As students, we were treated as integral branding collateral. We weren’t allowed to eat or drink anything other than water in public, colour our hair, have piercings or tattoos; (technically) girls weren’t allowed to wear makeup, or have our skirts above our knees.
Strict aesthetic regulations were championed as necessary for teaching young people how to be “respectable,” but the classist subtext of expending copious resources and energy on ensuring teenagers don’t express themselves creatively through blue hair and a septum ring, or other “low class” trends, is hard to ignore.
I once witnessed a teacher telling a year 8 student that she could “see all her whore-ish make up” in the light. A well meaning sports teacher pulled me aside after I forgot to wear bloomers under my netball skirt to warn me not to reveal my Bonds underwear around boys again. This is how young girls are ted of their bodies.
The school wasn’t oppressively conservative either; we had “body, mind and spirit” classes in place of religious education, and no one was shamed for being gay (at least not by teachers), or told that the only viable career paths available to them were doctor, lawyer or merchant banker
It would be unfair to illustrate my former school as an aristocrat factory without colouring in the nuances and joys of my experience.
I excelled at athletics, joined the debating team, achieved a final score that granted me access to my first university preference, and made lifelong friends. Many of my teachers were intelligent and passionate people who very clearly cared about their students. Quite to the contrary, which makes sense considering a creative and unstable career path is best suited to young people free to play around while they wait for their inheritance.
Though it was never overtly stated, the message was clear: don’t present yourself sexually, don’t let your appearance signal that you are a slut, don’t be a slut
The school wasn’t exclusively populated by the children of haughty elitists who wanted their baby geniuses shielded from povo “flat rats” either, (although I suspect there was a bit of that). Many wonderful, open minded people sent their children there, including middle class families who struggled financially to secure that promised leg up in life.
New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, who has written extensively about racial and socioeconomic segregation in American schools, describes her own decision to send her daughter to a local public school as follows:
One of the things I’ve done in my work is show the hypocrisy of progressive people who say they believe in inequality, but when it comes to their individual choices about where they’re going to live and where they’re going to send their children, they make very different decisions .
My daughter is not going to get an education that she would get if I paid $40,000 a year in private school tuition, but that’s serwisy randkowe dla seniorГіw powyЕјej 60 kind of the whole point of public schools. I know she’s learning a lot. I think it is making her a good citizen. I think it is teaching her that children who have less resources than her are not any less intelligent than her, not any less worthy than her. And I truly don’t think she’s deserving of more than other kids. I just don’t
As Hannah-Jones wrote: “True integration, true equality requires a surrendering of advantage, and when it comes to our own children, that can feel almost unnatural.”
Scholarships to private schools remain highly sought after because everyone wants to give their children the best opportunities, beginning with a “good” education and the “right” connections. The fear that their kids will miss out on these things is what causes otherwise progressive people to support institutions that are pivotal to the maintenance of structural inequality within society.