Updated: Apr 30, 2019
A Modern Educationalist writes:
Anyone sceptical about progress in children's education as well as those who simply think that children were better skilled and informed in times gone by would be well advised to take a look at the latest revision of the Ladybone classic "Some Great Men and Women" which has now reached its 23rd impression. He, she, they, ve or xe should then compare it to the 1950s version with its suffocatingly clear sense of values, standards and grammar, before proceeding to marvel at the extraordinary gulf in sophistication which separates that tiresomely straightforward, sexist, homophobic and relentlessly didactic exposition from the right-on, on-message, relativistic, non-judgemental and ethnic/gender-balanced view ambiguously expressed in the new version.
University of Afpuddle Child Psychologist Katya Childe-Early who has advised on the revision believes that the seismic changes in attitudes towards so many social issues - which have been the hallmark of the last few decades - have left both adults and children in a quandary as to what constitutes good parenting: "I believe that the seismic changes in attitudes towards so many social issues - which have been the hallmark of the last few decades - have left both adults and children in a quandary as to what constitutes good parenting", she says, "there is even real doubt as to what "good" actually means in the context of parenting and whether parenting of any description is now a legitimate aspiration in an atomistic world where authority is questionable and difference is paramount." "For these and other reasons, a book which amplifies that uncertainty, undermines the status quo, further blurs the ambiguities and fluidities of all categorisations and says to children barely able to think for themselves: yes it's alright to disrespect all conventions as long as you learn to toe our well-founded and socially progressive line, is just what is required. This book challenges conventional wisdom about status, the value of learning and the crypto-nazism of history. It confronts notions of "greatness", encourages non-binary choices and forces no fixed ideology on young minds save that required by the current politically-correct doctrinaire socio-political agenda. In every other respect it's completely value-free"*
* this is not related to and should not be confused with open-mindedness or the search for "truth" - both of which were shown to be [a] impossible [b] colonialist [c] a capitalist conspiracy and [d] anti-democratic in the 22nd impression of the book.
In the latest version, the generally accepted tropes of lazy and unreconstructed historical "fact" [eg that Admiral Nelson was not a fascist imperialist, that Churchill was not a misogynistic carcinogenic warmonger, that Pasteur was not vile genetic modifier and eugenicist and that Florence Nightingale was not a pathetic male-pampering jingoistic bedmaker] are properly eschewed. They are replaced by more recognisable, diverse, relevant and accessible substitutes, for example: Béyonce, Nelson Mandela, Jay-Z and Diane Abbott. All four are, Ms Childe-Erly insists "indisputably great people in their own right and perfect role models for the next generation".
Speaking for the Threadbone Press, Ladybone Pedagogy of Social Studies [previously known as Key Words Easy Reader] Series editor Ed Ukashun said that everyone involved had realised it was time for a change. "Though the revisions will not be everyone's cup of herbal infusion, we believe that we have got it about right: we have listened carefully to Dorset Social Services Equal Outcomes Division's public information czar and bowed to his/her/their/vis/xyr progressive agenda. As we understand it, the new version of "Some Great Women [and Men] and Others" passes the acid test: ie it qualifies for council funding and will be compulsory in all schools".