Firstly it is important to understand that equality of outcome is pure, unmitigated evil. When Labour have all women short lists they are prejudicing on the basis of having a uterus, not on the basis of ability. Why not have quotas for ginger MPs, Buddhist MPs, vegetarian MPs and so on? It makes no sense. Our society needs and wants the best possible person for every job. Not someone who owes their position to prejudices realised as equality of outcome.
Equality of opportunity is what we want. What is only moral. What is essential in a decent democratic society. And we don’t have it.
In our modern society success is dependent on two factors, social capital and education. And both of these can be bought by the simple expedient of rich parents sending their kids to private schools. This is utterly immoral in society because a massive pool of talent, those without rich parents, is prejudiced against. We are failing and we need to do better.
Part of the problem is that under Labour our state schools became so abysmal. “Progressive” education meant that real learning was unimportant and the key exams were degraded to being meaningless. Schools became hotbeds of promoting social conditioning of everything from the lies of global warming to the evils of socialism. Our children left the state education system utterly maladjusted.
Some people hark back to the Grammar School days. It is true that many people from poor backgrounds achieved academic success. Some, like Margaret Thatcher, became Prime Minister. But it wan’t all sweetness and roses because if you failed to get into Grammar School you were branded as a failure and you were sent to a low budget school where your other talents were not recognised or developed.
Society needs people with an immense range of skills, not just academics. Our education system should recognise this and nurture all those skills in people. For instance the fastest expanding part of our economy is the creative arts; film, advertising, web development, fine art, music, television and especially video games. All the businesses in these industries need a supply of talent, yet our education system only produces such people as a by-product.
Another example is non academic engineering. Something Great Britain has an immense and successful heritage of. The Fred Dibnahs of this world. These are the people who make everything work. The people behind much of our manufacturing output. Historically we created them with real, long apprentices. Now the same talent all go and get useless liberal arts degrees at polytechnic universities and end up flipping burgers. We must stop this stupidity.
So to the solutions. Firstly our education system should produce the people with the talents that society needs. Nobody, not even government, can predict which specific jobs will be in our future economy. Who could have predicted the rise of the legal profession to occupy every crevice of our existence? Who would have thought that 30ish virgin Star Trek fans who live with their mothers would have made natural IT professionals? So what we need to do is select people by broad aptitudes and then educate them to nurture and develop their natural skills. This way they will be happiest in life and will contribute the most to society.
Therefore it is glaringly obvious that we need a massively enhanced version of the 11+. Not like the old one which just sorted children by academic merit. The new version will sort children by aptitude. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) and non STEM academics, creatives, carers, social animals, hands on engineers and so on. You get the idea. Then send them to secondary education establishments optimised for their talents. Where they can develop the skills and abilities that they already have. Selective education is good.
We need to treat these different groups equally and accord them all merit. There should be no shame in being more practical than academic. We should rejoice and appreciate that there are people with great skills who keep our cars, our phone system, our computers and our sewers working. Society needs these people and society must appreciate them.
The second change is to introduce education vouchers. So each parent can spend the budget for their child wherever they want. Some schools (existing “free” schools and “academies”?) would provide an education for the voucher and not a penny more, other (what are now called private or, confusingly, public) schools would require varying amounts of top up. But here we come to the joy of capitalism. Schools specialising in different aptitudes would compete for the students with those aptitudes, so they would find other ways to finance the top ups. Grants, bursaries, sponsorship and a myriad of other methods are out there, mostly untapped by our current financing methods.
Now some may say that with education vouchers rich parents will suddenly be paying a lot less. Good. Why should they pay twice for their children’s education? The rich people pay (net of benefits) all the tax in Britain, they deserve to get something for their money.
Also children belong to society as well as to parents. It is the job of society to ensure that we get the best out of our children. It is in the interests of everybody. Leaving it to individual parental finance is wrong and plain immoral in every way.
So there you have it, selective education plus education vouchers. The lefties will hate both, but these are the ONLY route to a society with true equality of opportunity. A society where every child can achieve greatness according to the rich bounties that nature gave them.