Middle-class parents obsessed with getting their children into the best schools may be wasting their time and money, academics say today.
They found that children from privileged backgrounds excelled when they were deliberately sent to inner-city comprehensives by parents opposed to private schooling.
Most of the children “performed brilliantly” at GCSE and A level and 15 per cent of those who went on to university took places at Oxford or Cambridge.
This shouldn't be surprising. Most schools teach roughly the same hodge-podge of topics and skills. Teacher skill varies, but it's generally suficient to induce learning in a typical middle-class child with educated parents.
These kids will thrive in the better public schools and also in schools that we don't typically consider to be that good. But, that's because these kids are full of the "less privileged" students, whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.
Thanks to NCLB, we know that a large achievement gap exists betwen the lower-SES kids and the higher-SES kids, and black and Hispanic kids and white and Asian kids. Even in affluent schools districts.
And, thanks to studies like the Minnesota Transracial Adoption Study we know that familial environment doesn't make much, if any, of a difference either when it comes to student success.
The only thing that does seem to matter is improved instruction, the earlier the better.