Not content with previous wheezes, such as scrapping regulations that prevented teachers from searching pupils of the opposite sex without a witness present (there's no way that could possibly go wrong, could it?), or wasting money in sending every school in the country an additional bible (despite the fact that nearly every school has several dozen bibles already), Gove has managed to outdo himself with an idiotic proposal to completely destroy the education system in England and to ruin the futures of thousands of children by determining their futures with a single exam at age 14 and dividing them permanently into winners and losers for the rest of their education by bringing back O levels and CSEs.
You see, Gove seems to think that the solution to everything is to turn the clock back to his rose-tinted view of the '50s as the pinacle of education. Back when men were men, when children learned poetry by rote and when the peasants knew their place.
Every single policy he comes up with seems based around the idea that we need to disregard every advance in educational theory and teaching methods since his childhood and to go back to the same system that he was educated in on the basis that it worked for him and therefore must obviously work for everyone else.
But, as people like my father, who went to school in the '50s, can tell you, the system that existed back then was not good for most children. The education was shallow and the system quite cheerfully separated children (in theory on talent, in practice on class) into factory fodder and the elite. And it completely failed hundreds of thousands of children who ended up leaving school without any qualifications whatsoever.
Not that that matters to Gove. The reality of how GCSEs actually work, evidence about which teaching methods and which types of exams are most effective matters to him at all. He's convinced, with the typical tory mixture of arrogance and ignorance, that he knows better than the entire teaching profession.
All I can say is thank goodness that we've got Lib Dems in government to kill this off before it can get any further. Because it's quite obvious that Gove probably had the story leaked deliberately and was convinced that the popularity of the magic word "O levels"would make the plans so popular that he could bounce Lib Dems into accepting the plans before anyone could do anything about it.
Fortunately, that plan has backfired:
Mr Clegg said the education secretary's announcement was "self-evidently not policy that has been discussed or agreed within the coalition".
...It's very good to see Clegg show some backbone on this - if only he could also get Gove sacked and replaced with marginally competent then I'd be very happy indeed.
"I am not in favour of anything that would lead to a two-tier system where children at quite a young age are somehow cast on a scrap heap."
Of course, the truly scary thing is not the existence of a tory this idiotic, they're rather common after all, but rather that he's seriously considered a front runner to be the next tory leader. Which speaks absolute volumes about the state of the tory party when the best approximation to statesmen they can find are Michael Gove and Boris Johnson.