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Education and wealth

Written By: - Date published: 8:20 am, April 22nd, 2011 - 69 comments
Categories: class war, education, poverty - Tags: ,

An anonymous editorial in The Herald earlier this week was remarkable for two things. First for clear and succinct way it summarised some interesting data relating to educational outcomes, and second for the way that it absolutely failed to understand the meaning of that data. First the good:

The league table of school examination results we published yesterday broadly confirms the view within the teaching profession that pupils’ family wealth largely determines their educational success. The Ministry of Education gives every school a “decile” rating depending on household incomes in its district and last year’s results reflect their socio-economic situation.

In the lowest decile of schools 66 per cent of pupils passed NCEA level 2, regarded as the minimum school leavers need for a reasonable chance in life today. In the next to lowest decile, 67 per cent passed; in decile 3, 70 per cent passed; in decile 4, 71 per cent; decile 5, 80 per cent; decile 7, 83 per cent; decile 9, 87 per cent … Only one of the 10 deciles (6) scored worse than the category below.

That’s a remarkable correlation. But wait, there’s more:

The same pattern occurs for the level 1 examinations. The 10 socio-economic divisions scored, in rising order of wealth, 58, 63, 62, 66, 74, 73, 79, 81, 83, 88 per cent of their pupils passing. At level 3, the progression was 58 per cent, 60, 60, 66, 71, 72, 77, 77, 79, 86.

This consistency is remarkable, the more so because schools are divided into wealth deciles for the purpose of additional funding.

So what’s going on?

This could mean the additional grant is too little, or it could be that no amount of extra money for the school can make up for the educational advantages of wealth at home. Wealth probably means books, computers, musical instruments, holiday travel, extra tuition if needed – a home in which educational success is valued and any cultural, sporting or intellectual interest can be developed.

There are exceptions at both ends of the income scale. It is possible for a low-income household to value education and give children a good supportive environment for study, just as it is possible to find wealthy households that do not value schooling and encourage their children to get out and earn money as early as possible. But generally, it seems, wealth determines exam results.

Shocker. As already stated, teachers have been saying this for the longest time. Data on social mobility has been confirming this for the longest time. The piece so far has been a good summary. But right at the end the anonymous author loses the plot:

Education experts invite us to measure each school’s performance in its social setting. But unless schools can do much more to overcome social disadvantage, keen parents who read these tables will do their utmost to get their child into a wealthier zone. Perhaps the lesson is that decile funding must do better.

Argh! No! What this data shows is that it’s not a matter of getting a child into a “wealthier zone”. Sending a child to a flasher school will not make up for missing out on “the educational advantages of wealth at home” as so clearly set out above. Overwhelmingly it is wealth that determines outcome, not the school that you go to! And “decile funding must do better”? It would be great if all schools were doing better of course, and that would raise the absolute levels, but it wouldn’t do anything to the relative ordering. Lower decile schools will still be disadvantaged.

Having clearly recognised the link between wealth and educational outcome, we have to take the next step and recognise that there is no quick fix. If we want to raise the level of educational achievement (and thus improve all manner of social indicators, including mobility) then we need to raise the incomes of the poor. Provide more children with the background and the opportunities of the well off. Unfortunately, the current government is working hard on doing exactly the opposite.

69 comments on “Education and wealth ”

  1. Carol 1

    Yes, I recall when I studied education in the UK in the 80s, spending a lot time looking at the research and debates related to Basil Bernstein’s classic piece on Education Cannot Compensate for Society.  Basically, while individual schools can make some improvements and provide a better outgoing for some students, the main influence on the majority of students’ educational outcomes is the socio-economic circumstances of their parents.
    We should be aiming for the best quality education possible in our schools, and we should provide some compensatory aid to low income children by putting extra funding into low income schools and community facilities & projects. However, there will always be major educational inequalities while we have major wealth and income inequalities

    • Swampy 1.1

      No there won’t. “there will always be major educational inequalities while we have major personal perception and disaffection of wealth and income inequalities”

      People with the right attitude will always do well regardless of their circumstances. It doesn’t matter how much money they do or don’t have as long as their basic needs are met. The difference is at the poor end of the scale there is too much irresponsible and selfish behaviour,

      • McFlock 1.1.1

        “People with the right attitude will always do well regardless of their circumstances.”
        The essential religious principle of right-wing nutbars the world over. It justifies cutting welfare and leaving people on the streets because a poor person’s poverty is proof that they have the wrong attitude and therefore don’t deserve assistance.
        Unfortunately, RWNJ believe the “individual attitude begets individual circumstance” meme without a shred of evidence. Which, if it’s wrong, makes them look like stupid, selfish c$$$s.

