Zero Marx for Gove’s time warp (again)

June 20, 2013

Michael Gove is stuck in a time warp (“Enemy of promise”, 13 June). Twenty-five years ago, the radical Right was publishing similar scare stories about Marxists in teacher education.

Margaret Thatcher, in The Downing Street Years, recalled how in 1988 she “could barely believe the contents of one of the BEd courses” at what was then known as Brighton Polytechnic. She was not referring to Marxism but to a course I taught that included considerations of gender and “race”, issues that are now mainstream and enshrined in British law.

Can we hope, in light of the obvious failings of the capitalist system, that 25 years hence a serious consideration of Marxism (not Stalinism, but 21st-century democratic socialism) will be on the mainstream agenda, too?

Mike Cole
Professor in education
University of East London

 

Martin McQuillan has a real go at Michael Gove, who has claimed that “academics who have helped run the university departments of education responsible for developing curricula and teacher training courses” are “Marxists”.

But surely if they really were Marxists, we would by now have an educational system based on the scientific rigours of dialectical and historical materialism, and from which a new elite ruling class would have arisen.

R. E. Rawles
Honorary research fellow in psychology
University College London

 

Much as I applaud the sentiments in the open letters to Gove from school of education lecturers, I’m afraid that writing letters to the education secretary is not enough. Indeed, a history of the activities of those in Gove’s own department suggests that personal emails and Twitter are the preferred means of communication.

Keith Flett
London

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