Does My School change parental opinion on schools?

Much of the fuss over the My School website and league tables is based on a fear that parents will over-react to information that is only a very partial account of a school’s activities. As Pollytics blog reports today, Essential Research has started to explore parental reaction, though with only 242 people in the sample some caution is required.

Question: After seeing the information on your school or your children’s school, do you now have a higher or lower opinion of the school?

For clear majorities of both government (68%) and private (58%) parents, My School made no difference to their opinion. Almost identical proportions (16%/17%) said that they had a lower opinion as a result. However more private school parents (22%) than government school parents (15%) said that they had a higher opinion as a result of My School.

Of course a lower opinion doesn’t necessarily mean that parents will move their kids, but this survey suggests that My School will put some pressure on a modestly-sized minority of schools.

Justice, need, and choice: arguments for private school funding since the 1960s

Associate Professor Craig Campbell has form for dubious use of ‘neoliberalism‘ as an explainer. Twelve months ago I took Campbell and his co-authors of School Choice to task for making a similar claim about the influence of ‘neoliberalism’ on schools policy.

My argument that private school policy has deep roots in Australian political and educational history, long predating ‘neoliberalism’, is supported by a new history of the state aid debate, Graeme Starr’s Variety and Choice: Good Schools for All Australians, published by the Menzies Research Centre.

Despite Starr’s title, his book suggests that neither variety nor choice were very important arguments in the revival of state aid to non-government schools in the 1960s. Rather two other arguments dominated the state aid debate, justice and need. Continue reading “Justice, need, and choice: arguments for private school funding since the 1960s”