It was designed to let schools offer a variety of kinds of education and then let the "consumers" (students and their parents) choose between them.

But in practice, under the 1989 Tomorrow's Schools system, families have chosen based mainly on the wealth of their communities - their decile ratings.

Schools in the poorest three deciles have shrunk slightly, from 187,379 students in 1996 to 179,559, while school rolls in the richest three deciles have ballooned from 199,341 to 296,650.

Both state funding and principals' salaries are based mainly on student numbers, so the result has been more funding and higher


The supporters

The opponents