Socioeconomic Disadvantage Within The Australian Schooling System Essay

Socioeconomic Disadvantage Within The Australian Schooling System Essay

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Socioeconomic disadvantage within the Australian schooling system is rife. Socioeconomic status (SES) is an economic and sociological combined total measure of an individuals’ access to material and social resources as well as their ability to participate in society. (ABS, 2006).
Centrifugal and centripetal government policies seek to make the system more equitable for all students. The practical impact of this schooling system on students disadvantaged by socioeconomic background can be seen in case studies high schools that use government policy to shape academic success as making future pathways for these students outside of schools.

Low SES acts as a filter for everything such students may do. The evidence is damning. The classroom favours the knowledge (Mills, 2002) that middle cases and higher may possess over those of the working class - the academic over the practical (Tait, 2013). In short the higher an individuals’ class, the more of every type of cultural capital (Bourdieu, 1986) they have to claim. Low SES students make up 25% of the Australian population, yet for over 20 years there has only been 15% enrolled at all levels of higher education. Hence, it is evident that SES directly impacts upon the ability of youth to attain higher education (Western, 1998).

The evidence constantly testifies the undeniable impact of socioeconomic disadvantage within the schooling system (Aikens, 2010) – or as O’Meara (2011) argues: “a difference in reading levels of almost three full years socioeconomic student groups.”(423). After all, Gonski speaks of the undeniable “economic waste” in having many poor performing schools. Resources are wasted on dropped out students, from disadvantaged backgrounds: Kenway (2013) testifies that “s...


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...f increasing their chances in employment and further life outside school. All presented ideas are plausible because when combined they present a compounded body of evidence of the unfortunate truth of socio- economic diadvange: which becomes especially valid with the Australian cultural aim of a fair go for all. This equitable aim is made ever clear by Villegas’s (2007) testament to this aim of ‘levelling the playing field’ of Australian culture, and overcoming the effect of the natural lottery: “the salient goal of public education is to enhance students ' life chances and to prepare them for responsible participation in a democracy” (370) The arguments presented are significant because they highlight undeniable facts by compounded evidence. Yet also, by policies of equitable funding the slow battle of equality is being waged within the classroom and among society.

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