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Climbing out of the cave of school admissions

Some ideas are worth playing with, just to see what floats to the surface.

For some years now, I’ve been fascinated by the question of how we come to know the Truth.  What are the conditions, in other words, in which people suddenly see meaning amidst all of the white noise and find that everything makes perfect sense?

Plato was one of the first to kick this conversation off.  For him, the pursuit of Truth involved looking inwards and simply remembering what was innately present within the human soul.

Most of us will recall his allegory of the cave, illustrated below.  You’ll notice the captives.  They are the poor, helpless unenlightened ones (the majority) who think they are seeing things clearly.  In fact, though, they are faced the wrong way and only watching the projected images of the cave-dweller higher up the cave.

Coming to know the Truth, says Plato, is a journey in which the captive rids herself of her ties and begins the long and lonely ascent up out of the cave into the sunlight.

So what has any of this got to do with school admissions?

Here’s my thinking.  What if we replaced the word ‘captives’ with ‘prospects’? 

Doesn’t this somehow capture the desperate and unenlightened state of so many families as they seek the truth of what school is best for their children?  Oftentimes, these families are led to believe that the images they see are ‘real’.  We know, however, that these websites, brochures and social media platforms are only the projected images of the marketing team who hide behind a wall a little higher up the cave.

And yet, despite the darkness and the flickering reflections, a family will often make that choice and begin the lonely ascent towards the first day of school.

So does it end there?  Absolutely not!  The route, these days, is treacherous and fraught with danger along the way.  Even the more resolute will become exhausted by the number of forms we ask to be completed.  Not to mention the ever-present peril of life of a waiting list.

Of course, none of this is true.  I’m just kidding.  Playing with an idea that was never intended for this purpose.

It does make you think, though, doesn’t it?

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