At the end of March, a somewhat troubling article was published in the Independent. Its content, focussing at the clear educational inequality determined by a young person’s socio-economic background, was not foreign territory. However, it highlighted another troubling element to the mix.
Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, speaking at a conference on Social Mobility, drew light on how a child’s familial wealth starts to affect their later life from a very young age.
She highlighted that “Children from high-income backgrounds who show signs of low academic ability at age five are 35 per cent more likely to become high earners than their poorer peers who show early signs of high ability,”. Ms Greening also demonstrated how this injustice remains with the young person throughout their life and that “Graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds who do make it to the top jobs still earn, on average, over £2,200 a year less than their colleagues who happen to have been born to professional or managerial parents – even when they have the same educational attainment, the same role and the same experience.”.
This didn’t come as a surprise to me, what did come as a surprise was the way the Independent decided to introduce the matter.
“It’s better to be rich and mediocre than poor and bright in the UK, admits Education Secretary”
Wow, just wow.
If I have learnt one thing about educational inequality is that there is only one person who is not to blame. The child. That child can be from any background, but it is not that child’s fault. It is, however, the child’s responsibility, as a citizen, when they reach adulthood to continue to fight to end educational inequality. Nevertheless, it is not the child’s fault.
To label any child as “mediocre” does not aid our fight in any way, it merely implies that there is “no hope” for some young people’s academic capabilities. It is unacceptable.
Yes, I will fight to end educational inequality, but that does not mean changing who “gets educated”.
It’s about education for all!
The full article can be found here