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To Kill a Michael Gove

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There are many reasons why I would like to have Michael Gove’s face on a punch bag in my room. The general all-encompassing one is that I feel it may spark a hitherto unsuspected boxing career. In an ideal world, having finessed my talent, I would have a go at the man himself but I fear this might just add another piece to the teenage stereotype. It would be typical of a teenager. Typical of a teenager’s mentality to get violet, to have no plan, no thought for the future, just punch blind first chance she saw.
No, I don’t want to add another burden to the pile of lies that form the image of ‘teenager’ especially not when we are already condemned to the encumbering curriculum Gove has laid out for us.
It frustrates me that languages exams test memory not knowledge and teach you to bleat and regurgitate like the simple-minded sheep society seems to think we are.
It frustrates me that my curriculum is so constricted and is about jumping through hoops and ticking boxes instead of learning – yes, shock horror, a teenager who wants to learn!
However, what frustrates me the most is Gove’s downright ridiculous new policy on English literature.
Aged 15, I have just one week ago today, taken my English Literature GCSE on ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee, a novel that my humble opinion would deem as exceptional. Sadly the future years will not have the privilege of studying ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ as it is, alongside ‘The Crucible’, ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘Things Fall Apart’ (admittedly I studied that one aged 13 not for GCSE), being removed from the curriculum.
They are foreigners in a curriculum which must be fully British. They are replaced because of Gove’s personal dislike of ‘Of Mice and Men’ and therefore of all non-British literature.
Now I cannot possibly universalise my rage on this decision, I cannot possibly claim that every GCSE student would adore the novels that my year group have been entitled to but I know that I speak for a fair few when I say that to prevent the general teaching of a novel based on the nationality of its author is utter bullshit.
A novel does not lose worth by failing to be bourn from this country’s culture, if anything it gains educational worth; giving us a historical and cultural context for places beyond those we see in our everyday lives.
Surely, Mr Gove, you are playing Bob Ewell here; somehow afraid of giving us access to some written masterpieces because of their nationality and culture. You are condemning Tom Robinson on a highly prejudiced face value and, quite frankly, I’d hope for better from the man responsible for what we learn. You are putting the evidence of this crime away from you – you are putting Tom Robinson away from you.
And it may be a sin to kill Michael Gove but I certainly wouldn’t mind taking aim at some of his policies.

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ramfthomas4This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 3, 2014 at 4:18 pm
This is awful! Not your writing, your writing is great, but Michael Gove... must have had a really really insanely bad experience in school involving a "foreign" writer.  I don't even think a book can be "foreign".  The best books are universal.  You should start a petition.  You could start it here, in fact.  I'm sure there are lots of British teens on the TeenInk forums who would stand behind you. 
Z.V.Oksana said...
Jun. 13, 2014 at 4:55 pm
To remove "To Kill A Mockingbird", "The Crucible", and "Of Mice and Men" would be an absolutely horrid idea! Those are some of the best pieces of fiction of all time! I love those books, and it was the classroom that introduced me to them. Even though I do not know Michael Gove, I can tell that he does not know what he's doing. Learning is not a black and white process, it's vibrant, invigorating, NOT mechanical. He, one man, shouldn't be able to dictate... (more »)
mereCatThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 14, 2014 at 2:36 am
Thanks, I was pretty outraged by his decisions and the fact that his decisions have so much power. Our shcool is all about learning to pass exams rather than atually learning - it drives me insane! Thanks again for all your lovely comments (:
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