid enough to think you'll read a few tweets? This is like AC Grayling last week, suggesting his new contemptible £18,000 per year private university could be evaluated by Twitter and Facebook comments. I can just imagine some PR advisor 'it's all about facebooking your hashtag these days Mr Gove'.
The hashtag #askgove was open this week for pitching questions about anything and everything education related. I've plenty I want to say to him, most of which is unprintable, such is the irrational state this cretin induces in me. Lots of the questions and comments pointed out the stupidity of the academies programme - its erosion of basic protections workers enjoyed in state schools, its deliberate handing over to select schools priveleges that woyuld noit be afforded to most, and it's complete contempt for any democratic process, with it not even bothering to pay lip-service to consultation anymore.
The Hands Off Bournville School campaign asked:
'How is being exempt from most of the legal safeguards that apply to pupils in maintained schools of benefit to pupils in Academies?'
While @PolStudiesAssoc tweeted 'in calling for longer school days, are you a)conditioning kids into employees and b)slapping teachers in the face?'
Others said 'you spent the election campaign telling the public that 'teachers not politicians know best' - umm.. Why don't you believe it?'
Of course, this is all meaningless. Real opposition to Gove's quest to destory public education and break the unions is being organised in places like Downhills Primary, Montgomery Primary and Bourneville School among others, with many more to come. The academies programme and the march of Ofsted won't be defeated with twitter comments and the illusion of dialogue, it'll be beat with direct action, from workers, parents, pupils and communities.
Seriousness aside, some of the more amusing tweets asked of Gove:
'does anyone actually like you?'
'if it was a choice between being teabagged by Newt Gingrich or rimming Mitt Romney, which would you do?'
and finally ''Have you ever done an Eiffel Tower?''
Montgomery School fight continues
Workers were on strike again this week at Montgomery Primary School in Sparkbrook, Birmingham over plans to turn the school into an academy against the wishes of staff, students and parents. This was a follow up to the December strike by GMB, NUT and NASUWT workers there.
Libcom user Gypsy took a trip down to their well-attended public meeting with NUT, NASUWT and GMB having speakers present.
"There was loads of parents from the local community and the school. The meeting went well and the arguments against going academy were put forward clearly and enthusiastically.
"Unfortunately a group of three-four rather vocal pro academy parents (whose children didn't go to Montgomery) were arguing that the academy was the way forward. One of them(who is actually a teacher) is pushing for another local school- Anderton park primary to become an academy as his daughter goes there. One was actually praising the tories and I had to bite my tongue afterwards. Their arguments were defeated though as it was shown that the extra money that academies will get, is actually just existing money which has been taken away from other programmes to fund the academy bonuses and that the extra money is only short term."
I talk about the academies issue quite a lot, but it really is huge. With over 1,500 academies in England now, up from less than 300 two years ago, battles like those at Montgomery and Downhills are just the start.