I've had some thoughtful responses to my last post about Nancy and the blight of children of working class families. It would be interesting to know the difference between working class kids who make it and those who don't -- other than working hard. Making it means having aspirations and aspirations mean have some examples or experiences that tell you what is possible and then having the self esteem to believe you can do it. If the working class family does not read, does not go to museums, and does not stress achievement then it comes down, I think, to teachers who inspire. Yes, the terribly underpaid elementary or middle school teachers may be key in determining what happens to working class kids. They can help the kids develop a "taste" for learning that they may not develop just from their parents.
This all gets to the point that I know of no working class person who status jumped (moved more than one rung up the socioeconomic ladder from his or her parents) without some luck. By the luck of the draw there is a inspirational teacher or second aunt -- someone who alerts the person to the possibilities. It could be a school counselor (as it was in my case) or just a school friend.