Some terrible ideas are brand new, such as injecting disinfectant. But some bad policy plans are like zombies – however many times they are killed by the evidence, they just keep coming back.
And grammar schools are the zombie king. The grammars debate is usually about who gets in and the impact on social mobility. The evidence falls heavily on the “grammar schools are a disaster for social mobility” side of the argument. Only 2.5% of grammar school pupils are on free school meals v 13.2% in all state schools. And still the idea comes back.
But if demonstrating that grammars take the privileged, not the bright, hasn’t killed the idea, maybe a new approach is called for. That’s what recent research did by examining grammar schools’ impact on wage inequality.