The school curriculum has been corrupted by political interference, traditional subject areas have been hijacked to promote fashionable causes such as gender awareness, the environment and anti-racism, and teachers are now expected to help to achieve the government's social goals instead of imparting a body of academic knowledge to their students.
Coming just a day after the General Teaching Council called for all national curriculum tests to be scrapped, these latest claims condemning the Government's approach to education are made by the independent think-tank Civitas in a new publication, The Corruption of the Curriculum. Examples they cite include:
- The whole tradition of English poetry from its origins to 1914 is represented by just sixteen poems while modern poetry has three times as many...A British pupil can go through the school system and get the top marks in English and English Literature without knowing that Spenser, Milton or Pope ever existed.
- "New History" lacks any sense of narrative or chronology and is taught through a filter of politically correct perspectives
- Geography has become a vehicle for teaching global citizenship, with environmentalism as its central theme
- The government's new science curriculum conflates the three disciplines of chemistry, physics and biology into "scientific literacy," which has more to do with media studies than hard science as students are asked to discuss issues such as global warming and GM crops, based on media coverage, and to consider whether or not scientists can be trusted.
Warning that an educational apartheid is opening up between the experience of pupils in the state sector and those at independent schools, which have generally held on to traditional approaches to teaching, the authors claim we need to:
- Depoliticise education: "Politicians need to be discouraged from regarding the curriculum as their platform for making statements"
- Challenge the tendency to downsize the status of knowledge and expose the destructive consequences of "anti-elitist education"
- Take seriously the ability of children to engage with knowledge and provide them with a challenging educational environment.