Justine Greening says the nation is in need of more grammar schools that support children from every background, not just the privileged few. However, Labour claims there's no evidence of that helping social mobility.
Data from a new government analysis reveals children whose household income is below the national average find it harder to access outstanding schools and don't perform as well as their wealthier peers.
Rachael Maskell is a Christian and the Labour MP for York Central. She believes the idea of having more grammar schools is senseless.
She told Premier News Hour the government should pour its efforts into all schools.
She said: "Policy should be made on a strong evidence base, and there is no evidence to suggest that children's education across the board is improved by the rise of number of grammar schools.
"What it does show is where you put a concentration of resources; it improves education of all children.
"That's where we need to focus on. How do we enable all children to reach their maximum attainment"?
Maskell adds it's about starting children on a level playing field.
She said: "If you've got a grammar school system, it's fine for the kids that make it across the line into a grammar school.
"But the kids that don't, they're segregated, they're stigmatised and they start life feeling they haven't made it.
"That cannot be right. We've got to really uphold the talent embraced by all children and really enable every child to reach their full potential".
Maskell says Greening's focus shouldn't be on creating more grammar schools, rather budget cuts the education system is suffering from.
She said: "The government should be concentrating on enabling teachers to have the resources they need to teach children across the whole education system.
"When school funding is cut at the level it as at the moment, hundreds of pounds per child are being taken off the school budget.
"Schools are now having to lay off staff and make cutbacks in the classroom.
"How is that going to be good for enabling all children to succeed in the future?"
In recent weeks some head teachers have written to parents asking for financial contributions. The education secretary has denied ignoring financial restraints schools are facing.
Greening said: "I don't minimise the challenges that schools face.
"We are putting in record amounts but we are absolutely committed to working with all schools to make sure they can get the very most out of that money."