Ban private schools?
Let’s get started on examining the case for banning private schools. I was guilty of a little hyperbole, perhaps, when I set the question up. Let’s look at some figures.
The percentage of children that are privately educated in the U.K. is just 7%. Yet this small minority dominate, or have a strong grip on, many of the traditionally high-status professions.
70% of barristers in top chambers were privately educated (only 5% went to state comprehensives). More than three quarters of judges were privately educated.
More than half the UK’s leading journalists were privately educated, a percentage that has risen over the last two decades. Only 10% went to state comprehensives (the rest went to grammar schools).
A third of MPs were privately educated.
A third of the leaders of the top 100 FTSE companies were privately educated.
I’ll briefly respond to some of your initial comments. Barefoot bum: you favour total privatization because you don’t trust the state to provide anything other than second-rate uniformity.
OK then privatize all schools, and indeed, introduce a voucher system. But with NO TOP UPS. That way, we get all the variety and choice we might want, and healthy competition between schools too, if that is what you favour.
But with no top ups, all children now have an equal chance of success. The system no longer heavily favours the children of a small minority.
Curiosis suggests I must also favour banning cake because not everyone can afford it. Obviously I don’t. Look, by all means allow those who have worked hard and achieved wealth, etc. through their own abilities to enjoy the rewards. Including cake.
But children who simply have their advantage bought for them have not earned that privilege.
And that privilege is at the expense of other children who may have more native wit and drive, but, because they attended a crappy comprehensive, never got the chance to thrive.
The current system, I shall argue, results in the top professions being dominated by a bunch of second-rate hooray Henries. That is not fair or just. Nor is it good for the economy. For the real talent rarely gets to work the levers of power. Those levers are worked by the second-raters whom Mummy and Daddy bought a ticket to the front of the queue.
Nor will state schools get any better while it is in the interests of all those privately educated MPs and journalists – who are busy privately educating their own children – that they not get better. For it is in their interest that state schools remain second-rate, indeed, that state schools not provide anything more than the bare educational minimum that the lower orders require for the economy to remain healthy.
If you really want good education for all, force the children of those in power to attend the same schools as the rest of us. I guarantee they’ll be better overnight!
So, I have come up with some reasons why banning private schools might be a good idea. And I have, I think, dealt with all the objections you have raised so far.
But I am sure you’ll have more!