Among the best-known poems coming out of Merry Olde Englande in the past many decades is the gem by Philip Larkin that starts thusly:
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
Bosh, says sociologist Frank Furedi in a ripping good read over at the always-great Spiked. Such "parental determinism" has become a hard fact of British politics (and American too!) and is wronger than wrong:
Policymakers in the Lib-Con coalition seem to believe that the quality of parenting can determine just about everything in a child's future. They even believe that parenting, when done well, can help to overcome society's structural inequalities… In comparison with parental determinism, the economic determinism of Stalinism or the racial determinism of the old eugenics lobby seem positively subtle. That such voodoo science can shape the thinking of policymakers reflects the exhaustion of the political imagination today.
Furedi's piece is in reaction to a speech by Nick Clegg in which the leader cited "a study which concluded that the amount of interest parents show in their child's education is four times more significant than socioeconomic circumstances in impacting on educational achievement at the age of 16." Whole thing here.
So what do you think? Parents or poverty?