Over 25 years ago, members of Congress saw statistics showing that U.S. people with college educations made more money, and they declared that college education should be a right. The solution was indicative of government - change student loans to being unlimited.

Are young people all making more money? No, they are buried in debt, but schools that were once foundering are now doing quite well. An entirely industry built up around universities for under-achieving students with money. And on the other end, credentialism came into play. A bachelor's degree became what a high school diploma was. 

So calls by modern believers that throwing more money at younger ages is the solution to education should be greeted with skepticism. Poor kids are not going to have higher economic mobility because of more grammar schools, they will still have to grind it out the way immigrants who come to America for opportunity do. This is much the same in England.

The work used England's National Pupil Database to show how a child's chances of going to grammar school varied depending on the Local Authority (LA) in which they lived, their social and ethnic background, and their attainment level at primary school. The database included more than 600,000 pupils, of which around 186,000 were in the 36 local authorities with grammar schools. The proportion of pupils attending such schools varied widely: from 1.4 to 37.4 percent. Selection criteria also varied, with pupils in certain local authorities needing to achieve more than twice the Key Stage 2 marks of those in other local authorities to have any chance of being admitted.

As a result, applying in a different  local authority - an option more readily available to more affluent families - could increase a child's chances.

It isn't just coaching or tutors 

Coaching gives more affluent pupils an advantage in grammar school selection, but a simpler, but effective action for the rich would be to let their children sit the 11+ in other Local Authorities with more grammar school opportunities. Pupils eligible for free school meals, pupils with special educational needs, native English speakers, and white pupils were less likely to go to grammar schools, while those from more affluent areas and from minority ethnic groups were more likely to attend.

Despite the fact that minorities were more likely to attend grammar school, the paper dismisses the idea it might be bias towards certain groups of pupils in the selection process itself. Instead, the inequality of opportunity to go to grammar school for pupils from different backgrounds was probably the result of diverging attainment among these different groups at the end of primary education.