        • Swampy

          My comments are based on life experiences of myself and people I know. Your rhetoric is meaningless. Do carry on with it if it makes you feel happy, or you can get out of your glass house and see what people do in the real world.

          Some poor people do have the wrong attitude. Using an example, how do you suppose John Key goes from living in a state house to Prime Minister of New Zealand. A lot of people I know who live in state houses are clueless and will still be there in 20-30 years. On the other hand I knew a lot of people who bought their state house or otherwise made a leap forward by having the right approach to their circumstances.

          Its true there are some who need extra assistance in life but not every poor person is in that category and Its not unreasonable to say a significant percentage are capable of doing well. The Labour Party tends to focus on a one size fits all approach, because they can bribe everyone with offering them more money that way.

          • McFlock

            Oh, your evidence is purely pulled out of your arse(aka “anecdotal”)? Big surprise.
            Let’s take Key: are you seriously telling me it was purely “attitude” that was responsible for his wealth? Not an ounce of luck anywhere? Not taxpayer funded healthcare, so mum could take him to the doctor even if she didn’t have $50 handy? Not a taxpayer funded education to tertiary level? Not luck that he didn’t screw up as a teen and get sent through a justice system with greater emphasis on punishment rather than rehabilitation? Or any of the myriad of problems that can afflict the poor more than the rich, from mental health through to basic physical debilitation caused by overcrowding and cold, damp homes?
            Oh, and big surprise, I do live in “the real world”. I just recognise that I’ve been luckier than most, rather than believing that the sun shines out of my arse.
            But then if being rich doesn’t mean you’re someone special, then you’ll actually have to look at the sort of person you are. I have a sneaking suspicion of what your answer might be.

            • Colonial Viper

              Oh, your evidence is purely pulled out of your arse(aka “anecdotal”)?

              aka “anusdotal”
              catcha: MEMBER

      • Vicky32 1.1.2

        People with the right attitude will always do well regardless of their circumstances

        Bollocks. In 1933 in England, my father left school at 14 to work for his father as a hod carrier. He wanted to be a teacher, and he hadn’t got a snowball’s chance of ever achieving that. In 1938 he joined the Army, first chance he got, survived World war 2 unlike his married-with-children (therefore exempt) brother – ironically he died in the May blitz, while fire-watching.
        By the time I was old enough to know any of this, my father was too busy supporting a wife and five (then four) children, to get the education he’d missed out on because his family would have starved trying to keep him at school. He had the right attitude, so did his parents. What they didn’t have was any money.
        Now in New Zealand, there are families whose kids have to try to get work, because the parents can’t afford to keep them at school. I was lucky 6 years ago, that I could keep my son at school and then University, so his life was not wrecked by unfulfilled ambitions.

        • Swampy

          So he didnt get to be a teacher. I know other people in the same boat, they went and did something else because they couldn’t achieve that goal so they did something else, they didn’t sit around saying “woe is me”. I have some goals that I don’t know will be achievable. In the meantime I am not sitting on my laurels. 

          Somewhere along the way it is a choice to have five children, if it means you don’t have any money then you have to be responsible for it. It is the same as teenage girls partying, getting pregnant then bringing up their kids solo on the DPB. They have to be responsible like that.

          • Vicky32

            “went and did something else because they couldn’t achieve that goal so they did something else, they didn’t sit around saying “woe is me”. I have some goals that I don’t know will be achievable. In the meantime I am not sitting on my laurels. Somewhere along the way it is a choice to have five children, if it means you don’t have any money then you have to be responsible for it. It is the same as teenage girls partying, getting pregnant then bringing up their kids solo on the DPB. They have to be responsible like that.

