Once upon a time I went to school. It's a while ago now, but, as a student of English, one of the books we all had to study was Animal Farm.
And one line has always stood out - "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others".
It's a phrase that has been transferred to so many walks of life since George Orwell penned it on August 17, 1945.
The transfer test, the old 11-plus exam, was born just two years later. It stood the test of time, until time caught up.
Of course no one wants to limit any parent's choice in what school to send their child to. But are parents the best people to choose? We all fall into the mode of pushing our children to be the best that they can be and there's nothing wrong with that.
Time has allowed those using the system to work the system, find shortcuts, workarounds, make the system work for them.
The academic selection of children aged 10-11 has had a business built around it.
For a business to work, you need capital funds. Not everyone has those funds.
You wonder just how many children went to a different school because someone else, who might not have started out as academically proficient, overtook them through intense, specialised tutoring, paid for by parents who could afford it, taught by former teachers who knew the tricks of the trade.
And there emerged a new breed of parents.
In counselling terms, they are referred to as 'helicopter parents'. They hover over their child's every move, dissect work in microscopic details.
Ask any counsellor working in the school environment and they will tell you the pressure to succeed has never been greater, and it is having a detrimental effect on the mental health of so many pupils. They are left with little room to breathe, strangled by these new 'Tiger parents' - a phrase coined in 2011 in a Yale University study of academic achievement, using all means possible to ensure the future success of a child.
Earlier this week, before AQE finally pulled out of holding a single transfer test, Stranmillis University published research into the inequalities of the education system. These are the educators, turning the spotlight on the profession they have excelled in. They warned of the widening 'lockdown learning gap'. Those who have, swim, those who haven't start to drown. The educational waters have been stirred and the ship is listing.
I'm reminded of another book, Robinson Crusoe. Shipwrecked on a desert island he had to learn a new way of living. Time is fast approaching where the whole education system needs a similar restructuring.
There will always be a place for grammar schools. Some pupils naturally thrive in that environment, but they should not be pushed into it aged 11. It has to be the right thing for them, not for their social status in adulthood.
Teachers should know the academic merits of their pupils. Intensive tutoring for a transfer test shouldn't bypass that.
With the AQE washing hands of any involvement in the transfer of pupils this year, it's been left up to the schools themselves to chart a course through the waves. There are many rocks lurking under the surface, no less in the form of legalities.
All post-primaries were to submit their admissions criteria to the Education Authority by today but following the AQE's move that has been extended until Friday, January 22.
It is not a lot of time to get things right, close all exploitable loopholes and take a steamroller to level that playing field cut up further by a turbulent winter - which is why this process should have been planned for before we got to this stage.
And though the utopia of 'all schools are equal' may never be reached, surely now is the window of opportunity to make sure that "all schools are a little less more equal than others"?
Everyone in Northern Ireland has a transfer test story to share. Whether it's the story of the person who didn't get the grade they expected but still flourished at secondary school or the high-flying executive from a disadvantaged background who had a world of opportunity opened up by passing their test, everyone has a story to share.