The grammar school provides bright children from poor backgrounds with a spring-board to the professions and by extensions, a better standard of living.
Old school leftists hated grammar schools because to them, if you were working class, you had to stay working class. Grammar schools enable working class people to move up in the world so they have to go. This was probably the motivation behind Anthony Crossland’s ‘scorched earth’ approach to selective education in the 1960s.
To modern leftists, grammar schools are hated for a much more base and self-interested reason. Grammar schools enable working class children to compete with their own children for places at elite universities. You would be a laughing stock at dinner parties and receptions if your kid had to go to an ‘ordinary’ university. To the fantastically snooty and egotistical, your ego could not survive such a situation.
If the daughter of Dave the truck driver from Leeds can beat the daughter of Quentin the playwright from Notting Hill to a place at Cambridge that will never do. Now Quentin might hope his daughter can beat the truck driver’s daughter on merit, but you just can’t take that chance. The best way to stop her is by making sure there are no grammar schools for her to go to.
The money the elite typically have means access to a quality education is no problem. However, the only way a bright kid from a poor background can get a quality education is if that education is free. Truck drivers and check-out girls don’t have £15,000 per child per term to send their kids to elite fee-paying grammar schools, so their only hope is a (free) state grammar school.
I don’t have a problem with people spending lots of money on their children’s education if they have it to spend. I do have a problem with people who do have that kind of money denying people who don’t the chance to educate their kids as well. The vindictive destruction of grammar schools and bars on expanding selective education are exactly that: spiteful attempts to stop people with limited financial means giving their own kids a fighting chance at beating the elite’s kids to university places.
One need only to look at the lengths Stephen Twigg MP went to in order to prevent selective education. Twigg is a Labour MP and it is deeply shameful the party of the working class could do such a thing. Shameful, but not surprising.
The leftist elite thrive best in environments where schmoozing and knowing the right people are key. Talent is not a consideration. It’s about going to opening nights of avant-garde plays or attending the right dinner parties or writing fawning reviews in each other’s columns in left-wing publications. A grammar school cuts through this nonsense. It boils education and university places down to what you can do on your own merit. If Tracey the truck driver’s daughter is smarter than Penny the playwright’s daughter, then Tracey will get and deserve that place at Cambridge.
Put simply, grammar schools allow poor kids to beat elite kids to university places, and possibly go on to beat them to high paying jobs too. The leftist elite don’t want this. They prefer a schmoozocracy, where the poor are shut out. Not content with this, they sabotage any advantage a state grammar school would give the poor.
Equality is all well and good, but not if people from the North can beat you to something you want. I mean, that sounds dangerous like equality, and as a good liberal, they can’t have any of that!