Tag Archives: Australian schools

Rich Kids Get Special Advantages In Australian Schools

Wealthy parents are quick to denounce special privileges for poor children as examples of quota schemes that deny admission to the best and brightest. Of course, in America George Bush was admitted to Yale as a legacy as are thousands of other children of the elite who take advantage of schemes to admit individuals on the basis of wealth and social status. Australia has recently witnessed an extraordinary explosion in “special consideration” giving children who are taking entrance exams. Ostensibly, “special consideration” is for children with learning disabilities, but according to many elite schools, that could mean extra time to complete a test, assistance with handwriting(and answers?) sweaty palms and a host of such critical issues children encounter during an exam.

Private schools in Australia seek such considerations at twice the rate of public schools, and Masada College gave nearly 30% of students taking exams special considerations. The private school of Reddham House won special consideration for 36% of those taking the test. One can only wonder what parents of these children would be saying if one-third of poor children obtained special considerations. Of course, the poor simply do not understand that “special considerations” is meant for children of “special parents,” particularly those with some spare money.

Australian Government Wants Parents To Know All!

The Australian government has decided parents are entitled to all pertinent information not merely concerning their child’s performance in school, but how does the school rank in education categories. ACT Education Minister Andrew Barr said “parents and carers will now have more information bout their child’s progress than ever before, and we encourage parents and carers to use this information to speak with their child’s teacher.” However, Education Minister Julia Gillard also raised the issue of comparing school performance. On one hand, she said, “if one school was performing better than another , the information might reveal why, allowing the best practice to spread from one to another.”

This issue raises many questions. A basic assumption is test scores reveal which is a “performing” or “not performing” school. Despite promises, in the end, parents will obtain information concerning test results and place greater demands on schools to improve test scores. There are a host of other factors which also should be available ranging from funding to experience levels of teachers. Information is important to any parent, but educators must also deal with issues pertaining to the meaning and goals of education.