PPI report reviews evidence on school choice

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

19 May 2011: Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) Public Policy Institute (PPI) has released a research report, Choice and Values, prepared for the Independent Schools Council of Australia which examines the impact of choice on student achievement and equity and finds ample evidence for governments to continue to fund non-government schools.

Executive Director of the PPI Professor Scott Prasser says school funding policies need to be based on data.

“Evidence rather than ideology should be the foundation of school funding policies,” said Professor Prasser.

“And the evidence shows that policies supporting school choice bring benefits to all students.”

The PPI report examines the reasons behind the global movement towards greater choice and competition in schooling and reviews evidence on the links between choice, education performance and equity.

“The evidence is convincing. School choice, which is generally exercised on the basis of values and attitudes, is an effective way of providing for diversity in our society,

“Choice, both within the public education system and between public and private schools, leads to higher levels of achievement for all students,

“International studies have been able to establish a causal link between policies of choice and higher educational outcomes across the board,

“They dismiss claims that these superior outcomes come at the expense of equity. In fact, school choice lifts the achievement of all students, disadvantaged students most of all.”

It has been released in the context of the current review of school funding led by Sydney businessman David Gonski.

“It is important for public policy to rely on evidence rather than on partisan ideological positions,” said Professor Prasser.

“The research shows that Australian government support for non-government schools over the past forty years has been a sound policy and has brought benefits to the nation and to Australian families,

“There is clear research evidence showing that choice is a highly effective education reform strategy.”

Governments around the world are adopting policies of choice, to drive up standards.

“Where choice is combined with accountability and autonomy and supported by a share of government funding, the benefits to both education quality and equity are greater."