Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Social Mobility

Meaders at Dead Men Left is puzzled at the decline of social mobility since the grammar schools, traditionally the route upwards for bright working class children, were abolished 30 years back.

"What's quite startling about the decline in social mobility in recent years is that it appears to be linked to the expansion of higher education. Expanding access to universities without whilst substantially worsening the financial barriers to entry - as has happened in Britain, at an accelerating pace, since the early 1990s - simply allocates more university places to the children of the rich."

Of course - nothing to do with grammar schools - it must be those evil tuition fees, which have only existed for the last few years anyway. Not enough time for their effects to feed through. Meaders seems an intelligent chap - he just doesn't want to look in that direction.

There's an interesting thesis to be written on when the Left started to be afraid of competition outside of the economic sphere. A hundred years ago, under the spell of Darwinism, competition and the survival of the fittest was quite an acceptable doctrine. After all, would not the virile working class inevitably come to overtake the effete capitalists, the tired sons of a long line of rich men ? Would working class children not show that they were just as bright as the wealthy ?

"Brothers ! Is not one man as good as another ?"

"Aye ! And a devilish bit better, too !"

Nowadays failure at 11-plus will apparently scar a child for life. Hence the millions of wrecked individuals who make Kent and Buckinghamshire (to name two of the counties who have maintained grammar schools) no go areas for the rest of us.

The strange thing is that while children at school are protected from competition, in the outside culture winning is everything, far more so than it was 50 years ago. A killer feature of reality shows is when someone gets chopped, whether by Simon Cowell, Alan Sugar or the Big Brother voters. The VIP zone in nightclubs is an accepted fixture. In some ways we're going back 150 years, and the phrase 'do you know who I am ?' is being heard again, whether from a drunken head of the Commission For Racial Equality, or a drunken footballer in a nightclub.

Snafu at Not Proud Of Britain reckons trashing education is called retaining the core vote.

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