In what is looking increasingly like a long running campaign of destruction against children’s learning, controversial Education Secretary Michael Gove has caused further outrage by removing classic literature from the British school curriculum.
It’s worth noting that two of the books on the hit list, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, are anti-establishment – the publication of which resulted in the harassment of the respective authors by the US authorities.
Unsurprisingly, academics and writers have reacted angrily.
According to the Guardian, Christopher Bigsby, professor of American studies at the University of East Anglia, and the biographer of Arthur Miller, said the “union jack of culture” was now fluttering over Gove’s department.
“These works are to be rejected in the name of a more nationally centred syllabus, and this from a confessed admirer of rap. As the home secretary does her best to patrol our borders to keep out international students, who she regards as immigrants, so the GCSE syllabus is to be kept for the English for fear that Romanian novels might move in next door.”
The Morning Star also reported that children’s author Alan Gibbons has spoken out against the move:
“Michael Gove’s reported decision to remove much-loved and resonant novels such as To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men is both absurd and misguided.
“Imposing an anglocentric orthodoxy only reflective of middle-aged white men in suits is hugely depressing and retrograde.”
And also that a spokeswoman for GCSE examiner OCR said that Mr Gove “really dislikes” Of Mice and Men.
“In the new syllabus 70-80 per cent of the books are from the English cannon,” OCR said.
Charli Kimmis, a 13 year-old girl from Birmingham has published an open letter criticising Gove. She wrote:
“The government want us all to be more tolerant about other races, and then increases the fact that many children are not educated on other cultures.”