Monday, April 25, 2005

Social mobility and education

The Sutton Trust head, Sir Peter Lampl, spoke this morning on Radio FiveLive about the hidden ways in which middle-class and wealthy parents subvert the comprehensive education system. Social inequality is more rife than ever and education is not addressing this. "We have never had a truly comprehensive system." How true. Am I too radical for thinking that abolition of fee-paying schools would be a good step in the right direction? That encouraging non-selection would be positive? That fundamental changes have to be wrought to address how and why access to education: the means of understanding and then challenging the social system?

Am I alone?


Fantastic. Now what can we do?

NB this post would make more sense if I could give some good links to appropriate sources of like-minded leftiness and commentary. However, my server seems recently disinclined to a number of these blogs and contacts... something suspicious or just the usual IT 'difficulties'?


David Duff said...

Dare I ask what education has to do with solving the 'ills' of social inequality, assuming that is, that there are any ill in social inequality?

Am I alone?

You betcha!

Reidski said...

Duff and nonsense, indeed!

We have a school, two minutes walk from chez Reidski, which is select but not fee-paying. Nevertheless, said school has middle class folks with kids moving into area, thus not only gentrifying the area with its associated huge increases in housing costs but also decreasing the chances of local kids getting into this massively subsidised school.
Living so close to this school for around 18 years, I have decided: thank fuck my little boy has got into the comprehensive school another 10 minutes down the road and doesn't have to put up with this bourgeouis nonsense.

The education system we have today is one of the biggest obstacles we to achieving an equal, fair and progressive society.

Education, like every other sphere in society, has a part to play in solving the ills of society.

Although, in saying that, it is economics which will ultimately determine such issues.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Wow: did I just stir a debate? (Sorry, am still dumbstruck anyone would read my thoughts).

Seriously though, I truly do believe that education can have a radical impact (or should that be that radical education can have an impact? Discuss.) I would hope I do or else what have I been doing in this sector all these years. Education can have a transformative effect: alerting people to disputes and realities beyond the usual scope of their experiences. Whilst alone it cannot change society - Rediski is right to identify economic change at the root of challenging social ills - I do believe that education can provide voices with means to understand and challenge, and ultimately change the economic structures.

The problem is that the education SYSTEM is currently a key means by which the economic system is supported and promoted: accepted as appropriate to our society. We have largely lost sight of what education can do: focusing totally on its 'means to an end' purpose for training rather than stimulating thought, enquiry, awareness and debate.