St Posh vs Bog Standard High: how the school system can fight poverty and privilege

Feb 7, 2018 by

By Jane Caro –

I often think that the greatest risk any of us take in our lifetime is to be born because none of us have any idea the circumstances into which we are going to arrive. Even in prosperous Australia some kids are born lucky and some kids are not.

And that is something it is vital to remember; no child is disadvantaged through their own doing. They are disadvantaged because they have been born to parents who have been less able to navigate their way through life than another child’s parents.

Poverty is still intergenerational in Australia and so, unfortunately, is privilege. And that’s the trouble with handing over all responsibility for educating kids to parents. It can do nothing else but entrench privilege and under-privilege.

Universal, secular, public education provided by taxpayers, open to all children regardless of their parentage, religion or circumstances remains the best mechanism any society has ever come up with for narrowing the gaps between kids and their opportunities.

Yet Australia is an outlier when it comes to governments, particularly federal governments, doing all they can to encourage the parents of the luckier children to desert the public education system. It seems to be government policy to create ghettos of privilege and underprivilege, to the detriment of everyone.

Indeed a recent OECD report warns that Australia’s disadvantaged kids are becoming less likely to overcome their background than children from similar countries. What a criminal waste of talent, potential and hope.

Source: St Posh vs Bog Standard High: how the school system can fight poverty and privilege – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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