This letter to the editor in today's newspaper gives a different perspective on the difference between the "elite" and "neighbourhood" schools locally. I have heard of similar views from a friend of mine whose child goes to one of these "elite" schools.
I had been grousing to her about my dissatisfaction with the education that my kids were getting in the local system, and had thought that perhaps, it was because they weren't in one of the "elite" schools that the quality was lacking. She then replied that the only difference between these schools & a neighbourhood school was that most of the kids in the elite had the resources available to them to go for extra tutoring & "enrichment" courses; hence they managed to get better grades in their exams.
It was certainly an eye-opener for me that the education system has changed so much from the time that we were in school till the present time. Come to think of it, I remember getting a phone call from my son's Chinese teacher when he was in Pr 1, asking if he had anyone tutoring him in Chinese. At the time, being newly from the US, I had naively thought that putting a 6 year old child through extra classes outside of school was ridiculous, so had resisted doing so. The teacher had been shocked when I said no, & insisted that I should engage a tutor for him, as it was not possible for her to bring his grasp of the language to the acceptable standard without outside help.
Which brings me to the next question: if the teachers themselves think that they are unable to teach a child adequately & requests for the child to get extra tutoring, and if schools ROUTINELY schedule remedial/supplementary classes in addition to the normal school hours, does that not mean that something is not right with the system???
And another thing...I wonder why these "elite schools" tend to be grouped in districts where the affluent live? I know of at least 3 "neighbourhood" schools which have been displaced from their previous locations within these affluent districts (they still maintain their original names a couple of which were taken from the street names where they were located), & their sites taken over by the "elite" schools. Another form of social engineering, hmmm?