How and Why Has State Education Been Divided Along Class Lines?

United Kingdom education has become more divided along class lines over the years. It has made it even more difficult for students within the lowest class to become successful in their academic endeavors. The paper purposes to uncover the complexities presented by evaluation of class issues within education by experts. The two main concerns the paper looks into are the thesis that inequalities present within the education system by the lower class individuals has become colonized by middle class learners for self-professional reasons, and that lower class individuals play a radically contradictory function when it comes to education.

The inequalities experienced within the education system by poor class people has been colonized by mid-class students for self-professional reasons (Lynch and O’Neill, 1994). The intrinsic characteristic of the scholastic context itself has significantly encouraged this colonization. Freedom from the weight and vitality of survival is needed for one to truly globalize their point of view in academic writing, as well as intellectual legitimacy; all these are usually lacking in lower class individuals. The lower class people also take up a structurally contradictory function in relation to education (Lynch and O’Neill, 1994). Conversely, social mobility mostly needs the lower class individuals to be adequately educated. Albeit, if low class people are to become successful in such an education system, it is necessary that they let go of particular aspects of their class background. It can be regarded as them stopping to be working class to some extent. In furtherance, the marginalized groups within education never the minority identity that defines them i.e., a handicapped person never stops to be handicapped after being educated. The failure to incorporate a low class view on educational inequalities results in the academic evaluation destitution. It is because the ambitions of expert scholars as opposed to low class individuals are the most dominant in the agenda (Lynch and O’Neill, 1994).

In The Crisis of the Meritocracy, the history of the emergence of mass secondary and higher education within Britain after the war is steered unveiled to be steered by student and parental demand. The politicians as well as the policy-makers throughout Britain’s political sector encouraged the expansion of education within the divergent political and social boundaries of the years after the war. Albeit they aimed to fit their ideas and structure that expansion to satisfy that that they perceived as the necessities of Britain. According to Mandler (the author), such attempts to shape secondary and higher education amidst their expansion were however unexpectedly unsuccessful (Mandler, 2020). In the reality of things, politicians and policy makers were however addressing parental and student wants to a greater extent than realized in the preceding scholarship. He tackles the story of the parental and students demands for education from the various perspectives, more so from the perspective of its origins and the way policy-makers and politicians responded to it.

A deeper conception of citizenship was at the center of the rising demand for higher and improved education. A practical factor was in place for this, as with time it came to be realized as highly crucial to the political, economic, and social welfare of the nation that individuals become better learned than in the previous years. However, a recognition of democratic social rights was there as well in terms of education that corresponded the more present rising perception of equal healthcare access as a citizenship right. In 1944, resentment grew even higher on the passing of the 11+; a system launched following the 1944 Education Act whereby children sat for their examination at 11. Grounded on exam outcomes, children were grouped into schools where curriculum was characterized by more freedom and academic or more restricted and professional. In furtherance, even individuals that were more for the idea that some extent of competition and differentiation should be put in place shifted to the notion that it was highly flawed to utilize an exam to determine the future of an individual as young as 11 years old. The ‘revolt of the mum’ that took place in the 1950s brought the fact that several parents held stronger sentiments regarding the issue. With time, the ideology began to be perceived as undemocratic since it brought about social inequalities which in turn resulted in unreliable assigned variations in academic performance to standardize. It was also not accepted by the public opinion, partly since local authorities were more for the public opinion and also since practical obstacles towards forming a divergent system of secondary schools in several regions of the nation. The change of the system from the 11+ system to more comprehensive education first started at the local level.

In the 1960s and proceedings, higher education became a more crucial area within talks regarding education expansion. In the initial years after the war, the expansion of higher education was steered by the crucial aspects of the ‘techno-state’ as opposed to the welfare state’s logic. The main aspiration was to foster economic development and encourage scientific innovations. It however changed with the Robbins Principle of 1963; a principle that stated that higher education degrees are to be accessible to everyone that are competent in terms of ability and attainment to seek them and would like to do so’ (Mandler, 2020, p.73). It is a principle that was drawn from the premise that a much greater desire for higher education existed than what was initially thought and that the number of individuals competent enough to take part in it is bound to grow fast; all of these premises manifested themselves as valid. The fundamental demand incorporated with a larger conception of citizenship assisted to develop higher education such as secondary schooling. It was a consumption as opposed to a leverage commodity; among the ‘decencies of life’ which are to be accessible by every citizen of Britain (Mandler, 2020, p.46). With time, more citizens enrolled into higher education and its nature changed. It ultimately led to state education becoming divided along class lines. What educators regarded as ‘a growing concern for people as opposed to things’ added to a greater amount of degrees within the fields of arts and social science regardless of the fact that policy-makers made attempts to advance the sciences (Mandler, 2020, p.162).

