Friday, April 03, 2009

Perpetuating privilege

A group of "elite" state secondary schools are asking the government to vary their zoning regulations to allow them to admit the children of past pupils, regardless of where they live. They're spinning this as "maintaining tradition", but there is one reason and one reason only for this move: to perpetuate privilege. It will allow the children of the privileged - and it is overwhelmingly the privileged who attend these schools - to elbow others out of the way, and gain an even greater lock on educational advantage.

This may be acceptable to Americans - George Bush famously got grandparental into Yale - but it is not the Kiwi way. To people in this country - at least, those of us who live outside of Remuera and Fendalton - the idea that children should be legally advantaged because of their birth, rather than being allowed to rise or fall on their own merit, is simply abhorrent. But given that the government has reintroduced the signifier of hereditary feudal privilege - knighthoods - these schools may very well get what they want.