Education's 'Inconvenient Truth'
Part Two – The Middle Classes Have Too Many Friends in Education
This is the second part of an article about how schooling, long geared to the concerns and interests of the middle classes, remains so, and is becoming increasingly so in some ways. In Part One, published in the last issue, I drew a parallel with Al Gore’s well-known film about climate change to argue for middle class advantage as education’s ‘inconvenient truth’. This is because while it is now pretty clear that education policies of recent decades have benefited the middle classes rather than the poor, there is at various points public, practitioner and policy denial of the problem. This denial reflects the self-interest of the middle classes and those who serve them. I focussed in Part One on the likely advantages provided by predominantly middle class school settings and how the middle classes have long targeted such schools for their children. This problem continues: indeed Part One showed how the New Zealand middle classes have been able to secure and in some ways improve their access to schools with a predominantly middle class mix under the zoning policies introduced in 2000. In this second part of the article I explore the problem of middle class advantage from another angle and look at how those who work in the education sector in key roles help to perpetuate middle class advantage in education. It seems the middle class have too many friends in education, which of course is another way of saying that not enough educators are really defending the interests of the poor.
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