Yet another attack on middle class parents getting the best school places

February 14, 2008 3:04 PM

This time it is the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics arguing that the middle class are securing all the best school places.  Is it just me or have there been a lot of these studies?


There seems to be one almost every fortnight.  They all make exactly the same point.  The middle classes are getting places in the best schools by playing the system better.  I have no idea why so many researchers from so many think tanks have decided to address the same subject in such a similar way.


Presumably they think that if this kind of study is carried out often enough people will get the message and support lotteries for school places.  What they don't realise is that it isn't an ignorance of the problem that causes people to find their proposal unconvincing but a different analysis as to the best solution.


Lotteries are an admission of failure.  An admission that we can't find a rational way of allocating students to schools and are going to settle for complete irrationality.  Instead, we should look to make it easier for parents to choose the right school for their children, so it isn't only those who can afford to move into the right catchment area or pay for private schooling who have choice.  Greater choice, and greater competition can drive up standards in all schools as students are no longer trapped by poor fortune into a failing school.

This time it is the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics arguing that the middle class are securing all the best school places.  Is it just me or have there been a lot of these studies?


There seems to be one almost every fortnight.  They all make exactly the same point.  The middle classes are getting places in the best schools by playing the system better.  I have no idea why so many researchers from so many think tanks have decided to address the same subject in such a similar way.


Presumably they think that if this kind of study is carried out often enough people will get the message and support lotteries for school places.  What they don't realise is that it isn't an ignorance of the problem that causes people to find their proposal unconvincing but a different analysis as to the best solution.


Lotteries are an admission of failure.  An admission that we can't find a rational way of allocating students to schools and are going to settle for complete irrationality.  Instead, we should look to make it easier for parents to choose the right school for their children, so it isn't only those who can afford to move into the right catchment area or pay for private schooling who have choice.  Greater choice, and greater competition can drive up standards in all schools as students are no longer trapped by poor fortune into a failing school.

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