The culture that is England, affirmative action edition

Oxford University has launched a summer school aimed at white British boys, in an effort to increase its intake of working class students.

It is the first time the university has ever specifically targeted this demographic, which is one of the most underrepresented groups in higher education.

Under a new partnership with the Sutton Trust, a social mobility charity, male students from rural and coastal communities will be recruited for summer schools hosted at Oxford University.

…Research by the Sutton Trust charity shows that white British boys who are eligible for free school meals – a key measure of poverty – achieve the lowest GCSE grades of any major ethnic group, with only a quarter (24%) gaining at least five C grades including English and maths.

This compares to around a third (32%) of white British girls on free school meals who achieve this benchmark, making them the lowest performing major female ethnic group.

Here is further information, via the excellent Jeff H.


Back in 2005, I wrote about how the American white working class was doing better morally than the British white working class:

But, I spoke too soon.

The Singaporean answer would be that the Grammar schools lifted out everyone genetically suited to higher education in the 50s and 60s. Those that are left are not capable of handling university. The Charles Murray solution would be that the collapse of Christianity has led to drug abuse, moral laxness and under-performance. The African-American solution would be that welfare and the collapse of the decent working class job means that White males are not marriageable and hence have given up trying.

The fact the British working class collapsed first suggests Christianity and the welfare state are viable answers. But then the American education system hasn't been that meritocratic. Still the first works as well. Perhaps it is time to embrace the power of "and"?

I suspect people greatly underestimate how long it takes to climb out of poverty in a well developed country with a class system as developed as rural England, impoverished coastal England is the same thing.

If only people would read a Thomas Hardy novel and realize that all his characters were middle class and almost no one in his books were actually from the strata this program involves.

See Henry Fairlie. America has classes. Britain has a class system. The thing is, the 'class system' refers not to rates of upward or downward mobility (which may be much the same), but the omnipresence of markers of class and personal history and the hold they have on people's consciousness. Fairlie elected to live in the U.S. for a number of reasons, but the major attraction was that it was much harder to peg people based on how they spoke and you didn't have people chuffering interminably over who was and was not a gent.

Fairlie was writing a generation ago. What's disconcerting is that you're beginning to see elements of a class system manifest in public discourse (among liberals) in this country. Consider the hostility to Sarah Palin, which you would not have seen a generation earlier and is, looked at dispassionately, baffling.

'Consider the hostility to Sarah Palin, which you would not have seen a generation earlier'

Please enlighten us to the female VP candidates from a generation ago. And in case you forgot, Geraldine Ferraro was not treated with kid gloves either -

If we look at the set of people who have an extreme dislike of Sarah Palin and Bernie Sanders (who, unlike Palin, came from a genuinely blue collar background) but who admire George W. Bush with his wealthy parents and Ivy League pedigree, we would be looking at a small slice of establishment Republicans and a handful of moderates and independents.

Please enlighten us to the female VP candidates from a generation ago. And in case you forgot, Geraldine Ferraro was not treated with kid gloves either –

No one can figure out if your obtuse remarks are unintentional or deliberate.

Gov. Palin was the VP candidate of the Republican Party in 2008, full stop. So was Wm E Miller, about whom hardly anyone wrote a thing after 1964.

Gov. Palin has a vernacular idiom, tastes, and sensibility, something that stood you in good stead with the media in 1975. Some of Jimmy Carter's critics were irritated with what they saw as a jes' folks pose, not with the reality. With Gov. Palin, it's not a pose. That's just who she is, who her husband is, what her kids are like.

Larry Sabato defined the period running from 1973 to 200? as the era of the 'Junkyard Dog' press. Well, we've had quite a run of quondam VP candidates who lived into the era of the Junkyard Dog press, several of whom continued to be public officials. There have been three who were raked over the coals by that press: Geraldine Ferraro, John Edwards, and Sarah Palin. In the case of Edwards, it's not difficult to discern why. It isn't in the case of Ferraro, either, it's just that partisan Democrats develop a very short memory when it's convenient to them. The reason is, just in case you're still pretending, is that her husband and her son have faced felony criminal charges, she was a minority shareholder in an array of limited corporations her husband set up to undertake real estate deals, she's had dealings as a politician with figures from the longshoreman's union and figures identified as LCN members by the FBI (among them Wm Pelligrino Masselli, who was on one of her debt-retirement committees), her husband has undertaken an array of business deals with shady characters and arranged deals between his son and shady characters, her father was an employee and front man for the proto-mafia from 1927 until his death in 1944, her husband's uncle was murdered in 1957 in a mob-style hit, and the real estate enterprise founded by her father-in-law was hit with a 103 count indictment in 1959 on charges of extorting kickbacks on city contracts.

