I occasionally buy a copy of ‘The Big Issue’. Homelessness is a serious issue and I would like to support the work that they are doing but they compete on the high street with so many other worthy causes. I feel guilty every time I pass someone rattling a tin, shaking a bucket, sitting at the side of the road in a blanket or a Big Issue seller. Times are hard but I can’t solve every problem. I wish I could.
Anyway, I like buying ‘The Big Issue’ partly because of the issue itself, partly because it helps the sellers with meaningful work, partly in that it supports other causes I am interested in and partly because it has some good articles.
The one that caught my attention on this occasion (issue #1344) was about public schools and the premise that profound damage is done to modern Britain by the entrenched educational apartheid that they support (their words not mine).
That is the thing with elitism, it is a self-fulfilling system. Children of parents already in the system are sent to public schools. On the back of this they get good positions, attribute their success to their own skills and talents as well as the shin up they got from their education, and can afford to send their own offspring to the schools. So it goes on ad nauseum (as they say around our way).
I am not aware of any genetic disposition to be able to lead and what is clear to me is that the system creates not necessarily good leaders but rather people who have such strong belief in their own ability, often misplaced.
Good leaders come from all walks of society.
This is what is fundamentally wrong with the public school system. It draws from such a narrow range of society, experiences and beliefs. Just as I argued in a previous blog The Best of Talent that picking from a very narrow pool of candidates to make products that must appeal to a very wide range of diverse people is flawed, then so it is with those who ending up leading. To lead a diverse and rapidly changing society we need people from diverse and rapidly changing backgrounds.
The public school system restricts choice to a tiny minority of people who, despite their excellent education, lack the experience necessary to empathise with the people of this country.
I doubt if they have ever experienced homelessness, for example, or stood on a street selling a magazine.