The issue of School Choice
School Choice Made Simple – YouTube video (2011), Uploaded by The Heritage Foundation, 2nd August, 2011: A link to the video can be found here.
School choice is a raging debate amongst parents and teachers involved in Australian education.
The different political positions on school choice range from the neo-liberal idea of funding based on quantifiable performance, to the liberal ideas of equal funding opportunities for all schools to give parents the best choice of school.
This video talks about a centralised school system where there is no choice. Funding restrictions have led other schools in this hypothetical area to close down, as a result, there is only one large, centralised school system. This school system isn’t the right system for everyone, and as a result, parent satisfaction is low.
The debate of school choice is one perpetuated in media and government, where different groups attempt to provide arguments about the way in which funding is divided to give parents as much choice as possible. This video, even though it’s American, raises a lot of these issues which resonate in the Australian System.
At the end of the day, a school’s funding will always give it its position in the schooling market. A highly funded private school will make it a more attractive prospect for consumers, whereas a poorly funded public school is less likely to attract prospective parents.
This leads to low school numbers, even lower funding, and eventually school closure. This is the problem with the neo-liberal system in which the Australian and American school systems operate.
To have a truly equitable schooling system, it’s beneficial to provide schools with equal finding opportunities which enable them to get the best out of resources and staff so that every child can have an equitable educational opportunity.