Devolution and Choice in Education

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This book examines recent school reforms in England and Wales, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Sweden. It suggests that, at the same time as appearing to devolve power to individual schools and parents, governments have actually been increasing their own capacity to 'steer' the system at a distance. Focusing particularly on the 'quasi-markets' favoured by the New Right, the authors review the research evidence on the impact of the reforms to date. They conclude that there is no strong evidence to support the educational benefits claimed by the proponents of the reforms and considerable evidence that they are enabling advantaged schools and advantaged parents to maximize their advantages. They argue that, if these damaging equity effects are to be avoided, there is an urgent need to redress the balance between consumer rights and citizen rights in education.

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