            You really are an offensive git, Swampy. My father worked the whole time he was in NZ, as an A-grade certified diesel mechanic, so he did do something else. The point you missed is that he could have been a very good teacher, as he was a very good mechanic. Did you not bother to read what I wrote? He was 36 when he came to New Zealand, and he had five children because that’s what people did in the 1950s and 60s. He had money, enough to support a family, but not enough to take years off to study.
            Obviously, you base your ideas of reality on 1ZB and Pacific talkback, if you believe that spite you’re shouting about mothers on the DPB being teenage party girls! You are a sick old man.

            • Swampy

              I know a guy who had nine children. He had nothing when he built his house, today it is worth half a million dollars. He went from having nothing except the clothes on his back to where he is today by hard work and initiative. No one gave him any handouts.

              I base my knowledge on people I know. 

              I think you are talking nonsense, you take the circumstances and twist them to say your father was hard done by when he has done well enough. Just because he didn’t achieve all his goals. He achieved enough of them to be a productive member of society and that’s what matters the most, not how it is achieved.

              It’s actually true about teenage girls. It is a proven fact statistically that NZ has one of the developed world’s highest rates of teenage pregnancy. You can check that out any way you like.

              • Vicky32

                I think you are talking nonsense, you take the circumstances and twist them to say your father was hard done by when he has done well enough.
                It’s actually true about teenage girls. It is a proven fact statistically that NZ has one of the developed world’s highest rates of teenage pregnancy. You can check that out any way you like.

                I never said my father was ‘hard done by’, and neither would he have. But he was disadvantaged by poverty, and he never got the education that richer and stupider boys benefitted from. He died when he was 54, of among other things,  problems caused by his childhood deprivation. At least he didn’t get to be as old and hard-heartedly foul as you have!
                Yes, I know NZ has one of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the developed world, but that doesn’t translate into their being the majority of women on the DPB. I think the true percentage of DPB recipients who are or were teen mothers is under 5% (I know others have firmer figures they could supply.)

  2. Gooner 2

    Agreed.  We must get wealthier as a nation. Instead the Labour Party focuses on making things cheaper and free, rather than making us all wealthier (i.e. GST off fruit and veges, interest free student loan, “cheaper” milk, 20hrs “free” childcare, “cheaper” housing).
    The Left needs a plan to make us wealthier.  Does it have one?  They had one in the 80’s, and it worked, but not since.

    • KJT 2.1

      It worked so well that skilled workers now get 40% less disposable income than in 1980. Those that are still here.
      83% rise in productivity. 15% rise in average wages, most of which went to non-productive sectors such as financial services.

      What does it take to persuade some people of the fact the great experiment since 1984 has been a total failure. Except for transferring the products of our efforts to a very few wealthy Kiwi’s and a great many overseas corporates.
      It even manged to produce recession when the rest of the world were not having one.

      See the Green new deal for ideas. http://www.greens.org.nz/gnd

    • Carol 2.2

      Gooner, a very selective post.  Yes Labour has policies that you are selectively trying to ignore, and which they will be gradually rolling out int he lead up to the election.  For instance there’s this:

      “Labour is developing policy that will tackle the vexed issue of private debt in a way that National is refusing to do, and it is focused on policies that create growth, jobs and savings as the sure way to prosperity.

      And this:

      DC: Oh yes, there is. I can tell you that I have a spreadsheet, which can, ah, roll out debt reduction within the forecast period, quite happily and can front end-load some immediate relief to New Zealand families. And we have pledged – I will repeat this pledge on, and now we will go to this election with a fully-costed, fiscally responsible set of policies that will relieve the pressure on Kiwi households, and grow the economy and give New Zealand the brighter future that its been cheated of , by this lacklustre National government.

      Thanks for the opportunity to draw attention to them again. You’re doing a fine job in highlighting the fact that the Left has well thought out policies, while NAct have an agenda that they aim to implement through a sloppy, ad hoc, opportunist approach, covered by a lot of spin.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      They had one in the 80′s, and it worked, but not since.

