Jason Cowley is a UK journalist and the editor of the respected, progressive UK magazine the New Statesman (see: http://www.newstatesman.com/writers/jason_cowley ).
Jason Cowley on Educational Apartheid in the UK (2012): “One of the most notable books of the spring is Ferdinand Mount’s The New Few, a cogent and enraged disquisition on inequality and the rise of a rapacious oligarchy that is of British society but operates in blithe disregard of it. Mount – “Ferdy”, to those who know him – is an essayist, novelist and social historian… He accepts that something has gone badly wrong in British society and that the “blunt fact is that wealth is not trickling down to anywhere near the bottom”. Is something interesting stirring on the right among the more cerebral Tories? Just recently, Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, complained about “the breadth and the depth of private school dominance”. “More than almost any developed nation,” he said, “ours is a country in which your parentage dictates your progress . . . For those of us who believe in social justice, this stratification and segregation are morally indefensible.” Why do we tolerate a form of educational apartheid in which the richest 7 per cent or so buys itself special privileges while too many state schools fail their pupils? Our education system institutionalises class prejudice and disadvantage and creates a society in which people are tiresomely defined by where they went to school, as if they had any choice in the matter. This works both ways, with right and left eager to use schooling to caricature and abuse. For some, “Old Etonian” is a term of praise, for others it’s one of resolute abuse.” .
. Jason Cowley, “Editor’s note on 21st century Educational Apartheid, the new few and weird weather”, New Statesman, 16 May 2012: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2012/05/editor%E2%80%99s-note .