A reading on school choice

For those following the debate on school choice, a useful reading from an FT correspondent who went to school in both Britain and the Netherlands. The Dutch system combines publicly financed school choice and academic streaming.

Dutch parents can indeed choose their children's school. The schools are good, even though the country spends less on education than the OECD average. And, crucially, Dutch schools are selective - something that Britain supposedly lost when it abolished most grammar schools in the 1960s and 1970s. Whereas British kids used to be selected for life aged 11, in Dutch schools selection never stops. At any age pupils can rise or fall a track. In theory, you can enter the VMBO [schools in the lower academic tier] aged 12 and end up a professor. This flexibility is crucial, because schools are society's best means of redressing the inequality with which children start life. "The Netherlands combines both school choice and academic selection in what many see as an ideal education system," concludes Reform, the British free-market think-tank.

The Dutch system has its problems, as the article explains, but seems more successful than most.

Presented by

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Business

Just In