The underlying thesis in the recent book 'Undemocratic schooling' by Richard Teese and John Polesel is that social reproduction in Australia, that is the transmission of socioeconomic inequality from one generation to the next, is particularly strong. But Teese and Polesel have over-stated the case. Whereas socioeconomic background and schools do influence educational outcomes, and thus subsequent labour market outcomes, they are far from having a determining influence. The system is far more open than generally believed. Their thesis undervalues the importance of quality schooling and the contributions that teachers and schools make to the development of their students' abilities, interests and learning.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gary_marks/3/