Sunday, 18 October 2015

The Left Hate Grammar Schools Because They Don't Want You To Become Middle Class


I was pleased to read that the first grammar school in 50 years is to be approved (well, it's actually an annexe, as grammar schools are banned by law). Education secretary Nicky Morgan is one of the less bright cabinet members (by a long way), but this is a good move, and let's hope many more grammar schools appear in the future. While they are not perfect, they can provide a good environment for bright children to do well in ways that the too often poor standards of education in comprehensives currently cannot. While this country rightly works hard to help children with less scholastic potential, one gets the sense that some of this ethos comes at the expense of bright children, and this is where grammar schools come into their own.  

By the way, in case you hadn't thought to ask, banning them is disgraceful you know - it is rather like banning Shakespeare and Herodotus because too many people are only at the reading level of Nick Hornby and Audrey Niffenegger; or banning expensive cars because some people can only afford cheap ones. The cult of fabricated equality is the one of the most socially noxious things humans have ever invented.

This surely ought to be obvious to most, but the 1960s Labour comprehensive school experiment clearly hasn't worked, but it's the reason why it hasn't worked that doesn't get enough attention. Labour's comprehensive school experiment was underpinned by the woolly idea that a mixture of bright and less-bright children would be good for lifting up the bright children to a higher potential. Doubtless there are plenty of cases where that does happen: I'm sure most of us can recall enjoying positive influences from other bright children at school.

But at a wider level, our evolutionary legacy of being rank ordering primates put paid to the general efficacy of 50 years of comprehensive school aspirations, because the main driving force of the majority of human beings, even at a young age, and admittedly often subliminally, is to get ahead of their peers. Status and relative achievement are big preoccupations with humans, and that very likely produces more stratification between pupils within the same comprehensive schools than the stratification between grammar school and comprehensive school pupils.

I know you will have read that diverse schools perform best, and it's true that diversity of ethnicity, culture and religion confers significant benefits on groups, but our rank ordering proclivities see to it that ability is a highly self-serving and egocentric thing, and social mobility is likely to be better when, alongside providing big help for kids with lower ability, bright kids are given the best chances to fulfil their potential.

It has long become clear to me that the majority of people on the economic left are not that interested in facts and truths, they are largely only interested in what they want to believe and in sustaining the pride of the tribalistic 'in-group' mentality.

The reality is, the spurious Marxist proletariat vs. the bourgeoisie stratification has never gone away - the working classes (the proletariat) are still seen as the labourers under the thrall of the capitalist pigs that own the means of production (the bourgeoisie - the social class that holds economic supremacy, supposedly riding roughshod over the working classes).

That was why the perceptions about grammar schools being elitist and favouring middle class children were propagated, when of course the opposite was true - the grammar school environment was precisely the place where bright disadvantaged pupils could stand a better chance of reaching their potential.

But that was exactly what the working classes didn't want - for the same reason they are always banging on about the evils of capitalism - their in-group anti-bourgeoisie tribalism could not bear to think of working class kids actually doing well and joining the group (the wealth creators) to which they were so fervently opposed. It's rather like when a talented footballer leaves the local club you support (say, Tottenham) and joins a rival club (like Arsenal) with better prospects - the Tottenham supporters are never glad for the player that he's going to fulfil his potential, earn more money and win more trophies - they are full of vitriol and resentment that he's left their group and joined the rivals.

The working class attitude is too often like that of Tottenham supporters, and it's pretty evident that it has played a significant part in their egalitarian dislike of grammar schools, because ultimately when tribalism rules your discourse you care more about people not betraying their proletariat routes than you do their successful journey into the bourgeoisie.

The anti-grammar school ideologues demand that they want diversity fully represented in the comprehensive system. How ironic that a nation that can generate terrific diversity with a full menu of schools - grammar schools, state comprehensive schools, private schools, public schools, academies, free schools, and special schools - is something that causes the left to scoff. Deep down I fear we know why; they never really wanted the kind of diversity whereby those at the bottom had the best chance of climbing up the social ladder - they only want the kind of class warfare where people stay loyal to their roots and remain on side in the enduring 'Them vs. Us' battle of wills.
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