Author: Matt Dickson
Is education policy a blunt instrument when it comes to ‘social mobility’?
Earlier this week, Tony Blair’s former speech-writer Philip Collins told a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrats conference that social mobility was a ‘terrible objective’ and that in any case, education policy could do little to affect it.
“I can’t think of a single education reform in the 20th Century that had a marked impact on relative social mobility at all. Not one,” he remarked.
This conclusion depends on who you think it is important to be “relative” to. On the one hand you might think it is important to be compared to your own parents i.e. where you started, on the other hand you could think it is important to be compared to your peers – where you sit in the distribution compared to your peers from different backgrounds. Let’s think about the former…
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