20 Jun '14

News Don't blame poor children for their poor education give them good schools | Deborah Orr

A new report says white working-class children are failing at school, and suggests their attitudes and lack of aspiration are the cause. This sounds like victim blaming to meIt's not just about poverty. The figures prove it. Just 32% of white working-class children leave school with five decent GCSEs, says a report published this week by the Commons education select committee. But nearly double as many children from a poor Indian background manage it, and more than three quarters of children from a poor Chinese background do. Graham Stuart, the Conservative chairman of the committee, had this to say: "Poor white British children now come out of our schools with worse qualifications than equally poor children in any other ethnic group. They do less homework and are more likely to miss school than other groups. We don't know how much of the underperformance is due to poor attitudes to school, a lack of work ethic or weak parenting."We do know, however, that the one thing that seems to make a big difference is not on that list. It's pretty simple attending a really good school. And this rather suggests that Stuart's list is an exercise in victim blame, with its focus on poor character rather than poor services. The real question is this: What makes white working-class people feel more disengaged from education than working-class people from other ethnicities? Lack of aspiration is a much-cited reason. But again, what makes white working-class people more likely to lack aspiration? Continue reading...

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