School Lotteries

The use of lotteries to award school places has been criticised as it emerged the first random selection scheme resulted in fewer children getting places at their preferred secondary this year.

Sigh.

That, of course, is the point, For some of those children might be the evil spawn of the middle class, attempting to choose the education they desire to receive, rather than the one the State wishes to provide.

And we can\’t have that happening now, can we?

8 comments on “School Lotteries

  1. Government ministers are worried as they have a compelling cause to be. The myths are being stripped away. After ten years of New Labour:

    “Comparing surveys of children born in the 1950s and the 1970s, the researchers went on to examine the reason for Britain’s low, and declining, mobility. They found that it is in part due to the strong and increasing relationship between family income and educational attainment.

    “For these children, additional opportunities to stay in education at age 16 and age 18 disproportionately benefited those from better off backgrounds. For a more recent cohort born in the early 1980s the gap between those staying on in education at age 16 narrowed, but inequality of access to higher education has widened further: while the proportion of people from the poorest fifth of families obtaining a degree has increased from 6 per cent to 9 per cent, the graduation rates for the richest fifth have risen from 20 per cent to 47 per cent.”
    http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/pressAndInformationOffice/newsAndEvents/archives/2005/LSE_SuttonTrust_report.htm

    Dreadful, but Britain’s almost unique problem among affluent countries is the high drop-out rate from education and training at 16. In 2005:

    “The schools minister Jacqui Smith admitted that the number of 16 year olds who stay on in education in the UK is lower than in other countries and asked them to consider studying A-levels or taking an apprenticeship. . .

    “Last year [2004], a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) revealed that Britain came seventh from bottom in a league table of staying-on rates [in education and training] for 19 countries. Only Mexico and Turkey had significantly lower rates of participation for this age group. Italy, New Zealand, Portugal and Slovakia have marginally lower rates.”
    http://education.guardian.co.uk/gcses/story/0,16086,1555547,00.html

    Of course, what’s not clear is how introducing random allocation of children to secondary schools at 11 is going to promote higher staying-on rates in education at 16.

    How many other affluent countries engage in random allocations to secondary school to boost social mobility?

  2. The problem is that by letting the middle class kids escape to better schools, the better schools get better and the worse schools get worse, because they have more poorer (and thus more disruptive) kids.

    The question is how to reconcile the fact that either smart kids can go to good schools and get smarter and richer themselves, or they can stay in poor schools and not do so well, but improve the attainment of the other children.

  3. Perhaps teachers should be allocated randomly to schools. And children to families. And genes to offspring.

  4. “The problem is that by letting the middle class kids escape to better schools, the better schools get better and the worse schools get worse, because they have more poorer (and thus more disruptive) kids.”

    Right – choice of schooling is destabilising. But then that can also be said of choice of residential location so what does the government propose to do about that?

    However, how come Britain has such a high drop-out rate from education and training – a major cause of pay inequalities – compared with almost all other affluent countries?

  5. “The question is how to reconcile the fact that either smart kids can go to good schools and get smarter and richer themselves, or they can stay in poor schools and not do so well, but improve the attainment of the other children.”

    No, the question is how to get schools to provide a better education to all pupils. And the answer is the market, via parental choice and vouchers.

  6. There are teachers who can handle bright / cooperative kids. There are teachers who can handle dumb / disruptive kids. They are rarely the same person and they are rarely able to work in classes where the kids are mixed.

    Putting the tough kids in schools / classes with tough teachers works.

    But that would be accepting reality and we can’t do that.

  7. Stephen, a market for education would provide exactly what I said: parents who could afford it would send their children to the best schools. Those who couldn’t would be stuck with sending their children to the poor schools. Pretty much the situation we have now.

    Unless we add some fairly tight controls onto the market system that eg. give poorer parents a higher value voucher, and/or heavily tax parents wanting to “top up” their vouchers to go to a better school.

  8. This is the social engineering, fast forward into the gutter, program for the middle and working classes. They don’t want us to have upward mobility. It offends, and undermines them. Downward mobility, on the other hand, gives them a stranglehold on the future. Their seedcorn is the pregnant teenager, the crystal meth addict, the ASBO artist. Cultivate enough leeches like that, and you stay in office till the end of your days. It’s called corruption. Maggots thrive on it.

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