White Flight

July 16th, 2007 at 9:32 am by David Farrar

The Aranui High School principal claims white flight is why his school has 500 students fewer than its capacity.

I’d be very interested to know if anyone has demographic breakdowns for the various Christchurch schools, so one can judge how greatly they differ by school.  Anyone can make an assertion.

It may also of course just be the case that parents do not think Aranui High School is as well run as other schools, hence why they go elsewhere.  Or they may prefer a single sex school. Or the other schools may have better academic standards.

If I ran a school which students actively avoid and is only 59% full, then I would spend a hell of a lot of time and energy working out why this is the case, and coming up with strategies to mitigate it.  Now maybe “white flight” is part of the problem, but where is the evidence for this, and are there are other issues around the school which can be changed?

At the end of the day, regardless of the reason, I support parents having a choice.  The Principals’ Association wants to ban out-of-zone enrolments. That suggest to me a focus on principals (as one would expect) not students.

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13 Responses to “White Flight”

  1. metcalph (1,405 comments) says:

    It’s Aranui. White Flight would be the first thing that anybody in Christchurch would think of to explain low rolls and if anybody thinks that’s not the case, it’s reasonable for the onus of proof to be on them.

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  2. 3-coil () says:

    A college principal plays the race card – and this is news?

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  3. dc () says:

    Ethnic breakdown for the schools mentioned in the article, from their ERO reports:

    Aranui: New Zealand European/Pākehā 55%; Māori 30%; Samoan 8%; Pasifika (Cook Islands, Tongan, Niuean) 2%; Asian 4%; Other ethnic groups 1%

    Linwood: New Zealand European/Pākekā 70%; Māori 18%;
    Pacific 8%; Asian 3%; Others 1%

    Hornby: New Zealand European/Pākehā 67%; Māori 26%; Other 7%

    And for the more popular high schools:

    Burnside: New Zealand European/Pākehā 63%; Māori 4%; Pacific 1%; Asian 20%; European 10%

    Riccarton: NZ European/Pākehā 59%; Asian 23%; NZ Māori 6%; Pacific 5%; Other 7%

    Christchurch Boys’: NZ European/Pākehā 78%
    Asian 13%
    Māori 7%
    Pacific 2%

    Christchurch Girls’: New Zealand European/Pākehā 78%; Asian 9%;
    Māori 5%; Other 7.4%; Pacifika 0.6%

    It is really “white and asian middle-class flight” but “white flight” is catchier I guess. It is mostly driven off house prices because prices in the school zones are too high for most people.

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  4. metcalph (1,405 comments) says:

    It isn’t a case of “white and asian middle-class flight” because Asians haven’t ever lived in Aranui in large numbers. They’ve always tended to settle in the eastern part of the city which is where Burnside and Riccarton are.

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  5. gd () says:

    If we had a decent education system instead the present crock of shit organised by morons we wouldnt have this problem.Given the amount of money the Socialists throw at education we should have first class equal standard schools. If the current system was McDonalds then you would have outlets that literally gave you the shits when you bought a burger from them and others offering the best quality. There is no excuse. Privatise and give vouchers and let the parents decide and watch the standards increase.

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  6. mo more () says:

    sorry gd, can’t have the parents deciding the educational upbringing of their own children – they haven’t all been indoctrinated sufficiently, and may make the wrong choices.

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  7. Porcupine (242 comments) says:

    Go white flighters, middle class flighters, hard working flighters, until the country collapses or comes to its senses!

    And the decile system is a load of socialist, fascist, anti-egalitarian, social engineering as well.

    Equality of opportunity and transparency of governeance is what is needed to keep a well educated modern country up the rungs of the OECD. We’re down low because we haven’t got that.

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  8. insider () says:

    The problem is most likely because it is one of the roughest schools in Chch, and has been for years – that may be linked to demographics not ethnicity.

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  9. baxter () says:

    One solution might be to declare Aranui a maori language total immersion college.

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  10. Peter Perfect () says:

    Pakeha parents obviously voting with their feet (along with Asians) – and what responsible adults with children of their own would blame them?

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  11. Michelle () says:

    I remember when I myself and my family were looking for high schools to me to attend (only 7 years ago), went to the Aranui open night and a group of girls threatened to beat the cr.ap out of me.
    Yeah we def crossed it off my list!!!
    I think that’s why a lot of people didn’t go there.

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  12. Richmastery () says:

    I think zoning is brilliant – every kid should have the right to go to their local school.

    Only problem is that the schools are in the service industry and therefore it’s notoriously difficult to have a homogeneous product (education). Add in that the raw product is of a variable quality with issues such as social dysfunction and malnutrition and you have big problems giving a standard output.

    The solution? I don’t have the answers but zoning isn’t part of the solution or the problem.

    Oh, as as for white flight. There are schools in Whangarei and Auckland which have white flight in both directions. Out, through perceived snobbery or safety issues such as Michelle raised. In because these schools tend to be lower decile, better resourced and with lower student::teacher ratios.

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  13. ross marwick () says:

    I have posted my headmaster’s response to the white flight article below. The Press have agreed to pubish this as a letter to the editor, they don’t seem to think the information important enough to warrant a balancing article – ask yourself.

    Ross Marwick
    HOD Visual Arts
    Linwood College

    I have just read the email version of your ‘white flight’

    article in this morning’s Press.

    As you will appreciate from a number of our previous conversations over the past seven years I was disappointed to see that once again a stereotypic view of east Christchurch is being perpetuated through the media.

    In fact, the Linwood college story over the past five years is the reverse of any kind of ‘flight’. Our roll has increased from a low of 775 in 2001 to 935 this year and is projected to rise even further next year. This is a 21% increase to date!

    We attribute this significant increase to the following
    factors: improved academic performance; a signifiacantly improved ERO report in 2005 – and we predict next year’s review to show even further gains; some outstanding academic, sporting and cultural successes; tighter discipline standards and improved student safety; outstanding staff; and an improved reputation in the city, despite the stereotypic view of east Christchurch!

    The Ministry of Education figures on ‘surplus roll capacity’
    are theoretically true in that we are currently using a number of surplus old prefab buildings that are due for demolition next year. We have an agreement with the Ministry to remove all surplus classrooms within four years. We will then be eligible for much needed new classrooms. We could even institute an enrolment scheme at that stage but we would prefer to remain inclusive and have a more open enrolment policy.

    We would like to see the above form the basis of a follow up article in The Press. With next year’s enrolments closing shortly there is certainly interest in the wider community about this issue. A good news story would be a good balance to the ‘white flight’ article.

    Failing that, could you please forward this email to be considered for the Letters to the Editor column.

    Yours sincerely

    Rob Burrough
    Linwoood College

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