Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/812/18664
Michael Gove is a hated figure to anyone who genuinely understands education. However the news that Gove has insisted that classic American literature like Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men', Arthur Miller's 'The Crucible' and Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' must be dropped from the new English literature GCSE has angered teachers, parents and students.
Of course not only are these books fantastically written and enjoyed by the young people who study them, they are also thought-provoking - and of thoughts that perhaps Gove doesn't want them to have. With The Crucible perhaps Gove doesn't want students to consider what life would be like in a world where dissent became unlawful - perhaps better to ban such 'satanic' literature instead!
Gove's narrow-minded act may prove another miscalculation. Books like this have made an impact on many a young person - and young people who are now parents.
Gove's ignorant decision will help make crystal clear why teachers have to take action to stop the damage being inflicted on education - and why we are calling on parents to support our struggle.
Martin Powell-Davies, NUT national executive
The personal interference of Michael Gove as Education Secretary in what can and cannot be taught in schools is a gross abuse of his powers. By banning the teaching of classic fiction Gove has revealed a level of pettiness on what should contribute to learning unseen in the last 50 years.
His philistinism shows him to be ideologically unsuited to holding any post in education. The books are to be excluded not because they are of poor quality, lacking in meaning or compassion, or because they have no thematic significance. They are banned because they are American contributions to English literature.
Michael Gove has taken English education to the edge of a pit where our history and culture is cast into flames because it does not meet with the approval of a reactionary demagogue with the intellectual instincts of Martin Bormann.
Peter Flack, Assistant Secretary, City of Leicester NUT
In The Socialist 28 May 2014:
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