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.