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Elite Government School Contribute to social divide in education

Posted on 5 May 2018
Elite Government School Contribute to social divide in education
Above: McKinnon Secondary College in Melbourne is an example of a Government "School of Choice" with very strict zoning to govern enrolments.

PRIVATE school snobbery is leaking into the public system and it's sending otherwise normal parents batty, broke or both. Zoned schools are now the Holy Grail of the public system, with parents seemingly stopping at nothing to get their cherubs into the school of the moment.

An Auditor-General's report into school infrastructure released this month found for the first time that more than half of primary and secondary school enrolments now come from outside the local catchment.

We've all heard the stories about parents turning into, depending on your view, entrepreneurs or white-collar criminals to sneak their kids into a school outside their area.

There's the parent who paid to hire a letterbox; the interstate school which found 14 families claiming to live at the same address; the parents who took on some light forgery to supply a school with fake documents.

Then there are those who pay for rental properties or fork out up to $100,000 extra for a house in the right spot. All this has led to schools becoming private investigators, checking the validity of enrolments, a bunch of tattletale parents spying on each other and real estate agents with grins as wide as Luna Park.

And for what? It's unlikely a school in your area is so terrible as to warrant the effort or cost required to squeeze into a "better" school's zone.

You and your child are not shrugging off your lower middleclass heritage because you hike across town to the zoned school while your neighbour's kids pop down the road to the local.

There's no evidence to suggest the effort and expense will translate into your child being a better performer academically or in life. The only thing a zone tells us is that a school is popular for the time being. And that popularity is often based on a perception created around a school or the look of it when you walk through the gates. It says nothing about the quality of the teachers, resources or actual education your child will receive.

If we continue to turn up our noses at our neighbourhood schools it will only lead to them sitting half-empty with funding channelled away from them and towards the zoned school nearby which is bursting at the seams.

The only measure of a school's success should be how good it is for your child, not how hard it is to get into.

From: Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne  by Katie Bice

29 Apr 2018

KATIE BICE IS THE SUNDAY HERALD SUN DEPUTY EDITOR katie.bice@news.com.au @ktbice

Tags: Government

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