There's more to Gove than meets the eye
I read, with some dismay, an Open Letter to Michael Gove this morning, an excerpt from which can be found below:
Dear Mr Gove,
As a teacher I feel it is my duty to educate you as to what exactly it is that we teachers do all day, since you seem to be absolutely clueless.
As your latest proposal to lengthen school days and shorten school holidays once again reveals, you seem to believe that teachers only work 9am-3pm, then bugger off home without a second thought for children’s education.
You are very much mistaken, Mr Gove, so let’s take your preferred method of learning – by rote – to instil a hard truth: TEACHERS WORK HARD. TEACHERS WORK HARD. TEACHERS WORK HARD.
Having been a teacher I understand where she's coming from. The thing is that it's easy to make the same mistake I used to; just because someone's talking about X doesn't mean that's their focus. Their focus might be Y.
Let me explain.
It's fairly evident that Gove and people like him (who have never taught, as far as I know) see teachers as little more as baristas. You know, it's the kind of job you do before you decide what you want to do with your life. The concept of teaching being a vocation, something to do with one's life seems to be incomprehensible to such people.
So to people like Gove, education is a political football. Given that the man has ambitions to be Prime Minister and, given that he's in the Cabinet of one of the most ruthlessly right-wing governments in living memory, he has to toe the line. As ever, it's important to follow the money.
I'm as ignorant as the next man about the machinations of politics, but from where I sit Gove looks like somebody introducing policies (such as school longer hours) that fit with a wider Conservative programme. That programme is, for better or for worse, to get unemployment figures down. Hence the draconian cuts to the recently-renamed welfare benefits. Hence the number of jobs that were filled by full-timers that are now filled by five part-timers. And hence the proposed increase in the amount of times parents don't have to look after their kids.