Watching the education debate on the BBC today, I came to the conclusion that I don't think any of the three participants have demonstrated that they have what it takes to sort things out.
Gove acts more polished in his manner and tone of voice, and appears to have the gift of calm, reasoned speech that makes sense even if another part of the brain is screaming that it's total rubbish. There's a bias in his favour because he's backed home education against the CSF Bill but, as with much of his education policy, it's very noticeable what he hasn't said.
Balls comes across as very pushy and has a ready supply of facts and figures to back up his claims of what has been done, and is big on his guarantees for schools for the future, but is handicapped by his record of ignoring the opinions and evidence of a large number of home educators because they didn't agree with him. He's already said he'll continue on his quest to regulate home education and generally interfere if he gets back in, no prevarication there.
Laws attempts to be what the others are not. He's more polished than Balls, and seems to be trying to out-Gove with some of his claims and wants to remove politics from front-line education. He did help save home education from the CSF Bill, but has missed the logical consequences of his party's pro-notification stance (see earlier post), so his approach needs to be treated with caution.
Much interplay between Balls, boasting about all his guarantees (that we get to pay for) and missing the point that just throwing money at schools is unlikely to be the way to improve them, and Gove, who won't commit to anything. He did at one point refuse to promise a course of action, and highlighted that because he doesn't know the true spending of DCSF, he's unable to give commitments. That has been a Conservative theme in areas other than education - I assume they don't want to promise anything until they've had chance to look at the books because they suspect it's worse than has been made public.
So, as I said, I'm not convinced by any of them, but from the narrow viewpoint of home education, I'd pick Gove because so far the others have proposed changes with which I do not agree. If he's in the job next week then hopefully he'll be so busy sorting out Ed's state education mess and then unravelling the tangled web of his own replacement that home education will get left well alone. I don't think he's yet ready to embrace the seismic changes required to properly shake up the state system, and it was disappointing that all three appeared to agree to keep digging in certain areas of the hole into which education has fallen.