Tuesday 26 October 2004

Education again

The Scotsman reports today on a new publication from the Policy Institute:
CONTROL of Scotland’s schools should be removed from local councils and handed to head teachers, according to a think-tank report published yesterday.
And how would this be achieved?
The Policy Institute report also called for parents to be given state-funded vouchers which would entitle their sons and daughters to attend the school of their choice.
I certainly agree that education vouchers would be a useful innovation in Scotland. Nevertheless, I do understand why many American libertarians oppose vouchers but believe that, on balance, they would be beneficial over here. However, I think that the report's author is quite wrong when he states that:
"It is not the type of ownership - state, private or charitable - that is necessarily important so much as the degree of managerial independence exercised by the head and the board," Mr Gerstenberg, the former headmaster of George Watson’s school in Edinburgh, added.
A school will never have a proper degree of independence if it remains under state ownership. It's one thing for the state to issue vouchers for use in privately controlled schools but quite another for the state to actually operate its own schools. If we are to have education vouchers let's introduce them in conjunction with the privatisation of all educational establishments.

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