As usual, I was just reading the news and this article Shopping for ‘good’ public schools in NSW reinforcing equity gap: research on news.com.au got me interested. I took a few parts and you can read them if you do not want to wade through the original article.
The most sought-after public high schools and their strict catchments are creating a worsening cycle of segregation, effectively locking out poor students and giving wealthy families almost exclusive access to their “better” local schools, research reveals.
The paper found there was a “rather straightforward link between the affluence of a community and the desirability of a community’s school”.
The proposed the solution is
The paper suggests that schools should make at least 10 per cent of places available to students from outside the schools’ immediate catchment areas.
Dr Rowe said: “As part of this, we need to implement blind selection processes for a proportion of places available in a school, rather than competitive access based on testing, academic or sporting merit”.
While I do not dispute the fact that schools in the more affluent area are more desirable. This is a chicken and egg scenario where because the area is more affluent and desirable to live which attracted more affluent families this, in turn, leads to more desirable local public school due better resourced, educated and similarly minded parents. The link and reference to the article that parents are in fact shopping for peers rather than shopping schools are very true indeed. You can put this same bunch of parents with their children to any public school and they will excel. If the parents are shopping for schools will likely mean they will pay attention and invest in more resource in their children’s education. Given 10 percent spots to out of catchment will do exactly nothing to address the issue as applications are likely parents who are seeking quality education for their children and willing to invest time plus money into it.
Also, enrolment in NSW is fairly reasonable, you do not have to own and live in the catchment to be able to be accepted. You could simply be renting in the catchment and still guaranteed a position. I do know many parents specifically rent in the catchment of top ranking public schools to guarantee the enrolment for their children. Access to top ranked public schools are less to do with the affluence of the family but more of the willingness and drive of the parents to do so. Public education is Australia is still affordable to all families and what you get out of it is depend on what you willing to invest in terms of money and effort.
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