What did Sarah Palin do that Howard Fineman fancied it apposite to compare her (unfavorably) with Richard Nixon (someone she resembles not at all)? That induced Joe McGinnis to ruin his reputation and publish a work shot through with unsourced gossip about her? That induced Todd Purdam and Vanity Fair to publish articles shot through with invention? That induced Andrew Sullivan to publish column after column contending her son was the issue of someone else and demanding the publication of his medical records? Substantively, she's an ordinary Republican politician. The most scandalous thing about her is her shabby older daughter (who is shabby in ways which are quite banal).

Now go back and read Charles Fried's endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008. Here's a Harvard professor, supposedly some sort of libertarian, whose going to cast a ballot for a man with no executive experience, with no history of legislative accomplishment, and no history of accomplishment in private sector employments. He's going to do this due to Gov. Palin's presence on the GOP ticket. Gov. Palin had 11 years under her belt as a public executive. BO had zero, Joseph Biden had zero, Hillary Clinton had zero, John McCain had zero, Ron Paul had zero, John Kerry had zero, John Edwards had zero, Bill Bradley had zero, Albert Gore had zero, Jack Kemp had zero, Robert Dole had zero, Paul Tsongas had zero, Tom Harkin had zero, Jesse Jackson had zero, Richard Gephardt had zero, Geraldine Ferraro had zero, John Anderson had zero, Morris Udall had zero, Frank Church had zero, Henry Jackson had zero, Richard Nixon in 1968 had zero. And so forth. Well, she was only a radio reporter 'ere going into politics. Well, BO spent about 4 years working in law offices and published not a thing in 12 years collecting a salary from the University of Chicago, Joe Biden spent 4 years as a suburban associate, John Kerry spent about 6 undistinguished years practicing law in Boston, Robert Dole's law career consisted of being the solicitor for a county with 12,000 residents, etc. It's not hard to figure that the disposition of characters like Fried and Kathleen Parker make no sense whatsoever (if you take what they say at face value).

If we look at the set of people who have an extreme dislike of Sarah Palin and Bernie Sanders (who, unlike Palin, came from a genuinely blue collar background) but who admire George W. Bush with his wealthy parents and Ivy League pedigree, we would be looking at a small slice of establishment Republicans and a handful of moderates and independents.

Todd Purdam, Joe McGinnis, Andrew Sullivan, and Howard Fineman are among those who've expressed an extreme dislike of Sarah Palin. Sullivan is a gay screwball and the others are conventional Democrats.

No clue what George W. Bush or Sanders has to do with this discussion. Eli Sanders was a salesman, Charles Heath was a small town schoolteacher. No clue why you fancy either of these men were 'genuinely' 'blue collar'. (Todd Palin was a foreman on an oil rig and Jane Sanders is a social worker turned higher ed apparatchik, btw)

Re: class system, the UK does have a relatively low rate of educational social mobility compared to other nations (Japan the most among the developed nations), but is somewhat typical for overall social status and income mobility for adults (e.g. Greg Clarke's surname measures).

This has presumably been made possible by lower historical integration of education and status (societies with more education mobility don't always end up having more real mobility for adults); we'll have to see if this holds true in an increasingly "Murrayan" "Coming Apart" world.

I can get behind privately funded summer school for low-performing students in the U.S., too

Ah, affirmative action in English higher education Tory style actually looks like this -'In England, tuition fee caps rose with the Higher Education Act 2004. Under the Act, universities in England could begin to charge variable fees of up to £3000 a year for students enrolling on courses as from the academic year of 2006-07 or later. This was also introduced in Northern Ireland in 2006-07 and introduced in Wales in 2007-08. In 2009-10 the cap rose to £3225 a year to take account of inflation. Following the Browne Review in 2010, the cap was controversially raised to £9,000 a year, sparking large student protests in London. A judicidal review against the raised fees failed in 2012, and so the new fee system came into use that September.

