Archive for September 28th, 2008

Mixing at school (again)

Commenter Charles isn’t giving up on his claim that country public schools confer particular advantages in tolerance-producing social mixing:

In the country you go to school with the doctor’s kids (unless they are sent off to a private school, in which case the doctor’s kids miss out, they really don’t know what they missed and really aren’t in a position to comment) and the kids of the local drunk. …

I think the issue is important, private schools segregate the student population, in my view it is a real problem and going forward we are going to suffer for it.

There are too few doctors in the Australian Survey of Social Attitudes to say anything meaningful about whether they are more likely to send their kids to government schools in the country than the city. But professionals generally are more likely to send, or have sent, their oldest child to a government school in the country than the city, 68% compared to 54% (2005 figures).

I doubt tolerance would be enhanced by the children of doctors and drunks mixing. For the doctor’s kids, seeing the products of social pathology first-hand could be rather more off-putting than thinking about the children of drunks in the abstract, as unfortunate victims of circumstance. And for the drunk’s kids, the doctor’s kids could well seem like terrible snobs.
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