Society will be much improved by loosening the stranglehold of top universities on the education of elites. But how?

Jennifer M Morton in Aeon:

Education is crucial to a democratic society because it is how we ensure that future citizens will have the knowledge and skills our societies need. In countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France, some educational institutions play a further role – they educate the elite. All of the current Supreme Court Justices in the US attended either Harvard University or Yale Law School. In the UK, 41 out of 54 of the country’s past prime ministers received their education at the University of Oxford or the University of Cambridge. Seven recent French presidents and 12 prime ministers attended the Paris Institute of Political Studies, commonly called Sciences Po. These universities pride themselves not only in offering superb educational opportunities, but in educating those who will go on to hold influential positions.

One might reasonably ask, how is a system of educational institutions for the elite democratic? Ideally, a democratic society should make sure that the interests of all sectors of society are represented. Those in the elite have disproportionate power in making their voices heard, whether through lobbying, writing policy briefs, or deciding what news gets coverage in The Times or The Wall Street Journal, while voices from groups and classes with less power are chronically underrepresented. The idea of an elite would seem to be at odds with central democratic values.

More here.