Further adjustments were put forth in the 2015 budget, with a proposed fee increase in line with inflation from the 2017-18 academic year onwards, and the planned scrapping of maintenance grants from September 2016. The changes were debated by the Third Delegated Legislation Committee in January 2016, rather than in the Commons. The lack of a vote on the matter has drawn criticism, as by circumventing the Commons the measures "automatically become law".'

Do note that the scrapped 'maintenance grants' is the money provided to low income students when they attend university, as noted here - 'As well as being entitled to an increased loan, students from low-income households are also entitled to a maintenance grant, which does not have to be repaid.


Maintenance grants were abolished for new students in academic year 2016/17 with maintenance grant levels being frozen at 2014/15 levels for all existing students.'

It's interesting that even with the higher sticker price, more kids are going to university, and more from poorer backgrounds. It seems that the system is more like a graduate tax than a loan.

Interesting - why, just look at the massive improvement here. 'The least advantaged young people in England are now 65% more likely to go to university or college than they were in 2006. In 2006, the most advantaged in England were 8.5 times more likely to go to a Higher Tariff university than the least advantaged, but in 2015 that difference had reduced to 6.3 times more likely.' Though it would have been nice to see what number that 65% increase was attached to. The data files are admittedly available.

And that is from 2015, when it was already clear that maintenance grants were going to be cut in the future - one can reasonably wonder how things will look for this current academic year in retrospect.

All immigrants are either brain surgeons or rocket scientists according to the Government

Not in the UK - there, apparently, they are plumbers, according to such sources as the Daily Mail.

But luckily, with Brexit, the British (well, we will see how it turns out with the Scots) can finally remove the plague of Polish plumbers from the beating heart of the UK.

Yes, British plumbing will soon return to its traditional level as a marvel of the world, huzzah!

We've never had a bad plumber. What's your problem with it?

Re: Daily Mail.

At 31:20 Niall Ferguson's pointedly comment about the Daily Mail and the Eastern European immigration fake news.

The same video also showed UK had brain drain problem up till 1980 where the yearly net emigration rates were quite high and higher than the net immigration rate. Then the emigration rates continued rising till mid 2000s but below the immigration rates which had risen greatly.

For example from OECD immigration dataset in 2014 UK swapped (emigrated) 1872841 UK degree holders with 2486624 (ususally non-white) oversea degree holders. The performance of the children are highly correlated with that of the parents.

Going straight downhill since 1066. Damn Norman immigrants.

William of Orange - the name says it all concerning that sneaky Dutch usurper.

And because English history is not really something that makes me cry when landing at Heathrow - - here is the wikipedia summary of how an army and fleet of foreigners overthrew the legal government - 'The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, was the overthrow of King James II of England (James VII of Scotland) by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III, Prince of Orange. William's successful invasion of England with a Dutch fleet and army led to his ascension of the English throne as William III of England jointly with his wife Mary II of England, James's daughter, after the Declaration of Right, leading to the Bill of Rights 1689.

King James's policies of religious tolerance after 1685 met with increasing opposition by members of leading political circles, who were troubled by the king's Catholicism and his close ties with France. The crisis facing the king came to a head in 1688, with the birth of the King's son, James Francis Edward Stuart, on 10 June (Julian calendar). This changed the existing line of succession by displacing the heiress presumptive (his daughter Mary, a Protestant and the wife of William of Orange) with young James Francis Edward as heir apparent. The establishment of a Roman Catholic dynasty in the kingdoms now seemed likely. Some Tory members of parliament worked with members of the opposition Whigs in an attempt to resolve the crisis by secretly initiating dialogue with William of Orange to come to England, outside the jurisdiction of the English Parliament. Stadtholder William, the de facto head of state of the Dutch United Provinces, feared a Catholic Anglo–French alliance and already had been planning a military intervention in England.'

Though his spirit lived on in places like Williamsburg, where another group of disloyal subjects to the English Crown planned their own gloriously successful revolution.

"King James’s policies of religious tolerance after 1685": if those had been his policies he might have kept his throne. But his actual policies were 'I've got the whip hand now, so I'm sacking Protestants and appointing Roman Catholics'.

The previous king who seemed genuinely to want to try religious toleration was James I/VI. His reward was the Gunpowder Plot in which Guy Fawkes and fellow Roman Catholics tried to blow up King, Lords, and Commons. Thereafter Jamie cooled on the religious toleration business.

