This letter from Dave appeared in The Argus- 5th March 2010
Len Goldman is right to criticise selective education (Letters, February 27).
Some, especially in the Tory party, want to bring back grammar schools. Tell that to the millions who got a second-rate education, second-rate funding, second-rate libraries and less qualified teachers in secondary schools compared with the lucky 20% who got into grammar school.
Yes, I was lucky, passing the 11-plus and getting a first-rate education at Westlain Grammar School, encouraged to reach for the stars, study until the age of 21, and set professional ambitions. I went on to become a university professor of education: not the lifestyle of a banker or billionaire, but very comfortable.
Not so for millions who were separated out for a second-rate education system – like my twin brother, who went to Queens Park and Moulsecoomb Secondary Schools.
Most working class kids in the 1960s were ejected at age 15 into factory, shop and building site work. Nothing wrong with that work, but manual workers, then as now, get far less in pay, pensions and benefits than the more highly qualified. Of course, both sets of workers – manual and professional – then and now get paid a tiny fraction compared to the ruling class, “the masters of the universe”, mostly educated at private schools, inheriting and passing on privilege.
Those experiences of inequality – and my life as a teacher professor and trade union rep since – have given me a fierce hatred of inequalities in society, in life expectancy, education, pay, incomes, power and wealth.
That’s why I’m standing as parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) – to protect and improve the standards of our public services, to fight for a more equal economy and society and education system.
There were lots of good things about the 1950s and 1960s. Reproducing the class structure by divisive education – expecting lots from the few and expecting little of the many – wasn’t one of them.
Professor Dave Hill
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)
Parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown
Cumberland Road, Brighton