Educational inequality and state-sponsored elite education: the case of the Dutch gymnasium

Comparative Education 56:522-546 (2020)
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In this paper the authors examine the role the Dutch gymnasium continues to play in the institutional maintenance of educational inequality. To that end they examine the relational and spatial features of state-sponsored elite education in the Dutch system: the unique identity the gymnasium seeks to cultivate; its value to its consumers; its geographic significance; and its market position amidst a growing array of other selective forms of schooling. They argue that there is a strong correlation between a higher social class background and the concern to transmit one’s cultural habitus. They further speculate on the moral implications of state-sponsored elite education, both as it concerns the specific role of the gymnasium in the reproduction of social inequality as well as the curious tendency among its supporters to rationalise the necessity of its existence.
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