Monday, 6 July 2009

The Place of Principals

As a consequence of the National Government’s policy to publicly display school performance data, hundreds of New Zealand Primary School Principals are threatening to boycott literacy and numeracy standards.

As a Libertarian and Objectivist, of course I do not support the governmental interference with matters that rightly belong to schools, teachers, students and parents. But as it stands we are stuck with government’s foot firmly in the door, and millions of taxpayer dollars go to fund primary schools.

As a result, those principals threatening to boycott the standards are public servants –the public has the right to know how good our schools are, as we are paying for them! The taxpayer is their benefactor, so principals have a duty to release information about school performance publicly. Of course, the information doesn't tell all details about every aspect of schooling -but the use of it is at the discretion of parents, not principals.

In a free market for education, principals would reserve the right to release information about their schools. But in a competitive marketplace, it would be a wise decision to release information, to be better able to compete for students and the business they bring. But as parents are forced, through no choice of their own, to fund schooling whether they like it or not, it is their right to choose the best school for their children.

Luckily, Education Minister Anne Tolley believes that parents do have a right to know how about school performance. But principals, in a taxpayer-funded education system, need to remember their place as servants of the public, not masters of their children.


1 comment:

Evan said...

Yes anything would be better than these awe-full Education Review Office ERO) Reports which tell you little more than which way the political winds are blowing!

The ERO get it wrong so much. How do you expect to get good idea of school with just a one week visit?

Do we believe that they would report any more than they can get away with? Do we believe that their expectations of particular schools and people do not sway their approach and findings?