Is inequality growing in Canada’s public schools?
February 17, 2012
The Globe and Mail reports that international research is unanimous about the inequities created by school choice. According to the OECD, there is growing social inequality and segregation in public schools.
From the Globe and Mail, Erin Anderssen, February 17, 2012:
Securing a spot for your child in the most desirable public school requires a combination of clever machinations and outdoor survival skills. And good luck to those who fail to plan their strategy before the registration deadline.
…Even cash-strapped boards are offering more specialized school programs, charter schools and generally loosening cross-boundary transfers – keen to retain the best students and appease their vocal, well-organized parents. It’s a trend that’s happening across the Western world. But growing research – including a new report this month from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – has also uncovered a worrying side effect: growing social inequality and segregation in public schools.
That shouldn’t be a surprise: The parents with the savvy to write letters, the time to line up and the resources to drive across town to get their kids to the better schools are usually not the ones working two jobs and split shifts, just trying to get by.
People For Education Viewpoint:
The danger of “social polarization.”
The Globe article says that international research shows unequivocally that affluent parents are more likely to exercise choice. The author says that “several studies found that parents often based their choice on the social status of the school population, as opposed to strictly academic performance, leading to increased class segregation in schools.”
Parents do want to be able to make choices for their children, and all students are different, but it is vital that we pay attention to this research which shows that a) choice is only open to those with the capacity to choose, and b) student populations suffer from social polarization in education systems where there is a combination of choice and specialty schools.