Snobbish grandstanding about poor kids being second class dumbos who need to be patronised into Oxbridge is about as insulting and out of touch as it gets.
Yet it is useful in getting to the heart of the matter of why state education in the UK is now so very poor. Clegg and his colleagues have clearly given up on actually giving working class kids an education on parity with their wealthier counterparts and so positive discrimination must, he wrongly assumes, come into play to balance things out.
It is highly offensive for the Coalition to continue to pursue positive discrimination for kids based on their background or skin colour. At the end of the day, they should be focusing on giving every kid the chance to flourish on a level playing field. Instead sadly our politicians seem focused on lowering standards because they don’t have the answers as to how schooling for poor kids can be vastly improved as is required.In addition we need less talk about lowering standards and much more focus on trying to give all of our kids disciplined, rigorous, top class education. The type of education the generation before mine got, in grammar schools and vocationally-focused schools.
The answer of course is that firstly, we don’t necessarily need working class kids flooding into Universities, we need them getting taught the right skills to get to the top. Oxbridge isn’t for everyone; we need to stop acting as if the vocational route is the road to failure. It is not.If we do that, maybe we can one day start raising standards for our poor youngsters instead of seeking to constantly lower their expectations and aspirations.