      Neo-liberalism doesn’t work. It rewards the rich by taking from the poor and, as we’re still following that stupid idea, will throw us back into depression and collapse civilisation. Due to the profit driven free-market we’ve used up all the resources which can only be called a failure and it’s all due to neo-liberalism.

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    This is laughable from Gooner

    The Left needs a plan to make us wealthier .

    Reality alert, National is the government . They won that about 2 1/2 years ago.

    But here one.  Reduce the income inequality. Easy peasy

  4. Jimbo 4

    News flash – successful parents are more likely to have successful children.
    Is this a suprise to anyone? I think it is wrong to draw straigt to the conclusion that wealth at home is the main reason a child succeeds, instead as a general rule people who succeed in aspects of life that society values are more likely to be wealthy.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      It’s not society that values the work that people do. If it was, the people working in financial services would get far lower incomes than they presently do and mothers would get far more. In fact, “society” has very little say in how people are valued – that service has been delegated to the irrational “market” which tends to do as it’s told by the rich.

      • Colonial Viper 4.1.1

        It’s an economy of the wealthy, by the wealthy, for the wealthy.
        The rest of you, just get back to work and don’t frakin’ complain, or else.

        • marsman

          CV or as Stiglitz puts it :-
          ‘Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%’.
          Parasites don’t care that their host’s children are being deprived.
          We have to fight to make things better for everybody!

      • Swampy 4.1.2

        Only if money is the sole means of determining value.

    • M 4.2

      How can wealth not be a good portion of the equation?

      If a child goes to school in cheap plastic shoes, threadbare clothes and with no breakfast, because despite their best efforts parents can’t make ends meet then all the so-called values don’t mean squat even if the parents value education and teach their kids respect for others and the environment.

      No money for school camps or any other modest extra-curricular activity effectively renders a child outside “society” or invisible because they will have no form of reference with their contemporaries or experience of their generation’s “culture”.

      • Swampy 4.2.1

        True. However many living in poverty aren’t giving their best efforts to making ends meet, the money goes on smokes, booze etc. That sort of people will never change no matter whether they have more money or not, and will not get a job but rather live on handouts.

        • Draco T Bastard

          And those people happen to be a minority making up less than 1% of the people on the UB. They are certainly not an excuse to not help all the rest that need it.

          • Swampy

            Says who? Got any statistics to back that up?

            • Colonial Viper

              Hey mate what a distraction…only a couple tens of millions of dollars a year gets lost in welfare fraud
              The real rorts are being run by banks, large corporates and the already wealthy.
              Southern Canterbury Finance for instance put the Government out by  $1.77B in just one month.
              You are distracting and playing with smoke and mirrors.

  5. Carol 5

    instead as a general rule people who succeed in aspects of life that society values are more likely to be wealthy.

    And what are these prized values?  Do they include ruthlessness, selfish individualism, valuing money over humanitarian values?
    And the children of the wealthy (who supposedly are rewarded for their values), get the benefit of the wealth, without effort & no matter whether their values coincide with those of their parents.

    • Swampy 5.1

      Values that are practiced by people poor as well as rich. The difference being the poor don’t have enough left to provide for their families after they have partied, gambled or otherwise wasted their money.

      • rosy 5.1.1

        The difference being the poor don’t have enough left to provide for their families after they have partied, gambled or otherwise wasted their money.

        You are assuming that that is the only reason for educational under-achievement of poorer communities. This article is about whole communities, not individual families.

        And you think their children should pay in having no educational aspiration or encouragement from home and no input from the state to make up the difference? That really is about leaving kids on the scrapheap and increasing the underclass. I suppose as long as they don’t live in your neighbourhood and are not enrolled in your kids’ schools that’s all right then?

        • Swampy

          It’s not the only reason. However it is a major in poor communities.

          “no educational aspiration or encouragement from home”

          How do you suppose to change this? It is not the role of the state to fill in the gap of poor parenting.

          • rosy

            It is not the role of the state to fill in the gap of poor parenting

            If you want a half-decent society it is. Better funding for Plunket, SureStart, ECE and community support programmes would help.

