The New Zealand Herald's thought-provoking series on education will be sure to prompt more discussion among families and whānau and in school staffrooms across the country.
It included research from the New Zealand Initiative that essentially concluded private and state-integrated schools are more effective than state schools.
But a closer look at the evidence gives us a slightly different picture.
The New Zealand Initiative's recent research provides some insight into a complex problem. But parents should ask whether focusing on differences in school types is ultimately answering the most important question.
While NZI's study accounts for factors that are easy to measure, like parental income or education level, it is unable to factor in other things we know are important. This creates the potential for misleading conclusions.
The research was unable to take account of what the students had already learned before arriving at the school.
Countless studies show that this makes a big difference. We know that a student's reading or maths performance halfway through primary school more accurately predicts secondary school outcomes than all of the socio-economic factors used in the research put together.
The NZI research was less able to account for different measures of what is important in children's learning.
University Entrance is not necessarily a measure of learning by itself but simply a requirement students must attain if they intend on pursuing a pathway into university.
Students at different schools differ in this intention. According to the 2018 PISA survey, 15-year-old students at state-integrated or private schools were substantially more likely to intend to complete degrees than students at state schools.
It is important to note the NZ Initiative found no evidence of any differences between state schools and other schools in reading ability.
That is, there is no difference in a reliable measure of whether students are learning meaningful skills that will help them to succeed later in life, regardless of what pathway they take.
Decades of educational research have given us a good idea of what really matters to promote learning - and it's not structural factors like whether schools are publicly or privately run.
Educational expert Professor John Hattie synthesised results from thousands of research studies to come up with a comprehensive list of what makes a difference. (To be sure, many of these individual studies were, like the NZI study, unable to completely isolate causal effects.) Structural aspects of the school, like whether it is religious or single-sex, private or public, didn't even crack the top 100.
What sorts of factors topped Hattie's list? The basics of quality teaching, like providing targeted and actionable feedback, promoting classroom discussion and giving students effective learning support as soon as they need it.
And, of course, having a positive learning environment at home and fostering quality relationships between teachers, students and whānau.
Parents and whānau can help their children get the best from their education by having conversations with teachers and school leaders, asking questions like: how will you support my child to achieve the things we care about? How will you know what you're doing is working? What will you do if it's not? And how can I help?
The evidence indicates that students will be much better served if we are more worried about what goes on inside classrooms than what name is on the gate outside.
• Andrew Webber is the Ministry of Education's chief economist.