The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet black bough
( Ezra Pound )
The Sussex Express features ranks of reception class children, each with a destiny, as yet unformed . How tragic that many will never fulfil their potential .Frank Field leads the independent review for coalition on poverty and life chances .He has discarded the myth that increased income will increase life chances.
Hardly surprising .In 2008 the IFS showed that the bottom five per cent's income had risen by an adjusted 13.5 % since 97 ( The "top 10 per cent" of incomes grew by 17 per cent ).
But as poverty reduced social mobility went into reverse; at the bottom end catastrophically so .The 20 per cent of pupils who gain no GCSEs come from just 203 schools almost universally serving a social housing estate. Educational failure is linked to social collapse .40 years ago 11% of households on these estates were workless ,today only a third of working age social housing tenants are in full-time employment. More than 80 per cent of social housing residents in 2006 had been in the sector ten years earlier. Field identifies a subtler culprit than money. Referring to the work Geoffrey Gorer ( on the adoption of tough love” as the default parenting style from the late 19th century ) he identifies the death of this consensus, in the 60s, as deeply harmful for disadvantaged children
This is only part of a range of ideas but if parenting is the problem state support cannot be the whole answer.
The time has come to undo baby boomer mistakes by recommending clear boundaries backed up with punishments that hurt . A smacked bottom , as a last resort , is not a punch in the face and the rubbish suggesting otherwise absurd . One piece of the social jigsaw progressive scattered on the floor is to acknowledge that punishment is a loving parental necessity .Parents who fail to supply discipline should feel ashamed of themselves .