Well-intentioned 'chartas' as this one answer the 'so what?' question by hinting at working-class students as a great human resource of highly motivated (read: pretty cheap) knowledge workers. These just can not be left by the wayside as Germany needs them in its competition with other national economies, the story goes.
It is quite ironic that those students whose parents were reduced to canon fodder of mind-numbing physical labor are discussed through the lens of economic necessity. This time, however, the offspring of working-class people is considered as a much-needed pool of innovative intellectual workers in the knowledge factory of academia. Capitalism has changed from a production-based mode to a knowledge-driven one after all.
By blocking working-class kids from entering the universities (and blocked they are) and by driving them out of academic careers by middle class chauvinism, more is thrown out of the window than a high number of hungry knowledge laborers. On the level of knowledge production, there is a loss too.
Working-class students bring with them a number of hugely valuable experiences, attitudes and insights that can lead to some serious critique. Without them, this critique falls under the table more easily. This excellent 1977 anthropological study of working-class "lads" by Paul Willis, titled Learning to Labour, highlights the often unrecognized critical potential that working-class students bring with them. Although this is not the end of it (as we will see in the following blogs), it does give a first idea of what is at stake:
The working class does not have to believe the dominant ideology. It does not need the mask of democracy to cover its face of oppression. The very existence and consciousness of the middle class is deeply integrated into that structure which gives its dominance. There are none who believe so well as those who oppress as honest men. What kind of bourgeoisie is it that does not in some way believe its own legitimations? That would be the denial of themselves. It would be the solution of a problem of which they were the main puzzle. It would invite self-destruction as the next logical move. The working class is the only group in capitalism that does not have to believe in capitalist legitimations as a condition of its own survival.