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Briefing Paper shows school choice

New Briefing Paper shows school choice a worldwide phenomenon

An Education Forum Briefing Paper released this week shows that government funding of non-government schools is a worldwide phenomenon.

The paper compares government funding arrangements for independent schools in New Zealand, England and Wales, the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark.

It shows that a wide range of governments provide funding to independent schools. For example:

* under the Danish 'taximeter' system, private schools are funded at approximately 80-85% of their expenditure; * in the Netherlands, public and private schools have been funded equally since 1917; and * in Belgium, grant-aided schools receive recurrent funding on the same basis as public authority schools.

"The clear message from the report is that public funding of non-government schools is widespread and that there is a wide range of models for financing the education of students at non-government schools," said Education Forum policy advisor Norman LaRocque.

"The debate on public and private school funding in New Zealand must move on from the Animal Farm-like 'four legs good, two legs bad' mentality that permeates much of the discussion. The 'publicness' of a school should be measured by the contribution that it makes to the education and social outcomes of New Zealand children, not by whether the bricks and mortar are government- or privately-owned.

"Opponents of funding for non-government schools should come forward with the reasons they dislike the funding models in the countries discussed in this report - all countries that provide parents with a real choice in education," Mr LaRocque said.

The report, International perspectives on government funding of non-government schools, was prepared by Pauline Nesdale of the National Council of Independent Schools' Associations in Australia. Click on the following link to download a pdf version of the report . A range of other, new 'school choice' resource material is also available at the Education Forum website .

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