You can't argue with Prior. He hates the Anglosphere AND he has Wiki at his fingertips, so he will always be right.

As noted in another recent comment, wiki links always work here, as this web site also filters web addresses before posting. One example from the past being the New Yorker, which took a while to figure out, and a while longer to repair, after several mocking comments pointing out how the New Yorker just didn't meet Marginal Revolution's rigorous quality standards for linking.

Further, I do wonder how many of this web sites eminently informed commenters know that much about the Glorious Revolution - it isn't really a major part of what English students are taught in the history curriculum from ten years ago (particularly the Dutch invasion part), much less American students. The Dutch know quite a bit about it, though - at least when talking to a couple of Dutchmen about it in the past.

But nice to see how much I hate America's gloriously successful revolution, leading to the Constitution, one of the truly greatest accomplishments in human history - as also noted in another recent comment.

"so he will always be right."

There's no point in arguing with prior, because he doesn't argue in good faith. When the facts prove him wrong, he changes the subject.

Like Steve Sailer often says, there is likely a lot of overlooked and high potential talent in white families in unglamorous parts of the county both in the UK and the US. I hope more charities follow the lead of the Sutton Trust.There is a distinct lack of educational ambition in some parts of the white British working class, which is likely the biggest reason why the UK's productivity figures are perennially mediocre. Remedying that would be of immense benefit to the nation. A second factor is the business sector's historical addiction to importing cheap labour.

In the US, at the college entrance level, affirmative action is already targeted at males too. If admittance was grades only as in some EU countries, the gender imbalance (in favor of women) would be more extreme than it is. I've never seen anybody do the math, but it would not surprise me to learn that, given that whites are the biggest ethnic group in general, white males are already the biggest beneficiaries of affirmative action in the US and have been for many years. Even if they're not, it's surprising that very few people acknowledge that they benefit at all.

Meh, if admission was test scores only, there would be a huge gender imbalance in favor of men. But schools that want to discriminate against white males (that is to say, most schools) tend to favor a "holistic" admissions process.

If you think that, on average, high school boys have higher GPAs than high school girls, you are sorely mistaken. Have you attended an induction ceremony for the National Honor Society? Not even close.

GPA is largely an artifact of teachers preferring docile and complaisant students, especially girls.

Test scores, which reflect academic ability and achievement, show boys doing as well as girls.

I think you mean the distinction in GPAs, not the whole measure.

liberalarts isn't great with reading comprehension.

I said test scores, not grades. I guess you're not a college applicant, and maybe never have been. Test scores means SAT, SAT II and ACT scores.

Yes, but the question is which aubjects are these men studying: nursing , sociology and psychology, creative writing? Not really....So no need to worry.

This is why I'm unperturbed by the larger numbers of women who are going to college, which would be treated as a national emergency if there were more men. Too many people go to crappy colleges, major in dumb things, and all they get when they graduate is a sense of entitlement and a bill for 50,000$.

The problem is the arms race among families. A college degree signals trainability. In many occupations, that's all it does. It's more valuable for that in the women's labor market than in the men's labor market, hence more women in college. Also, there are aspects of pedagogy and school administration that tend to repel men more than they repel women.

You don't think an inflated sense of entitlement coupled with debt isn't a problem? I do!

I meant that it's not a problem in the sense that men are falling behind.

Look up the definition of "affirmative action."

In the US, at the college entrance level, affirmative action is already targeted at males too. If admittance was grades only as in some EU countries, the gender imbalance (in favor of women) would be more extreme than it is

Not likely. The propensity of men to matriculate at baccalaureate granting institutions hasn't changed since 1979. The propensity of women to enroll has increased, even though the share of occupations paid hourly hasn't changed much in two generations (just changed from factory settings to office settings). A great deal of this has been driven by signaling, not by an interest in skills acquisition. If you look at degrees awarded and see where the distaff share exceeds the share of women working, you see that women predominate (among occupational degrees) in traditional women's fields like teaching, social work, and nursing and predominate (among the recipients of academic and arts degrees) in the arts, humanities, psychology, and biology. Only very recently have women had a slim edge among medical and law degree recipients. About 1/2 of those receiving law degrees cannot find a law job or build a practice and a certain number of licensed physicians quit practicing well short of retirement age every year (mostly female).

