07 August 2008

More education choice? not under National

Lindsay Mitchell blogs about the success of education vouchers in that paragon of New Right neo-liberal Business Roundtable capitalist exploitation of the proletariat - Sweden.

National wont of course. Giving parents more choice, schools running at a profit. It was National policy in 1987 believe it or not, when Education Shadow Minister (as they were called then) was Ruth Richardson. The Nats could have got away with it at 1990, but Lockwood Smith proved then to be a useless inert nothing, incapable of standing up to the bloody minded self-interested Marxists of the teachers' unions.

The time has come to tell parents that National will let funding follow pupils to whatever schools their parents want to send them to. It is a small step, but it unlocks funding from central government control, gives parents more options and starts to present real competition for state schools. The tired rhetoric that "all schools should be as good as each other" is a fantasyland the same as saying "all teachers should be as good as each other" or all restaurants or all houses. It is anti-reason, it denies reality and most of all it is an excuse for centrally planned tolerance of mediocrity.

Nothing is more important to change than education, and it is telling that virtually nobody in NZ will engage on the success of the Swedish model - an approach that only the ex.communist party opposes in the Swedish parliament. So you can see where Labour (and National's) education policies have a spiritual ally!