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The Revolution Will Not Be Metricised

Gil Scott Heron, writer of The Revolution Will Not be Televised, spoke of the inability of mainstream media to bring what is in the hearts of the people to the world. His poem, written in the 1970s, was meant as both a call to arms as well as a recognition that there is an alternative out there, an alternative we have to go out and find. 

The alternative will not be brought to us as we sit passively watching TV (or trawling Twitter). The revolution may not be televised but, in our digital world of social media, it often feels like we can bring the revolution to the masses. The reality is, the more diluted the voices become, the more need we have for real revolutionaries to stand up and be counted. We need people to see through political agendas, see past pointless debates between anonymous bloggers in their pyjamas, made powerful by an avatar; we need to begin planning for the future of our children’s education.

Inspired by his work, this satirical transformation tells us, just as we should not sit passively by our TV sets, nor should we allow the increasing popularity of box ticking, target setting and spreadsheet analysis remove the real purpose of education. Increasingly, educational professionals suffer from the constant and intense pressure created by a target driven culture. Education happens in a classroom and much of the magic cannot be measured. The revolution will remain alive and we will never allow that magic to die.

Revolutionaries may have differences in opinion. They may fight the skills vs knowledge debate with each other aside from the main issues at hand. Their classrooms will differ, their teaching practice will be distinct from each other. We are reminded in the final stanza of this poem that the revolution is “human” and “alive.” Teachers are human and alive. Students are human and alive and are the citizens of tomorrow. Revolutionaries are fighting for a future where the humanity of education is recognised, where education is distinct from politics and as such, it can never be metricised.

The Revolut!on Will Not be Metricised

You will not be able to measure revolution.

You will not be able to input, analyse or use to throw old out.

You will not be able to lose your reality in XL spreadsheets,

Colour coded green, amber, red using pointless, made up post code targets

Because the revolution will not be metricised.

The revolution will not be metricised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by Office applications

Neatly named in files, analysed anally for .4 effect size.

The revolution will not hold up irrelevant images – ‘good’ and/

Or ‘outstanding’ perfectly packaged teaching practice; not a nation of

Robots led by future Goves – among others – to create neat tick boxes,

Seeking no man’s real approval

For imagined

Political purpose.

Because the revolution will not be metricised.

The revolution will not be brought to you by Ofsted Awarded Schools

Filled with hosts of young Teachers surviving on anti-d, gin and a prayer.

The revolution will not use ladders impassable, impossible.

The revolution will not promise cures for non-outstanding behaviour

Will not make you work harder, nor provide heavy new endless paper piles

Because the revolution will not be metricised!

There’ll be no analysis of your average schools – how they cheat their dead weight

The last mile on the exam run – sticking plaster successes can’t apply

No triangulation of responsibility for a hopeless hour,

Will not be able predict the revolutionary future wins,

Nor report on or learn from unrealistic surprising successes.

Because the revolution will not be metricised!

There will be no call for SLT shooting down MPS in the wake

Of an Ofsted attack.

There will be no accusation of poor practice or “less than outstanding”

Teachers run out on the word of a grid (yet another new criteria).

We will provide no spreadsheet or success grid to push on Mr X’s Climb,

Up the greasy pole; the grey, grey and grey three piece suit that he had there saved

For just the proper occasion – the revolution is not the time friend.

The revolution will forever remain human.

The revolution is not a spreadsheet but alive.

The revolution will happen to you by chance.

The revolut!on WILL NOT be metricised! [ITL]

Lisa Jane Ashes is a teacher, award-wining blogger and author of Manglish, a whole-school approach to literacy and numeracy.

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