In agreement with Mandler, the narrative of the journey towards mass education was pretty disorganized many at times. The demographic pressure from the post-war baby war pushed the government to face the future of secondary education, followed by that of higher learning more rapidly and with a focus more towards what was more realistic. A recurrent sereneness from more so the right side of the political spectrums was witnessed concerning the expanding sense that education was regarded as a consumption commodity instead of an investment for posterity. More precisely, conservatives aimed towards reshaping the environment of higher education to enable it to satisfy what they regarded as what the nation really needs. They also sought to instill discipline into the education by applying the principles of the market to it. Policy makers had to grapple demographic variations, changing the conceptions of the importance of higher education, and altering the ages of leaving school. When it comes to meticulously addressing the transition into mass education, The Crisis of the Meritocracy is a significant contribution to the great works of education historians, especially those renowned to have steered past crucial actions and policies as key areas within the story of education, rather unveiling the history education is characterized with more in depth economic, social, cultural and political histories (Mandler, 2020).

According to the overall secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), Mary Bousted, parents within the middle-class opt not to enroll their kids into highly deprived schools; this leads to ‘schools for the dispossessed’ groups. Thus, an adverse impact on the students from the lower social class is generated, despite the fact that such learners typically require engagement with ambitious middle-class scholars to prosper in their academics. In the ATL’s annual conference based in Manchester back in 2012, Bousted went on to say, “We have schools for the elite, for the middle class and for the lower class.” “Quite a few schools are characterized by mixed enrollments whereby learners can be educated on the impalpable life skills of aspiration, perseverance, and effort from each other… the challenge within such schools of the dispossessed is the fact that they have learners who have no resilience,” (Shepherd, 2012) she went on to say.

In a widely unequal society, the individuals that would evade the long-term impacts of inequality are solemnly the smartest students. In agreement with Bousted, the blame for the rising social segregations within the education system is all on the coalition government. Ministers opt to “wash their hands” and evade every cause of the failures with the education system by which they have more autonomy over than any other individual,” (Shepherd, 2012) Bousted said. Solemnly the school is responsible for the lower class’s academic performance. In essence, if the lower class does not show as much educational progress as the elites, the school and educators are at fault… this is flawed and provides leeway for ministers to avoid responsibility for their policies impacts.

Coalition cuts to education affected educators adversely; teachers doing all they can to battle the impacts of poverty within their students. In October 2012, a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies showed the coalition was performing the greatest cut to education expenditure since 1950s. According to its researchers, public expenditure on United Kingdom education would incur a 14.4% drop between 2010 to 2011 and 2014 to 2015 (Shepherd, 2012). In furtherance, the cutting assist for learners with special needs, doing away with the education management funds and withholding allowances for school meals is bound to lead in “obliteration which will stick with our society for ages. According to Bousted, this coalition government’s filthy little secret, and it is basically what the government have done so as to ensure the lives of  poor learners, oppressed and vulnerable via their poor state, is even more difficult.

Students within the lowest class are prone not to get any assistance through more grammar school areas creation; such pupils were found to be highly unlikely to attend such schools compared to their middle class pupils and elite counterparts. In November 2012, the Conservative-managed Kent county council casted a vote to permit the development of two satellite grammar learning institutions connected to pre-existing schools within the county; the first grammar school extension within over fifty years. It was a vote that was arrived at to address a petition signed by over two thousand parents demanding for grammar schools to be made within Sevenoaks. Today, over a thousand pupils commute from the place to grammar school places situated within neighboring towns.

State education been divided along class lines not only in the UK, but in several other countries around the globe including India. The education sector is nothing short of uneven and fragmented (Tukdeo, 2015). The unevenness is evident from some scenarios that took place in the country within the previous two decades; first, India’s elementary education got international institutional loaning and started to be restructured following this. Second, centralized educational strategizing proceeded accompanied by the launch of a more decentralized delivery method. Third, NGOs grew into key players across different areas of education such as assessment, and finally, IT developments made higher education to become recognized as the main area of intercession and improvements. It asserts how education policy can lead to a divide along class lines within state education. These policy changes in the country India happened along grossly unequal territories, once more than often, side-stepping the routes followed within the initial years of independence (Tukdeo, 2015). Consequentially, the education policy over the previous six decades displays gaps, differentiated goals and several contradictions.