Archive for March 25th, 2013

Marxist bias?

Monday, March 25th, 2013

History, Marx argued repeats itself, ‘first as tragedy, then as farce’. At the OU there has been a rerun of the Marxist bias stories. In the 1980s it was Conservative Ministers who claimed to have found Marxists at the OU. Today it is Education Secretary Michael Gove. One hundred academics, including one associated with the OU,  signed an open letter to Gove.  The authors suggested that Mr Gove’s ideas could ‘severely erode educational standards’.  The Minister responded by categorising them as Marxists. He also suggested that those who stress the importance of communities of practice, a concept which is popular within the OU, were Marxist. He suggested a new way of categorising academics, explaining, ‘There is good academia and bad academia’.  

Mr Gove went on to propose that there is a wider left-wing conspiracy. Although the OU has not been mentioned specifically it seems that there is a group of people who ‘in and around our universities who praised each other’s research, sat on committees that drafted politically correct curricula, drew gifted young teachers away from their vocation and instead directed them towards ideologically driven theory … [The Group] operate by stealth, using its influence to control the quangos and committees which shaped policy.’ David Cameron has proposed that state education and its teachers are a “left-wing establishment’. It is not clear that such categorisations support the improvement of understandings and knowledge.