I wrote an article for the Daily Sceptic earlier this year in which I outlined some of the problems I have observed first-hand as a teacher in secondary education. You might call this, as the woke brigade would, my ‘lived experience’. That article described various problems with the content of teaching resources, notably in PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education for those readers who may be less familiar with education jargon) and assemblies. The conclusion was generally upbeat as it recognised there is a growing number of young people who can see through the woke propaganda being pushed in schools. But the article did not necessarily address the issue of how and why this ideological drive is occurring, why teachers are promoting such ideas and where all this nonsense comes from. This article argues the problems in schools have much deeper roots than what we see on the surface when activist teachers indulge their ideological fantasies. It argues the problems we see in the classroom are the product of an ideologically charged teacher training system rooted in neo-Marxist theory and a flawed legal and policy framework which ultimately facilitates the proliferation of woke ideology. Often these concepts are conveyed quite militantly too. It posits these issues contribute to an education system which not only fails students and staff, but also undermines democratic values and free thinking in Western society.
It is certainly obvious that some educational materials are blatant Left-wing propaganda. Teaching materials which basically promote gender ideology, Critical Race Theory (CRT), Leftist concepts about ‘power’ (however that is defined) and anthropogenic climate change (or rather ‘climate crisis’ as we’re now told) find their ways into the classroom routinely. But there is also a far more insidious problem underpinning education in British schools. And that problem is to be found within pedagogical practice, which itself is drawn from flawed teacher training, education policy and law. For the Left-wing activist, overt propaganda on its own is not enough as it runs the risk of alienating those whom it is directed at. Instead, the actual pedagogy, or teaching method, is targeted and reformed to maximise the impact and efficiency of delivering woke political literacy.
Materials used for teacher training courses promote Leftist pet projects through their embrace of critical theory. One of the standard texts in my own training recognised how history could be a “vehicle for the delivery of generic curriculum aims”. And indeed it is, though that by itself is not necessarily the problem. Rather, the issue is what those “generic curriculum aims” are defined as. If those aims are defined through an objective lens and are designed to positively impact on academic progress, then that is not a problem. But if those aims are drawn from politically charged initiatives, then that is a significant problem. Sadly, it is often the case that those aims are inherently political. The text I alluded to a few lines ago anticipated how climate change would become “a central feature of the school curriculum”. How right the authors were, especially in the case of the school I teach at where the major drive for this last academic year was apparently ‘sustainability’. Not quite the priority one perhaps ought to expect from a school, but we are living in some decidedly strange times.
In another core text used for teacher training, the authors assert (italics in original) “it is inadequate simply to ensure that formal equality of opportunity is provided” on the grounds that it “does little to break down equality of access and uptake” and facilitates “reproduction of inequality”. Evidently laying their ideological cards out, the authors push for “equality of outcome“. Furthermore, they state:
Equal opportunities has a clear political agenda that promotes empowerment in individuals, groups, cultures and society at large, that reduces illegitimate differentials of power, and that breaks down illegitimate discriminatory practices in society.