Ban private schools?
Some of you think my concern is with elites. It’s assumed I am anti-elite. Actually, I’m not.
Some of you think I want to ensure no one is educated above a certain threshold. Not so.
It is the kind of elite we have that concerns me at the moment. Many today (e.g. Tony Blair) believe we should have a “meritocracy”, with those who are most talented, work hardest, etc. rising to the top, rather than, say, those born into the aristocracy, or those who can buy the most influence.
A meritocracy involves an elite too, of course. Notice I’m not objecting to a meritocracy .
The problem is, private schools are one of the key mechanisms by which a small minority – the upper middle class – are able to pass wealth, power and privilege down from one generation to the next, forcing more able and talented children into more menial work while their own dear little second-raters get to cash-in.
While private schools continue so dramatically to distort the way native wit and talent is wedded up to reward, power and influence in this country, it is difficult to see how we can have anything approaching a “meritocracy”, if that is what we desire.
(though of course it depends in part on exactly what we mean by a “meritocracy”.)
There is one very obvious objection to what I have been suggesting that no one has dared mention yet. Who’ll be brave enough to say it?!