          • Colonial Viper

            It is not the role of the state to fill in the gap of poor parenting.

            yeah let those kids rot, good thing is that those private prisons will be making great profits when youth offending rockets up.
            Swampy = cruel callous Righty selling NZ’s future for a profit

            I should add that many parents would appreciate being able to learn more skills and to have more support in doing a better job raising their children – that is the very least the state can provide.

      • HC 5.1.2

        So the poor are partying, gambling and wasting their money. Yeah right! You are up there holier than thou!?
        I have never read so much garbage being provided in this thread by anyone but you.
        What about the rich pricks living it up, like finance company rip-off artists living the high life. Once the pnzey scheme collapses they take off overseas, or have themselves declared “bankrupt” and hand over remaining wealth, assets and companies to their wives or partners, so they can continue driving their mercs, porsches and drink champagne at the casino.
        All after they ripped off the hundreds of thousands of savings of the hard working joe average. I am sure they are successful, because they work so hard.
        There are property speculators, forex dealers, insurance sales hawkers, lawyers earning huge fees on bailing executives out, accountants counting the beans that the average worker has to pay in increasing power, water and other utilities.
        Come down to planet earth and have another look around. Or are you high on success at the moment?

  6. fabregas4 6

    For further evidence consider what type of country was when we didn’t have this so called tail in education (and, sadly, in every other area too).  Now that the neo-liberal reforms have changed our country forever and for the worse, is it really a surprise that kids fail and is it really fair that schools are charged to minimise the affect of these changes?   Now that we need fruit in schools and breakfast clubs and teachers bring used clothing for their students, now that many children live below the poverty line who really is to blame for under-achievement?

    • Rob 6.1

      Its not really that kids are failing more from what I can see but more than they have more expectation placed on them to pass. There is less acceptance that some kids do take a little bit longer to learn or they would benefit from a different style of training instead these days. We like to train everyone to be mini-university lecturers.

      • Vicky32 6.1.1

        There is less acceptance that some kids do take a little bit longer to learn or they would benefit from a different style of training instead these days.

        Which reminds me of what I heard on the radio the other day. National want to close off access to student loans, to over 50 year olds on the grounds that they are at the end of their working life.
        Even if that was true, and it’s not, it shows that NACT think of all education as vocational training these days! My nephew is doing a Masters degree in Fine Arts. Chances are he will always be on the bones of his proverbial. Luckily his parents didn’t say to him “what good will that do you in getting a well-paying job?”. (Less than none as far as I can see, but more power to him – lucky his parents are hippies, and as poor as church mice so Mike can get a student allowance.
        Education is not all about making money!


        • Swampy

          The first most important vocation is to support yourself in employment. Therefore vocational training is one of the most important functions of education. 

          This is also why higher education needs to be kept focused on just the education itself without all that lifestyle stuff, like the students unions, funded by compulsory levies.

  7. Four letter quick fix – revo.

  8. Swampy 8

    It’s not the government’s responsibility to raise people’s incomes. Welfare generates perverse outcomes. People need to change their approach to life and get on with a job that they enjoy doing. It is mostly a question of attitude, you don’t need very much money to do well in life, that is the exceptional group of people outside that “largely” group that make things happen on limited income. It is a shame that they are exceptional rather than ordinary and that too many poorer people spend their lives complaining and absolving their responsibilities.

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      It’s not the government’s responsibility to raise people’s incomes.

      It’s part of the social contract between Government and the people.
      Lose that and you will see the Government lose its legitimacy.

      People need to change their approach to life and get on with a job that they enjoy doing.

      What, work longer and longer hours for less and less pay, to make your rich masters richer and richer?
      Frak off, we’re going to choose a different path.

      • Swampy 8.1.1

        The government only can raise the income of people that are on welfare and this should be the exception not the rule. For working people they negotiate with their employer (through their union) for pay increases etc.

        I don’t know what path you have in mind. I know that I can live a fulfilling life on $350 gross/week. Whether I have a lot or a little, it’s a mindset that tells me I don’t need much more.

        • HC

          I guess you have your own portable card board house that you carry with you. For that kind of gross income of $ 350 per week you can certainly live comfortably if you do not need to pay much in the way of rent.
          Even just flatting does now require about $130 to $ 180 per week for a rented room a week. That is without any expenses.
          So after paying that, for transport and groceries, then you have $ 10 left for your weekend outing or what?
          But then some live in “transitory” living arrangements where this may be normal. Once you live in a proper house your expenses will be more than such an income a week.
          With your arguments and supposed humility you will probably claim that you could raise a family on that and give your kids a good start???

