The political lessons of Tomorrow's schools : what can be learnt from the outcomes and implications of Tomorrow's schools
Connew, Scott Joseph
From 1987 to 1993 the Fourth Labour Government and the Fourth National Government in New Zealand embarked on a radical restructuring of the school-level education system in a series of reforms known as Tomorrow's Schools. Based on neoliberal ideology, in particular principles of choice and competition, the changes combined to produce an inequitable system of education provision. This dissertation asks, what can be learnt from the outcomes of Tomorrow's Schools? It concludes that policies based on choice and competition, and those that prioritise administration as a key determinant in educational performance, are unable to realise an equitable education system. Neoliberal theory advocates that equality of opportunity and across-the-board improvements in educational attainment of students will result from guaranteeing choice and competition in education. The experience of New Zealand, however, indicates that, in practice, the outcomes of such policies are characterised by inequality of opportunity, hierarchy, exclusion and polarisation, where significant sections of the population (most notably the poor and ethnic minorities) are systematically disadvantaged. Furthermore, an analysis of the education policies of the current government shows that the system of advantaged and disadvantaged schools created by a competitive environment remains prevalent today. Moreover, the prospects for a shift towards an equitable education system appear small as the Labour coalition remains rhetorically but not financially committed to achieving a genuine improvement in education provision, especially with respect to disadvantaged schools. Meanwhile, the parties of the centre-right remain committed to policies of choice and competition that are conducive to distinct inequity. Subsequently, the paper calls upon the government to take greater consideration of the outcomes of Tomorrow's Schools and alleviate the inequality of opportunity that continues to exist.
Advisor: Hayward, Janine
Degree Name: Bachelor of Arts with Honours
Degree Discipline: Political Studies
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Dissertation
iv, 64 leaves :ill., maps ; 30 cm. Includes bibliographical references. University of Otago department: Political Studies. "October 2003."