In this book Diane Reay, herself working class turned Cambridge professor, brings Brian Jackson and Dennis Marsden’s pioneering Education and the Working Class from 1962 up to date for the 21st century.
Drawing on over 500 interviews, the book, part of the 21st Century Standpoints series published in association with the British Sociological Association, includes rich, vivid stories from working class children and young people. It looks at class identity, the inadequate sticking plaster of social mobility, and the effects of wider economic and social class relationships on working class educational experiences.
The book addresses the urgent question of why the working classes are still faring so much worse than the upper and middle classes in education. It reveals how we have ended up with an educational system that still educates the different social classes in fundamentally different ways, and vitally – what we can do to achieve a fairer system.
“Miseducation would benefit anyone interested in social mobility and education in the UK… Reay’s contribution to debates on education and social background is to personalise everyday working-class experiences of school and university, something usually absent from current discourse. This, combined with statistical evidence of the extent of inequalities, makes for particularly engaging reading.” LSE Review of Books
“Incredibly insightful and passionate … Diane Reay really does get class. Mandatory reading for anyone proclaiming greater equity in education.” John Smyth, University of Huddersfield
“No one has done more than Diane Reay to confront the complex emotions in living class inequalities in education. Her heartbreaking volume bears damning witness to neoliberalism’s contributions to the injuries of class.“ Lynne Layton, Harvard Medical School
"Diane Reay's compelling analysis synthesises memoir, a wealth of personal testimonies and statistics to reveal a hidden story of Britain's education system. Her sharply argued book demonstrates why selective education is bad for all of us." Selina Todd, St Hilda's College, Oxford
"This searing critique of how schools and universities fail the working class and reproduce inequalities should be at the heart of contemporary debates on education." Andrew Sayer, University of Lancaster
“A trenchant portrayal of class processes in twentieth and early twenty-first century England…. a must read for all those interested in educational opportunities, the global economy, and the ways in which working class individuals and collectivities construct and live under conditions of massively intensifying inequalities.“ Lois Weis, State University of New York, University at Buffalo, USA, Author of Class Reunion: The Remaking of the American White Working Class
"Passionate, provocative and deeply troubling, this book examines contemporary working-class education.... should be required reading for politicians of both the left and especially the right." Tim Strangleman, University of Kent
"Intellectually compelling and inspiring in the way it systematically exposes the myth of meritocracy in economically unequal societies. It will inspire those who read it to work cooperatively for social justice both in education and society." Kathleen Lynch, University College Dublin, School of Education
Diane Reay grew up in a working-class coal-mining community before becoming an inner-city primary school teacher for 20 years. She is now Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge and visiting Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, with particular interests in social justice issues in education, and cultural analyses of social class, race and gender. She has researched extensively in the areas of social class, gender and ethnicity across primary, secondary and post-compulsory stages of education.
Why can’t education compensate for society?;
The recent history of class in education;
Working-class educational experiences;
Class in the classroom;
Social Mobility: a problematic solution;
The middle and upper classes: Getting the ‘best’ for your own child;
Class feeling: Troubling the soul and preying on the psyche;
Epilogue: Thinking through class.