Soaring inequality strikes again

After school tutors priced out the grasp of middle class parents
Middle class parents who want to prepare their children for school entrance tests face being priced out of the market by the super-wealthy who are willing to do \”almost anything\” to secure the best tutors.

I do tend to think that this sort of thing is what really drives the urban bien pensant hatred of inequality.

Very little to nothing to do with the gap between the hoi polloi and the upper middle classes that are the movers and shakers in the worlds of the professions, arts, journalism and NGOs. Rather, the yawning gap between those movers and shakers, who are of course as movers and shakers entitled to the very best the world can offer, and those who do something productive with their lives like banking, captains of industry and entrepreneurs.

It\’s the gap between the 10% and the 1% that drives the anger, not that between the 90 and the 10.

As an example, I seem to recall that Joan Bakewell has a decent house in Mayfair (mebbe Belgravia) bought decades ago off an arts journalist\’s income. Laurie Penny just ain\’t gonna be able to repeat that particular purchase. Polly ditto, a very decent indeed Georgian in Clapham. A Guardian salary (even a Polly style one) simply would not allow such a purchase these days.

Which leads to a prediction: if that 1%, or 0.1%, could be brought back to earth then they\’d be happy and sod the workers.

Or, how dare those horrible people in trade make so much more than we who are vastly more important, the intellectuals and thinkers of society, the natural aristocracy?

10 thoughts on “Soaring inequality strikes again”

  1. The article fails to make clear whether it is laziness or stupidity that prevents a middle class parent helping an 11 or 13 year old with a bit of extra homework. Maybe it’s both.

  2. Dunno. Having helped my son with his prelim revision, the courses have been dumbed down so much that it was trivial. Despite me not having done any Chemistry, as an example, since 1st Yr uni.

  3. So middle-class parents are being priced out by super-wealthy. My heart bleeds. Where I live, we still have grammar schools. Middle-class parents pay for private tutoring to get their kids through the 11+, thus pricing out kids from poorer backgrounds. And of course, across the entire country, middle-class parents price out poorer ones from good comprehensive schools by buying houses near good schools, driving up house prices in those areas. Selection by income is the only form of selection in our schools at the moment. So the super-wealthy are only doing to middle-class parents what middle-class parents already do to poorer ones. But the Telegraph isn’t going to say that, though, is it?

  4. Or, how dare those horrible people in trade make so much more than we who are vastly more important, the intellectuals and thinkers of society, the natural aristocracy?

    I think that’s quite often the underlying dynamic. See, for instance, this admission to that effect. The Nozick quote at the end seems apposite too.

  5. Why don’t more people just become tutors then ? Apart from all the existing teachers who’d enjoy an income top-up there must be tens of thousands of university students who can tutor to GCSE level.

    Interesting comparison of Joan Bakewell’s Primrose Hill £5m Georgian townhouse and fact that Laurie Penny, at similar age when JB bought her house, is on Twitter complaining she can’t afford to live in London.

    Funnily enough though Lady Bakewell isn’t keen on a mansion tax as her various generous BBC pensions won’t stretch to it and nor does she seem keen on CGT on primary property.

  6. You do bias the discussion, Tim, by choosing a selection of dimwits as your representative “intellectuals”.

    Anyway I took the line with the daughter that my father took with me: you’re clever, do the bloody homework yourself.

  7. I know a couple of private tutors locally. Never hear them complaining about lack of work.
    No idea of current prices but my parents paid £20 an hour back in the late 80s.

  8. Note that the hand-wringers all seem to subscribe to the idea that a parent has no active part to play in the education of their offspring beyond opening up a checkbook.

    No wonder they need fucking tutors.

  9. This is the Telegraph so I think even in your slightly unhinged view of London’s economy the people on whose behalf it is complaining would be more likely to be rightwing thinktankers, lobbyists, lawyers and so on than the staff of the New Statesman and Oxfam.

    In general though I think most people who could afford private tutors in London would be the less senior staff of banks, corporates, ad agencies and all the other ‘productive’ side.

  10. I did private tutoring of school students to get some extra cash through uni (about 5-6 students a week, way better than a real job), and while some of my students were struggling, a lot were already pretty bright and just wanted an extra edge. And about half were children of teachers at the school I’d been to – sometimes even teaching the same subjects I was tutoring in. (And if you think tutoring the 17 year old daughters of your former teachers when you’re 20 isn’t hard, well, let’s just say I should have been charging danger money).

    They knew what I learned trying to tutor my brother in maths – family does not work in these situations. They were happy to pay me to do “arms-length” correction rather than the screaming matches that resulted from family members trying to work together.

    It also helps when (as happened to me) I was going over a maths test that one of my students gave me, and realised he’d been marked wrongly on several questions (and being about 14, was mortified at his bare pass). His mother was a teacher at the same school, and it was much easier for her to get it re-marked with an independent opinion (especially from a former star pupil of the school, wow has that reputation evaporated 20 years later), rather than creating friction in the staff room.

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