Take a bow, Chris Hipkins. The totalitarian takeover of education proposed by your Taskforce on Tomorrow's Schools would have been abominable, a triumph for the idea that you help the weak by holding back the strong.
I hope it was not just the expense that finally dissuaded the Education Minister from adopting a scheme to emasculate school boards of trustees and make them subservient to "hubs" of the Ministry of Education. It would have been absurdly expensive to employ all the paid minions that would be needed to do the work of parental volunteers.
But why would anyone want to do that? Why would education's thinkers propose to undermine a system that has engaged many thousands of parents in the running of their child's school over the past 30 years?
Well, the Taskforce said, not all schools have been able to find competent boards of trustees and this has contributed to poor educational outcomes for children at those schools.
Obviously those schools could be helped without removing the autonomy of well-functioning school boards, an argument strenuously made by some well-run schools and tacitly accepted in the decision Hipkins announced this week. Instead of hubs, an Education Service Agency is to be set up within the ministry for schools that need it.
That solution would have been so obvious to the Taskforce from the beginning of its review of Tomorrow's Schools that it begs the question, why did it propose a total takeover? The answer is in the principle of public education that still dominates academic thinking on the subject.
That principle says it is the mission of public education to make society more equal, and it is a good principle up to a point. Education is the key to equal opportunity. But if a century of social experiment has taught us anything it is that when equality is rigorously imposed it does not make anybody very happy.
The Berlin wall came down the year Tomorrow's Schools was introduced in New Zealand but the lesson never penetrated its university faculties where teachers get their ticket and policies are drafted for susceptible Labour governments.
For 30 years education's academics have railed against "neoliberal" reforms that made schools more responsive to the values, aspirations and perceptions of parents and pupils, and they will be deeply disappointed by Hipkins this week.
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However, he has decided to reduce schools' freedom on two fronts, zoning and property decisions.
Property is the greater surprise. Tomorrow's Schools produced a visible improvement in the physical appearance of some schools. Perhaps, 30 years on, today's boards of trustees are not aware that property was the main frustration of schools back when every tin of paint had to be approved by distant bureaucrats.
Hipkins has decided self-management of property "has led to variability in the quality and condition of school infrastructure". Some boards have not maintained their buildings well, so all will lose the power to do it.
They will also lose the power to draw their zone of enrolment. Zoning is state education's Berlin wall. It is promoted to ensure all children can attend their nearest school but its real purpose is to keep children in schools that would otherwise lose them.
The ministry requires popular schools to draw a zone around them so that they will have little or no room for enrolments from other areas, usually poorer areas. Like many things imposed in the name of social equality, this actually makes inequity worse.
Zoning lifts real estate values in areas already well-off. Its fiercest supporters these days are not educationists, but property owners who may have no other interest in the school.
Hipkins has decided zones will be drawn in future by his Education Service Agency in the ministry rather than school boards, which should relieve boards of pressure from property owners but not make much difference otherwise.
Social mobility is hard to suppress. Despite the strenuous efforts to corral children into their nearest school, Auckland has seen a tidal movement to schools in better-off areas.
If state education worked with people's preferences rather than against them, it would probably work better for everybody. That was the radical idea in the Picot Report of 1988, somewhat watered down as Tomorrow's Schools.
Brian Picot, a grocer, observed that supermarkets serving low-income communities were not seen as inferior to any other. Commercial branding easily overcame social perceptions. If "good" schools could extend their brand to others, education could be more equal.
That was too much for the teachers' unions and educational academics who feared for their bargaining power and influence. When Hipkins set up his review the commissars looked to be back in command.
It is probably too much to hope their disappointment at the result may be the last gasp of a 30-year argument. But it should be.