Some naive school reformers think all schools can receive high test scores because they believe all kids have the same academic potential. This just isn’t true. Only 30% or so are capable of advanced academic work. As a result, all schools, public and private, fight over the best students. Kids with the most academic potential are creamed or siphoned off by other schools, or the parents themselves.
Below is a list of ways kids are creamed. I just learned of two additional ways of creaming: Require parents to do volunteer work or ask for extra money for special programs, uniforms, etc. Here is the old list.
- A wealthy neighborhood draws higher-achieving students at the expense of schools in moderate and poor income areas. (Parents not residing in a wealthy neighborhood can, and do, give fictitious residency addresses or find courses available in the top schools that are not available in their local school, triggering automatic enrollment).
- The opening of courses or schools that require parental vigilance will lead to creaming. An example is magnet schools.
- Any programs or schools with waiting lists create a selective population. Examples would include charter schools and fundamental schools.
- Programs requiring parent or student private transportation.
- Having the best teachers and courses because of insider information.
- The use of private tutors.
- Having parents who are active in the school, such as room mothers or PTA (Parent-Teacher Association) members.
- Children in AP (advanced placement).
- Children in gifted classes.
- Children in gifted charter schools (These are public-private schools).
- Children in the International Baccalaureate Programs.
- Children admitted to college-prep courses based on achievement test scores. (Public school collegiate academies).
- Children admitted to collegiate high schools that promise a high school degree and two years of college credits –– all in only four years!