Monday, January 12, 2009

Finger pointing

Having spent decades on wrecking the one thing that provided social mobility to working class families - grammar schools - it's a bit of a cheek that the government is now to launch an investigation into why children from the lower classes are finding it harder to break into the "professions"?

Gordon Brown was accused of waging war on the middle classes after he put one of his fiercest critics in charge of an inquiry into social mobility.

As usual, the press make a big deal out of Brown bringing in a "critic" to his inner circle - haven't they heard the expression "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? - and they seem to have overlooked the fact that there isn't a middle class as such anymore. What used to be the middle class is now the working class - i.e. the ones working in the private sector to finance the state.

Social mobility was always a problem until the grammar school system was opened up. That is when social mobility really soared. For the first (and only) time, bright children from less well off backgrounds could gain access to the high quality academic education needed to develop their knowledge as a matter of course.

With grammar schools in pretty much every town, it didn't matter where you lived, what your parents did or how much money you had - if you had the intelligence you were in. After that it was up to you what you did with the opportunity. That was the key back then - equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome.

There was a problem with the secondary modern schools for those who didn't qualify for grammar (but not half as bad as some make out), but instead of addressing those issues with secondary moderns the socialists destroyed the functioning part of education in a grotesque display of spite and bigotry.

In doing so, they ended social mobility at a stroke - entrenching generations of children into the same social order they were born into. Getting access for your child to a high quality education is now dependent on where you live, what your parents do and how much money they have to spend and this is the direct result of destroying the grammar school system.

The government doesn't need an investigation into why this happened - they just have to look at themselves and see how many of they and their fellow MPs came through the grammar school system they destroyed. These people would do well to remember the old adage that those who point fingers have three more pointing back at them.

Incidentally, the Mail article adds that the government is to "examine the informal networks used by the better-off to secure work experience and unpaid internships for their children". Why? This has always been the case for ALL parents. My father - a factory worker - used his contacts to get me various summer jobs in factories (usually paid to be fair). It was largely thanks to this that I decided that there was no way I was going to work in a factory!

I also have a cousin who, having developed good basic building skills at the local secondary modern, was able to get various summer jobs working for local builders through his fathers contacts (his father was a dentist). That cousin is now a respected property developer and lives in a five bed mansion with over an acre of land in Dorset!


Old Greeny said...

Too true, Stan. I was born into a "typical" working class family in the early 50's. We lived, eventually, on a Council estate in "Sarf Lunnen". I passed my 11 plus and went to grammar school, anmd, although I wouldn't say I never looked back, I am reasonably well off now, and have never been unemployed. As it happens, I am a teacher, and although there are some poor state schools, where I teach (a rural school) is pretty good and gets good results. Of course, the parents of the kids are very supportive......Could this be a factor in our success, and that of grammar schools?

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