Excellent article on educational trends in Australia toward social inequity on Inside Story by Chris Bonnor which should ring alarm bells for anyone concerned about democratic values:
The evidence is getting harder to avoid. The education consultant Barbara Preston has shown the changing ratio between low and high income families in schools. In 1996 there was an average of thirteen low-income for every ten high-income students in public school playgrounds. Now there are sixteen for every ten. The opposite trend occurred in private schools.
The schools that the middle class leave behind have a higher concentration of the most disadvantaged students, with an obvious impact on the academic profile of the school – and their position on any league table. Apart from the shameful impact on our most disadvantaged students this trend has significant implications for communities and social cohesion. It also makes harder the job of lifting the achievement of low-achieving students. Increasingly there is no one at school who can show the strugglers how it is done.