        • Colonial Viper

          The government only can raise the income of people that are on welfare and this should be the exception not the rule.

          The Government can raise the income of all workers by setting a minimum wage, and possibly through the introduction of a universal income.
          You are taking a decidedly unimaginative view of what Government can do.
          Which is lots, far more than any corporation or private enterprise.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      It’s not the government’s responsibility to raise people’s incomes.

      Yes it is. The whole point of having a society is to make everyone better off and the government is the administrative arm of the people tasked to do exactly that.

      • Gooner 8.2.1

        Is there anything the government isn’t to do under your utopia?
        Raise wages – check.
        Distribute wealth – check.
        Own and run hospitals – check.
        Own and run airlines – check.
        Own and run railways – check.
        Own and run power companies – check.
        Own and run schools and universities – check.
        Pay $36 million to rich sailors – check.
        Grow government, ministries and rule the peasants by stealth – check.

        Now I understand Aunty Helen’s quote in better detail: “the government’s role was whatever the government defined it to be”.


        • Draco T Bastard

          Wasn’t my choice to pay millions to either the sailors or the rugby players.

          Grow government, ministries and rule the peasants by stealth – check.

          That’s what Jonkey and NACT are doing. Personally, I prefer open democracies where the people decide, after being given well researched information from the ministries, and then the government implements.

          • neoleftie

            clare curran did some work on introducing internet based decison making at a grassroot level – didnt get anywhere surprisingly but i give her some cred for trying to bring about true democracy, power to the plebs

            • Draco T Bastard

              Give it time and get people used to the idea and it will, eventually, catch on. I actually think the experiment in Open Government that Labour did went quite well. There was a lot of discussion of it right through. Had a lot of voters on the policy pages etc.

        • Puddleglum

          Gooner – doesn’t John Key think the government can affect incomes in New Zealand? How else could he promise to close the wage gap with Australia?

          (These days, I’ve noticed they don’t talk about the wage gap’ – it’s the income gap and their favoured measurement is either GNP per capita or GDP per capita. That is, they favour measurements that don’t measure wages and incomes that individuals get in their employment.)

        • Colonial Viper

          Is there anything the government isn’t to do under your utopia?

          We all need to strive to utopian ideals. The belief that we can make life better tomorrow, make society better tomorrow, by striving today, is crucial.
          Never let go of your utopian ideals.
          National would have us belief that their agenda of shit and oppression for the under classes and the working classes is all we can have. Tell them to frak off come November 26.

      • Swampy 8.2.2

        And exactly how it is that you propose they do this.

        The minimum wage only affects people who get paid it. Welfare only affects people who are on it. Working for families should have actually been implemented as a tax cut. WFF discriminates against people who don’t have children.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Set minimum wages at the average, have a universal income so that people out of work don’t crash and burn and then set max income at 3 times average.
          I think you’ll find that affects everyone.

          • Colonial Viper

            and then set max income at 3 times average.

            Maybe I’m a bad socialist but I think that 25x to 30x the median income (~$29000 p.a.) is a good upper limit.
            Around $800K p.a.
            80% or 90% tax rate to kick in for every dollar after that level.

            • Draco T Bastard

              If you set the minimum wage at the present average (~$60k/year) then I seriously doubt that anyone could get to 3 times the average.

      • Swampy 8.2.3

        How about replying to the whole post instead of your one line mantra. The government does not set wages that are negotiated between an employer and employee which covers the majority of people. 

        The government does not pay my wages therefore it has no role in setting my income.

        • Colonial Viper

          The government does not pay my wages therefore it has no role in setting my income.

          Wrong, the Government can require employers to do whatever it deems is required.
          That’s the power of being in Government.
          It is far more power than any employer or corporate has.

