What’s Wrong With Class Anyway?
There’s a whole lot of policy, old, new, existing and proposed regarding social mobility. Movement through the class system. Specifically the encouragement of it. But what’s actually wrong with acknowledging and recognising different classes, and having a society of them?
“It’s outdated!”; says the empassioned educator I’m speaking with, “the thing with class, and social mobility, is that it’s held in place by the ruling classes in order for them to not lose their position. But the people at the bottom don’t have the access to education so they’re being sold a dream they can’t attain.”
But what do people really need?
“They need connection, social cohesion, instead of every man for themselves.”
In practical terms, what do they actually need though?
I suggest housing, food, leasure activities. What else? Friends, familly, community. What else? Employment, healthcare, education.
Ah. Education. What is the function of education in a class system?
To create social mobility, movement up the class system. This is the presumed answer.
It is on the face of it a benevolent concept. But underlying it is a number of ideas and assumptions in need of challenge.
The primary assumption in this is that it is better to to middle class than lower class. Better to be upper class than middle. The assumption is the class system is a hierarchy of value. Value of the people in it. A lower class life is worth less than a middle class one, and so forth. This is consistently demonstrated to be true in practice.
Therefor education becomes the supposed means to move people through the class system. For their own benefit. So they are worth more.
This idea has toxified the entire education system in the UK. When you look at it, it’s also a massive prejudice in action.
It’s based on a theory that lower class is bad, middle class better, upper class best. Whose idea is that? It’s not the lower class that think that. It’s the middle and upper. If the upper care at all about the issue.
So the thinking goes that rather than supporting the lower class, to simply enable them to enjoy their lives more, with facilities, resources, housing, amenities, and employment opportunities, they should instead be educated in such a way as to make them think and act like the middle class.
Hence the random target of 50% of people going to University.
Fed by the the target driven education system that thinks it’s more important for children to remember than create and enjoy.
The constant drive to compress more and more people into the middle class. For their own good. Because it’s better than being lower class. Lower class bad, middle class better, upper class best.
The clear message to the lower class: We are better than you. We will help you be like us. We know best.
And surely that’s the biggest prejudice of them all.