The Golden Age in Greek mythology refers to the first of several sequences of the ‘Ages of Man’. Being ‘Gold’, it is obviously the best and the subsequent ages: Silver, Bronze, Heroic, and Iron denote a period of steady decline. So, even by the 1st century BC life in general was already past it. Even by the Daily Mail standards this is pretty gloomy but it shows quite neatly that as a race our default setting seems to be: it was better yesterday but enjoy today because it will be worse tomorrow. As a result every single conceivable idea or movement has apparently already had its golden age: Hollywood, comics, sci-fi, hip-hop, there has, I am reliably informed by Wikipedia, even been a golden age of porn-but due to internet restrictions on my broadband I am unable to inform you of when or what that was.
Presumably there was a golden age in education and presumably we all missed it. However our brave Secretary of State for Education, dear little Micky Gove is determined to find it and put it back in its rightful place. This personal quest of his helps to explain why each week he spews out more and more demented policy ideas in the hope that one day he’ll hit gold. He’s not having a great deal of success with this strategy; I mean if you read all of his ideas for schools and education in order it’s as if he’s playing his own version of the BBC game show ‘Pointless’ where he’s gradually trying to find the one idea that absolutely no teacher will like.
Give every school a free bible? ‘Not bad, 85 teachers liked that idea.’
2014 Proposed Curriculum? ‘Ooh that’s a good one, only 35 teachers liked that one.’
Longer school days? ‘Very close, 8 teachers were in favour of that.’
Shorter holidays? ‘Wow, that’s a very low score with only 4 teachers being in favour of that.’
Inset a device into a teacher’s inner ear so they self-destruct after two successive ‘less than good’ lessons as voted for by pupils who weren’t there at the time ? ‘Congratulations! That is a totally pointless answer.’
There are three only possible sensible reasons why Gove seems to be selecting education policy as if he’s playing a blind ‘education policy’ lucky dip whilst taking vast quantities of crystal meth that is having a serious effect on his ability to apply reason:
- He is an idiot.
- He is a genius who is subversively managing the government’s plan to have every school a privatised academy by the May bank holiday by enforcing unpopular policy.
- He is really bad at playing ‘truth or dare?’
Whatever the reason, one thing is for certain: Thanks to Mr Gove, we are definitely not living in the golden age of education.