» education ¦ What You Can Get Away With

Something that occurred to me while reading the Browne book, but it seems so obvious I can’t believe others haven’t noticed it so I wonder if I’m missing something.

Anyway, by my reckoning bringing in school vouchers either requires an increase in the Government’s education budget or a cut in the funding given to each pupil currently in state education. Here’s my thinking:

The proponents of school vouchers say that they would be a universal benefit given to the parents of every child. However, at present, not every child is within the state education sector because they’re being educated independently, and the cost of that is being met by the parents or some other non-state actor. So, if we assume the total state funding for education is T, the total number of children to be educated is A and the number of children being privately educated to be B, the average funding per student in the state sector is T/(A-B), but if vouchers are brought in, the average amount per student in all sectors is T/A. So, unless T is increased, the average amount being spent on children currently in the state sector will drop.

Am I right, or have I missed something very obvious?

(Update: Dan Carr has looked at the issue and found an answer to my questions)


‘Galaxy Quest': The Oral History – The cast and crew explain how it came to be.
The Higher Sociopathy – “Rather than confront reality, the philosopher of war resorts to reason. If the problem is the mismatch between the terrible grandeur of the means and the pedestrian poverty of the ends, don’t rethink your means, much less the war; simply inflate the ends.”
Education should be about progress, not prostituted as a means to earn more – Alex Andreou on the value of education as a good in itself.
How ‘competitiveness’ became one of the great unquestioned virtues of contemporary culture – On a similar subject, how we now reduce everything to competition.
The Suburbs Will Die: One Man’s Fight to Fix the American Dream – How sprawling American suburbs can’t pay for their own upkeep and are an economic disaster waiting to happen.

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How the mainstream media derailed addressing child abuse – Why talk about real crimes and ruined lives when you can instead obsess over what it means to you, instead?
Keeping the Lights On: a look at UKIP’s energy policy evidence base – Are you surprised to find it doesn’t have much of one, and what it does have is misrepresented and misinterpreted?
The Very Existence of Local Government Hangs in the Balance – The leader of Brighton and Hove Council explains how a government that pretends to want localism is actually removing any possibility for it.
On Subjectivity: Wild Swans, Escher Girls and mansplaining – Ro Smith on the importance of breaking out of your own perspective and understanding that you don’t know how others see the world.
Education is losing its validity as a way forward for the younger generations – At the LSE British Politics and Policy blog, Patrick Ainley and Martin Allen argue that “because education cannot meet employment aspirations its main purpose has become social control over youth”.

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Wind turbine syndrome: a classic ‘communicated’ disease – I’m shocked – shocked, I tell you – to discover that something James Delingpole and other contrarian trolls believe in has no evidence to back it up.
10 myths of the UK’s far right – Daniel Trilling in the Guardian outlines some widely-repeated opinions about the BNP and their ilk that don’t stand up to much scrutiny.
Facebook friends network ‘quadruples voting behaviour’ – Interesting study in the US about different online prompts and how they increase the likelihood of someone voting – the original paper it’s based on is here.
English Baccalaureate – questions outstanding – Stephen Williams MP shows that not all Lib Dem MPs have drunk the Govite Kool-Aid.
The Myth of the European Court of Human Rights’ “War on Britain” – Very good piece by Alex Massie. Worth passing on to any nutters of your acquaintance (some of whom appear to be in the Cabinet, sadly) who advocate Britain withdrawing from/ignoring the ECHR

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Lose your money in the best ever IPO, praise China, cry woe for Europe, then renounce scarcity and move into education.

Prospectus for Silicon Valley’s next hot tech IPO, where nothing could possibly go wrong – “Trust us: Once you invest in Ponzify, you’ll have a difficult time investing your money anywhere else ever again.”
British parliamentarians queue up up to suck up to Chinese tyranny – Jonathan Calder finds some disturbing behaviour from elected representatives.
The failure of European centrism: Towards a hypothesis of historical recurrence – Fantastic post from Nosemonkey, looking at the current crisis in Europe, historical roots and parallels for it, and the dangerous road this leads us all down.
The end of artificial scarcity – Fascinating post on the FT’s Alphaville blog, but I’m sure an economist will be along in the comments to tell me why it’s all wrong.
Back to basics? It’s time to start basing education policy on evidence, not fads and dogma – I do wonder sometimes if Tom Chivers is at the Telegraph on an exchange programme from somewhere much more sensible than their commentary usually is.

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And instead of four tons of glitter, have five links instead:

How Common Is Your Birthday? – An interesting diagram showing which days of the year see the most and fewest births (data from the US only, though). Interesting to note the troughs around certain holidays and the 13th of the month.
If the younger generation won’t bother to vote, it’s no wonder the policies don’t favour them – A quite honest assessment of the situation from the Tory Reform Group blog.
Why Sacha Baron Cohen Deserves The Nobel Prize – It’s a somewhat eclectic position to take, but Gavin Polone sets out an interesting argument as to why.
Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is – I think just about everyone else has linked to this John Scalzi piece by now, but if you’re the on person left who hasn’t read it, then you probably should.
An open letter to Michael Gove – A PGCE student asks the Education Secretary exactly what he thinks he’s doing.

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One of the advantages of the size of the Lib Dem blogosophere is that very often someone else will say just what you’ve been thinking, which saves you the trouble in having to write it all out yourself. So, thanks to Neil Fawcett for summing up my views of today’s fees vote:

For me the lead up to this vote, and the implications for the party I have campaigned for for 23 years, are profoundly depressing.

I do accept that in a coalition we will have to make compromises. We have 57 MPs in a House Commons where the two dominant political parties both believe that individual students should make a substantial contribution to the cost of their first degree. I understand and accept that.

But what I find depressing is the way in which our party leaders, Nick Clegg and Vince Cable in particular, appear to be more willing to argue that black is white rather than stand up for our party’s clear policy and the principles behind it.

As they still say (I believe) in blogging circles, read the rest.