Chalk and cheese

racism kidsContrary to what we are so often told, the business of parenthood remains a relatively simple affair: a moment of passion followed nine months later by the bawling realisation that spur-of-the-moment trysts will be problematic from that point on, what with all the decades of distractions and responsibilities that come bundled with baby in his basinet. This tends to be the moment when instinct kicks in with a wallop. Hold the fruit of your loins for the first time and the thought that you will do everything and anything to make the new arrival’s life as happy, successful and safe as humanly possible is inevitable if you have the makings of even a halfway decent mum or dad.

Yet according to today’s Age, those desires as they pertain to education are nothing less than racism. White parents, we are told, spurn inner-city schools because they don’t want their kids sharing classrooms with the children of refugees, other new arrivals, non-English speakers and those subscribing to strange foreign customs.

If you are an Age reporter, what other explanation need there be? Shallow, slanted and pointedly oblivious to other factors that might influence a white parent’s choice of school — or any parent’s choice, for that matter — the report does what The Age these days does best: pushes an ideological agenda to the exclusion of demonstrable motive and fact.

One of the schools afflicted by what The Age terms “white flight” is Mount Alexander College. Why would a parent be reluctant to enroll their child? Abselom Nega explains:

“The white parents don’t send their kids to these schools because all they see is black kids,” says Mr Nega, who sits on the board of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

That Mr Nega would level such a charge is not surprising, as he seems to see the dark hand of racial bigotry in quite a few places. Then-Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews was a racist for noting the higher incidence of crime and other problems among new arrivals from Africa. Likewise infected with various degrees of intolerance are Victoria Police, high-rise public housing, employers and the education system, which he sees as not doing enough to keep African children at their desks. This last point, as expressed to the ABC, would have been worth mentioning in The Age‘s report, especially in regard to Mount Alexander College, which is mentioned and where only 39 students undertook VCE exams in 2015.

According to the VCE performance ranking of Victorian schools, Mount Alexander College’s performance comes in at #282 out of 528 schools. Only 3.9% of its VCE candidates achieved 40-points or more, with the median score being 26.

This where the parental instinct kicks in, or should. Does a dutiful parent regard exposure to foreign cultures as the cornerstone of academic achievement, or should the desire to give a child every possible opportunity and advantage be the driving force?

According to The Age, wanting the best for kids, up to and including placing them at schools where progress toward VCE success is expected, rather than merely hoped for, is racism pure and simple.

Allowing that the youngsters who now staff Fairfax newsrooms are old enough and sufficiently interested in heterosexual reproduction to have children of their own, it would be interesting to know how many send them knowingly to schools with less-than-average performance.

At the link below, the full VCE ranking of Victoria’s secondary schools.

— roger franklin

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