    • too many poorer people spend their lives complaining and absolving their responsibilities

      Is this a ‘hunch’ or are you relying on some research? I ask, because the research on ‘attribution‘ that I’m aware of, suggests that all people tend to attribute their successes to ‘internal factors’ (i.e., their hard work, talent, intelligence, determination, etc.) and their failures to ‘external factors’ (i.e., bad luck, the competition, the government, ‘red tape’, etc.).

      These tendencies are called ‘self-serving’ but the point to note is that they apply to all people at similar rates. The tendency has nothing to do with being poorer. In fact, if we’re going on hunches, I’m stunned at the number of poorer people who don’t blame society for their failures. A lot of them actually end up depressed or with other psychological problems because they – incorrectly – blame themselves. If anything, then, my hunch is that they are more inclined than the ‘successful’ to blame themselves for their failures. (In support of this hunch, note the example given in the link above.)

      • Swampy 8.3.1

        Alright. So there are two ways you have described of approaching adverse circumstances. Blame someone else or blame yourself.

        Or a third option. Don’t blame anyone. Just get over it and get on with life.

        • Colonial Viper

          Or a third option. Don’t blame anyone. Just get over it and get on with life.

          And let the scoundrels Key and English off with their bullshit?
          Not on your life.
          They are redistributing wealth upwards, and what can be taken can easily be gotten back.

  9. There’s an interesting chapter in Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ that mentions clever research that established pretty conclusively in the US that educational achievement is a direct result of home socio-economic environment rather than attendance at different ‘decile’ schools (or their SES equivalent of decile ratings).

    The researcher tested students at schools across the socioeconomic spectrum both at the end of the school year and at the beginning (the US has standard SATs during school – the researcher basically used the tests twice rather than once). In brief, all schools added, per year, about the same point increase in the SATs – irrespective of where the schools were. But, big jumps in SAT scores happened for the wealthier children over the summer break. That ‘summer advance’ kept occurring each year so that, by the end of a number of years the children from the wealthier areas were well ahead on the tests.

    • Swampy 9.1

      So they were doing extra work in their summer break, then they got ahead. Which is how their parents got wealthy, by working harder.

      • HC 9.1.1

        It is also called greed and elitism – wanting to be someone “better” than others. That requires to create an environment to have someone or others to look down upon. All this is utter selfishness and the source of a lot of the problems we have right now all over this globe.
        Salute your yellow cockatoo from Epsom! He loves such a philosphy and has many brochures propagating that mental perversion.

      • Draco T Bastard 9.1.2

        So they were doing extra work in their summer break, then they got ahead.

        Yep, probably through Summer School which isn’t as available to the poor because they can’t afford it.

  10. Swampy 10

    Wealth is a crude way of measuring the qualities people need to get ahead in life. Being wealthy is a direct reflection of the attributes needed to succeed at anything, hard work, positive attitude, determination etc.

    The good news, and these stats prove it, is that those attributes themselves don’t cost anything, and people can employ them regardless of their financial circumstances.

    The fact that even 66% pass at decile 1 shows that 66 percent of even the children from the poorest schools in the land pass this qualification, tends to bear that out.

    • HC 10.1

      Hard work, hard work, hard work – yeah! I have a lot of life experience also, and I have seen many work hard all their lives and get little thanks or decent rewards.
      “Wealth is a crude way of measuring the qualities people need to get ahead in life. Being wealthy is a direct reflection of the attributes needed to succeed at anything, hard work, positive attitude, determination etc.”
      What about the millions of Chinese slaving away in factories doing 12 hour days and living on incomes that barely pay their bunk bed accommodation, their food and train ticket to the province, from where they come to do “migrant work” in the factories in Shenzen and other places.
      They can work until they drop dead and will never achieve much.
      Your self righteous pseudo ethical value system is nonsensical when applied in many situations in real life.
      To really improve a person’s life a good education is needed. Only that way do people get higher qualifications and a better start into life.
      Statistics prove that children of wealthier parents get a better “start” than those who come from poor backgrounds. They are also more likely to be able to afford study fees. I know many examples where mum and dad gave their kids a good head start by helping with this and that.
      You can moralise as much as you like, but your arguments are barely half of the truth. The rest is simply lacking.
      It reminds me a bit about the book “How to become a millionaire”. According to that we would all be able to become millionaires.

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