Shots Fired: British Official Axes American Books From Exam Syllabus

Michael Gove, Britain's conservative Education Secretary, appears to be a bit ruffled by the quality of American literature: in a move encouraged by Gove, two works of American fiction have been removed from the national GCSE exam syllabus entirely.

According to the Sunday Times, Gove would prefer that the UK's students focus on great works by British authors instead. The books to get the ax? Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

"Of Mice and Men, which Michael Gove really dislikes, will not be included. It was studied by 90% of teenagers taking English literature GCSE in the past," said OCR, one of Britain's biggest exam boards. "Michael Gove said that was a really disappointing statistic."

The decision has already been met with criticism from educators around the country, but the Department of Education stands by their choice. As was reported in the Independent:

"It doesn't ban any authors, books or genres. It does ensure pupils will learn about a wide range of literature, including at least one Shakespeare play, a 19th century novel written anywhere and post-1914 fiction or drama written in the British Isles.

The General Certificate of Secondary Education is a multi-subject exam that students take in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland during their 14-16 years that could have an effect on their entrance to university.

The new exam syllabus, according to the OCR, is between 70 and 80 percent books from the English canon.

[Image via AP]