Gove's claims of teenagers' ignorance harpooned by retired teacher

James Ball, http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/blog/, May 13, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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This is the sort of thing we face in education. The British education secretary, Michael Gove, said in a Mail on Sunday article in March: "Survey after survey has revealed disturbing historical ignorance, with one teenager in five believing Winston Churchill was a fictional character while 58% think Sherlock Holmes was real." It turns out that the source he used was PR-commissioned opinion polls originating from Premier Inn and UKTV Gold press releases. His fallacious claim was exposed by Janet Downs, who filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain the information. The problem isn't so much that Michael Gove said a silly thing, it's that this is the sort of data relied upon by authorities and managers in general to make education policy.

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