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Baopu He: The fraught debate about educational inequality

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While the buzzword that formerly dominated the debate on selective schools was "Asian", recently it seems to have been replaced by "wealthy". The recent suggestions of a policy change on selective schools is in no doubt fuelled by the public asking a different but infinitely more valid question regarding their existence – do they still serve their original purpose of providing a high-quality education to children regardless of their family background and income?

An often used acronym in this debate is ICSEA, a number that is freely available on the MySchools website which measures a school's socio-educational advantage. On first glance, it does indeed show the top selective schools in Sydney vastly outstripping even the most expensive private schools in advantage. The nature of this advantage, however, has been deeply misunderstood.

The prevailing view is that the ICSEA values show how selective schools have become the exclusive domain of the wealthy and are no longer meritocratic institutions. But socio-educational........

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