Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Richer people have smarter kids

But the British government seems to think it can change that! How come? They cling to the nonsensical but classical Leftist myths that all children are born with equal genetic potential and that heredity does not matter. And I suppose they also deny that being smart helps you to get rich. A lot of denial there but Leftists never have been much interested in reality

A child's chances of success still depend largely on the background and earnings of his or her parents despite the billions poured into education in recent years, according to an independent report today. The Social Mobility Commission, reporting the day before a long-awaited white paper on the subject, finds that social class accounts for much of the gap in attainment between higher and lower achievers. It is evident from the early years that the gap widens as children get older.

Increased spending on education has disproportionately favoured the middle classes, the report says. Last year only 35 per cent of the poorest pupils obtained five or more good-grade GCSEs, compared with 63 per cent of better off children. While the proportion of poorer children getting degrees has risen by just 3 per cent, the increase among those from wealthier backgrounds is 26 per cent.

Martin Narey, chief executive of the children's charity Barnardo's and a former head of the Prison Service, chaired the commission, which was set up by Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party. Mr Narey said that children from disadvantaged backgrounds all too often ended up in the worst schools and achieved the worst results.

The report comes as Alan Milburn was appointed by Gordon Brown to chair a panel of industry leaders charged with producing policies to help people from disadvantaged backgrounds into the professions. Ministers have identified limited access to the professions, such as law, medicine, the senior civil service, media, finance and the upper ranks of the Armed Forces, as a serious obstacle to those from poorer families. Mr Milburn, MP for Darlington, will chair a panel of representatives from the professions who will generate proposals to widen access in their particular spheres.

The panel will report its recommendations to the Government when it produces a policy statement in June. Issues to be considered include financial obstacles to access and progression, the role of work experience and internships, recruitment practices and encouraging new applicants for certain jobs. Mr Milburn said he would be trying to ensure that "the best people, regardless of their backgrounds, have a fair crack of the whip". He said: "This is the right time for the Government to make its core purpose creating an upwardly mobile society again."

Mr Narey commented: "Although any move to open up professions seen as elitist should be applauded, it is far more important for the Government to focus on reducing the inequalities in the education system. "Children from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds all too often end up in the worst schools and achieve the worst results. "Only if these inequalities are tackled will children from disadvantaged backgrounds be able to fulfil their potential and become the doctors, army officers and barristers of the future."

The commission said that more resources ought to be provided for schools with the most disadvantaged children and better incentives offered to teachers to work in the most difficult schools. Mr Clegg said: "This expert analysis shatters the idea that Britain in 2009 is a free and fair society. Martin Narey and his colleagues deserve enormous credit for a report that cannot be ignored by anyone who wants a fairer Britain. "It is an outrage and a tragedy that two children born at the same time in the same hospital should have wildly different life chances, based simply on the income of their parents."


Colleges Bite the Bullet

Could the global economic crisis actually force the nation's colleges and universities to rethink their priorities? The Wall Street Journal's Eric Gibson noted, after a recent tour of campuses, that today's student life resembles something like the Court at Versailles. "One college tour guide proudly informed us that upon arrival every freshman is issued a brand-new laptop. Even students who already have one? `Why yes,' the guide replied."

The lavish school menus cater to every ethnicity, food group and taste. And it doesn't take long to realize that maintaining this upscale lifestyle requires "higher taxes," which Gibson says is the reason for all those tuition hikes. "Not even the actual government is that brazen," he said.

However, because of the economic crunch, the pendulum has finally started to swing the other way. In fact, there has been a sharp increase in applications to state schools during the past few months.

Colorado College President Richard Celeste summed up the current situation, saying that "several years ago, we started thinking about sustainability in environmental terms," adding that "now we need to be thinking about sustainability in economic terms."


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