Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Don't Kill The Mockingbird, Michael!

The odious Michael Gove ('no one likes me, I don't care tra-la-la') has wielded the axe over English GCSE classes up and down the land.

He has 'banned' the study of seminal American literature like To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and The Crucible in favour of a more English-centric focus on the Romantic Poets, the 19th Century novel and Shakespeare.

There's nothing wrong with these, in fact they're exemplary works, but they are nevertheless works that can alienate many schoolchildren.

I studied To Kill A Mockingbird for my GCSE way back in the mid 90s (alongside some Shakespeare) In fact, I read that very edition pictured above which I then donated to the school for the generation of kids to come. I can testify to how easily identifiable we as a class found it. It slowly fed into us and made us consider things. I'm sure that such a claim is still as relevant among kids reading it today.

Gove is banning a rich seam of books, intriguingly many which ask its young readers to consider authority and to question and challenge it. Interesting then, that they should be the first to go isn't it?

Michael Gove claims he is not banning any books at all, merely reshaping the system, but he needs to realise that in doing so he is narrowing the curriculum, taking choice away from the teaching staff and enjoyment and valuable life lessons away from students.

If you want Gove to reconsider this appalling decision, sign this petition here 

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