Friday, 25 May 2012

The Guardian publishes my letter on why beneficiaries of privilege will not bring about social mobility

This letter can be viewed online in The Guardian.


Our political elites find the issue of social mobility to be both irresistible and intractable (Suzanne Moore, G2, 24 May). Irresistible because even rightwing politicians cannot ignore the fact that our unfair education system, through which parental wealth has a far more significant impact on life chances than ability, is neither fair nor meritocratic, and ensures that structures of power remain ossified throughout society. And intractable because in order to significantly increase social mobility, educational opportunities for less well-off children must be significantly boosted, which will necessarily lead to a diminution of the access presently enjoyed by privately educated children to the best universities and careers.

Michael Gove's speech on the "morally indefensible" dominance by privately educated people in British society, and Nick Clegg's 17 annual "trackers", are nothing more than fig leaves to cover the government's growing embarrassment at the huge chasm between the status quo of private school dominance and the equality of opportunity which any intelligent person must conclude is essential for a country like ours to be able to describe itself as "great".

I doubt this government of privately educated millionaires is up to the task.

John Slinger
Chair, Pragmatic Radicalism


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