Monday, 16 June 2014

ConDems: You will NOT turn my children into Generation Right.

It's been a sinister few weeks in education. Reports, accusations and counterclaims about what has/hasn't been going on in Birmingham schools has been rife. May accusing Gove, Gove accusing May of being at fault within the Government. Knee jerk policy written on the back of a fag packet has trotted forth. More unscheduled Ofsted inspections, more scrutiny of school governors, and the icing on the cake was Cameron.

"We must have more Britishness in schools" says Dave. "British values must be taught" he said before running back into No 10 without any further explanation of what "British values" are! Tories British values will be a lot different to yours and mine. There have been a few instances that have been under-reported recently which offer up possible explanations as to what Tories consider these values to be.

In The Telegraph this article £1m for school cadets provides some idea of what the Tories want. The ConDems  (I am including LibDems as Tim Farron LibDems President, openly admitted to me on twitter that he supports the idea in principle) want to pump £1 million into state schools to run "Military Cadet Training". As my 2 sons had 8 Geography GCSE textbooks between a class of 23 and I had to buy the books online myself, this beggars belief this funding is being used for this purpose.

While many brilliant volunteers give up their time to train children at cadets in many skills such as survival training and first aid skills, as a parent I am very uneasy about "Military Cadet Training" for my sons. Will there be an air of compulsion to participate in schools? Will parents be able to opt their children out if they so wish? And my ultimate question is why is this funding being made available for this purpose? I do not wish my sons to know how to fire a gun is my bottom line. Many other parents will feel the same. The Tory line is that the  training will instill discipline in children. This I find deplorable. In order to instill discipline in schools the ConDems are advocating military training. To be a law abiding child at school my sons have to learn how to fire a rifle? This is straight out of Gove's 1950s school handbook, alongside all his other teacher bashing, half baked ideas on the way forward to educating our children!

And focussing on children. Everyone knows that traditionally the military are right wing biased. By getting our children into military cadet training they are attempting  by stealth to turn a generation to the right.

Another article appeared in the Daily Mail  Cameron and School Reformsby an ex-Gove advisor. It was the forgotten footnote at the bottom of the article that prompted my alarm instantly.

* " In a separate development last night, it emerged that children as young as five are to be taught about business in a bid to produce a generation of entrepreneurs. 
Mr Cameron is expected to support plans for a major overhaul of the curriculum to promote business. 
The changes, proposed by Tory grandee Lord Young of Graffham, will include teaching children about the importance of profit and encourage them to be more entrepreneurial."

Children as young as 5! It beggars belief! Yet another stealth tactic to turn a generation to the right.
If Tories want our children to learn about entrepreneurialism then I want children taught about their work rights, their pay rights, their citizens rights and a full programme of Trade Unionism education taught in school. I want my sons to grow up in the knowledge they do not have to accept zero hours contracts as the norm and how to campaign effectively against that. I do not want my sons being right wing automatons, controlled by a right wing government, scared to speak out when they see injustice and accepting a future of low pay, no workplace rights and no chance of improvement as the right wing state has educated and knocked the fight out of them.

We are already seeing the decline in looking after our neighbour and the rise of a selfish society concerned with mass consumerism and self, self, self. To have this taught in schools is anathema to myself and millions of other parents.

The Tories are proposing radical new anti-union legislation should they gain power in 2015. They want to impose a minimum turnout before a strike ballot so employees cannot strike unless the turnout is above 50%. Ironically Tory MEPs have been recently elected on an average turnout by voters of around 30%! One rule for the posh boys, and one rule for us! 

BBC radio aired a programme on Radio 4 entitled "Generation Right" where they explored the real issue that young people under 30 are now a lot more right wing than their parents/grandparents due to right wing government policies and extensive media coverage of  the benefits system with its move towards "scrounger benefit" rhetoric. The BBC are complicit  with their programmes imaginatively titled "Saints and Scroungers" and "Nick and Margaret: We all pay your benefits". Never has a generation been subjected to such intervention by  TV to demonise a section of society.

The last education reform I will tackle is that of the "hardworking school day" being extended. Articles have been creeping into the right wing media and lauding schools results by extending the school day to 6pm. All this is being said under the guise of both results and also of extended childcare, trying to appeal to working parents. It is no secret Gove is fond of the Chinese 10-12 hour school day. Link this up right from a child's first birthday where parents on benefit are now expected to be available for work, and we have a sinister mantra of "working from the cradle to the grave" quite literally as retirement age is ever being increased.

"Hardworking" Families, people, children and any other section of society this Government can rope in are drip fed into a susceptible public. The ConDems and their right wing media have been uber successful at seeping that message into the publics psyche whereby people en masse believe " I work all the hours god sends so my neighbours must too." Hence all society must now work until they are
exhausted by it all. Now it seems government want our children to be made to do the same.

Sorry Cameron, Gove and your sidekick Nick Clegg, you are NOT turning my children into nasty, right wing state sponsored advocates of your regime.

You will NOT be allowed to turn my children into "Generation Right."