With the news that high school education is now majority provided by the private sector perhaps it is time to re-evaluate what public education is trying to achieve.
For decades public educators have tried to convince well off parents that the public system offers a better alternative to the private one.
As a rule the harder they try the more parents they drive away.
We have now reached, or are very close, to the point where all the children in public high schools fall into three categories:
1) Their parents don’t care about their future,
2) Their parents can’t afford to act to safeguard their future,
3) Their parents are willing to sacrifice their future on the altar of ideology.
So we’re looking at an education system wherein all the students are profoundly disadvantaged.
Some might say that this is not the place to be organising whizzy programs for accelerated university placements.
In fact the whole obsession with university linkups appears to be a massive vote of no confidence in itself by the ACT education system. Why force them out the door sooner? Have you nothing more to teach?
Rather than devoting large amounts of energy and money trying to entice the non-disadvantaged some might wonder what could be done for those that remain if the focus was to be more precisely aligned to their needs?
Is it time to throw in the towel on egalitarian public education and admit it’s the preserve of the less well off?