The Corner

Bardicide

Across the pond in Airstrip One, yet another effort is underway to clip the wings of the Swan of Avon. Quote: “Shakespeare will be ditched from secondary school tests under plans being considered by ministers, it emerged yesterday.” Here is a particularly stomach-turning passage:

The Department for Children said pupils would still have to study two Shakespeare plays at secondary school. “The teacher-assessed tasks that will be trialled from September will provide assessable written outcomes, with the option to supplement this with oral evidence,” he said. “The tasks are still under development and their future has not been decided. “We are simply exploring new, innovative and exciting ways of teaching and assessing Shakespeare.”

Leaving aside the matter that any nation whose government includes a Department for Children is doomed beyond redemption and ought to be put out of its misery with barrages of thermonuclear missiles, just look at the density of jargon there. “Teacher-assessed tasks … trialled … assessable written outcomes … oral evidence … new, innovative, and exciting …” Who, reading this flatulent gibberish, could be left with any shadow of doubt that the people who produced it are up to no good?

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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