A lead story in The Age bemoans ‘white flight’ from Australia’s selective High Schools, such as Melbourne High and Mac. Rob. here in Melbourne. These two schools are regularly the ‘best achievers’ in year 12 exams but, according to the story, based on enrolments:
Anglo-Australians [are] shunning … public selective schools …
Now this headline-grabbing claim may or may not be true. But we cannot tell from enrolment data. Why? Because the schools are selective. So it may be that more Anglo-Australians than ever are trying to get into these schools, but are not achieving high enough scores on the entrance exams. Indeed, the principal of Melbourne High gets this distinction, noting that:
We don’t see a white flight expressed in the pattern of applications to the school.
An associated article does not clear up this mistake, but focuses on ‘perceptions’. I have not been back to the original paper (Published in the Australian Review of Public Affairs), so the issue may be bad reporting rather than bad research. And if students from different ethnic backgrounds are systematically achieving at different levels on selective school entrance exams, then there may be an interesting story here. On the information given, however, the story is Monday Morning beat up on a slow news day.