The labor market is somewhat segmented and men predominate among trades. A BA degree is still a signal of no consequence in the trades, so men neither need nor pursue it. Not so in office employments.

We know for a fact, that immigration is a "win win" for all, and that it the extra supply of labour makes the salaries go up (and btw nothing happens to cost of living). This is basic science, so please dont come with any fake news claiming otherwise.

And even with millions of immigrants to safe britain, these boys still perform so bad. Imagine how much worse off they would have been, without the immigrants.

For decades their families were working in the coalmines - and the thanks for that it is......

The American solution is to re-open the coal mines.

The Democrat solution is to sabotage the rural economy and scapegoat white coal miners for the wealth of white elites.

Nothing says "I love you" like black lung.

Jeremy Corbyn also wants to reopen the coal mines, but, in a move to satisfy the Green lobby, has announced he won't allow the coal to be burned.

"Just 45% of white British pupils go on to university after leaving school, the lowest rate of all ethnic groups."

This rate is probably too high too. How many kids really need to go to University? I'm not familiar with the British university system, but did they need to dumb down admission standards as much as the US has done to get this type of enrollment?

I believe that as late as 1966 the share of a typical age cohort attending university was about 5%. About 20% attended '6th form' and 80% left school at age 16. Secondary schools were of three sorts: 'grammer' schools with an academic and arts program, vocational schools where you studied trades, and 'secondary modern' schools where you continued with basic education supplemented with life schools. You were sent to one or another according to your scores on the "11 plus" exam. E.R. Braithwaite (To Sir, With Love) began his teaching career at a secondary modern school ca. 1950. Harold Wilson and Edward Heath had attended state grammar schools rather than prep schools ("public schools" in England), so were considered examples of 20th century British egalitarianism.

"Life skills" (e.g. cooking).

IIRC, John Derbyshire (b. 1945) and his sister (b. 1943) came from a fairly impecunious background (mother a nurse, father a repo man) but both received rigorous schooling at state grammar schools. John Derbyshire was able to attend one of the components of the University of London and his sister garnered some sort of post-secondary certificate and landed a job as a schoolteacher.

A nurse and a repo man? Man, it's a miracle he survived childhood. - Tertiary education among 55-64 bracket for UK in 2014 was 35%, so you'd assume that equates mostly to around 35% tertiary education attainment by 20 year olds in 1950-1959.

For 45-54 (age 20 in 1960-1969) that's about 38%.

Unless they're picking up a lot of mature students, which could well be the case. Plus TE is not necessarily university ( colleges, technical training institutes, community colleges, nursing schools, research laboratories, centers of excellence, and distance learning centers).

Compared vs 49% for 25-34 bracket in 2014.

It probably is too high for ethnic minorities at least. Bangladeshi, Pakistani, African from second lowest social class up, have more probability of university attendance that White British from all but highest social class. This gap is strongly reduced at Oxbridge and high tier universities, suggesting the effect is mainly people from these backgrounds attending less prestigious universities.

Secondary school education results (while relatively higher than expected in all migrant groups) don't explain the gap, while 2016's PISA scores indicate that "natives" in England are the highest performing subgroup when compared against first and second generation migrants (whose results are buoyed up to some degree by higher performing Indian and Chinese migrants). PISA is of course a low stakes international test, so may reflect distribution of knowledge when pupils are not putting high effort into getting points in the specific education framework.

Underemployment relative to educational qualifications is also relatively high for Bangladeshi, Pakistani and African adults, not just an artifact of migration but also shows a similar effect among the young.

There's a question to me about where all this will lead. How will the masses of second generation Bangladeshi, Pakistani and African adults react if university education, with concomitant debt, and very high educational ambition, may not be then matched by financial status? Will we see people crying racism, and further destabilisation and radicalisation in the society?

Among my friends when I was a fresher were the sons of a farm labourer, a butcher's assistant, and a plumber. But that was before the secondary schools fell into the hands of The Left.

There are lots of kids from blue collar families in college today.

I dare say. But in my day it was hard to get in. And still those pals managed it because the schools were keen to encourage bright children: their background didn't matter a whit.

I wonder if the day will come when they'll do this for the Irish Travellers, amongst whom school attendance is not always seen as compulsory.

Gee wilkelirs, that's such a great post!

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