I am a bit behind on my reading for my university course. The marks for my first essay came back, I got a very respectable 76 percent, and the second module has begun, which covers the sociology of education. Apart from the fact that my textbook hasn’t arrived yet, so I am reading scans of the chapters on my computer (aggh!) I find myself turning to the internet to confirm or check my ideas and thoughts about the readings.
The main point is that in my view neoliberalism is moving society towards a state of feudalism. Its disguised as a democratic and fair system, where the most intelligent and capable get the opportunity to rise to the top of the pack, but in reality this isn’t the case.
Put in the simplest possible terms, if you have a decent breakfast in your stomach, if you wake up at a reasonable time before school starts in able to prepare without stress, if your parents are also mentally and physically healthy and don’t take their frustrations out on you, if you have comfortable quality clothing on, if you didn’t spend an hour in front of the tv before school, you are going to be able to get more out of the school system. Before you even enter the school gates you have a huge advantage over less privileged children
Social stratification is a necessary part of society, but you cannot claim that a system is fair when it is not. You cannot ignore the environmental and home factors and say that everyone has an equal chance. You cannot improve a system by piling more resources onto the top end, because, as many people have stated, a society is judged by how it treats its weakest members. There will always be the stronger, the more powerful, even in a socialist society there will still be some elite, but clearly the smaller the gap between rich and poor, the better the results will be overall.
My textbook (well, the scanned pages) is telling me that most western societies at present have an open social stratification, but in my opinion, due to the process of globalization and neoliberalist reform, it is becoming more and more closed at a frightening pace.
I am both looking forward to and dreading writing the next essay, because I have a lot to say, and I have to figure out how I am going to back it all up. And I have to get through these readings without going off on tangents and getting all angry about politics. In addition, I am thinking all the time about what these ideas mean to me both as a teacher and as a parent.