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I knew he was lying (why didn't they?) - The Ex-Communicator

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March 31st, 2012

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09:31 am - I knew he was lying (why didn't they?)
In January Michael Gove gave a speech saying that he would promote the use of technology in education. I blogged about it at the time (this is what I said). Although sceptical I tried to be open minded:
I don't think he's actually saying very much that is concrete... I don't want to jump in and project bad things onto the void at the centre of his speech... there might be proposals coming up which will fill the void. Honestly, it would be too easy for me to say 'I bet this is all a big con with nothing to back it up'.

However, of course it was a big con with nothing to back it up. This week Gove abolished the technology unit at the DfES. There is nobody in the British civil service with responsibility for technology in education. The members of the unit - all of whom I know personally - have been 'deployed' elsewhere. They, by the way, are the people who wrote Gove's speech in January.

In my post in January I was also sceptical about:
Computery people on the Guardian site saying 'Great, now all schools will teach Linux', or the author of The Geek Atlas writing 'We should look forward to a brighter future built by today's 11-year-olds ... it's time for a British computing renaissance.'
I am not sure whether it is a particular failing of technology experts, or people with specialist expertise in general, but I am constantly astonished by how stupid clever people can be about politics and human nature. They fail over and over again to see what is happening right in front of their faces. I guess those people who said Gove was all about the technology are experiencing - what? Are they thinking today 'oops I was wrong'? 'Where is my computing renaissance?'

Or is it that technical specialists think their economic interest is aligned with the rich, think they are the favoured prodigies, think they are innately more intelligent and capable, and actually don't give a monkeys about the mass of people, think the destruction of our education system is a price worth paying? And all this stuff about 'technology for all' is just a smokescreen for 'the proles can piss off and die'?
One insider commented: “We need to look at what the politicians are actually doing rather than simply respond to what they are saying. Right now they are the weakest link. Their real agenda has been to privatise England’s state schools and hand over responsibility to the private sector. That has, in effect, already been achieved – now they are already on to the National Health Service – and schools have to get used to that and work out the strategies that suit them best.”

ETA - Incidentally I have had a difficult year because I would not work for Gove. But I stand by that decision.

(1 comment | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
From:Steve Davies
Date:April 3rd, 2012 07:05 am (UTC)
I always felt that the Department taking people from our former place of work and forming the Technology Policy Unit was a "move" by officials trying to bolster their own position rather than anything coming from ministerial level. So I always felt it would be a temporary thing anyway.

I don't hold anything against Michael Gove - if I was in the same position I think I might have done the same. Having spent over a decade trying to centrally plan/dictate/whatever technology in education, I feel we became less and less effective as time went by. During my last year I was working on strategies that claimed that low-paid women workers (school secretaries, administrators) could be replaced by software. It was all couched in administration-speak, but that's what it meant. Having been on the inside of the machine for so long, I've become a lot more market-friendly. Market stupidity generally gets punished with bankruptcy - state stupidity just goes on and on.

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