Dom Post on charter schools

December 8th, 2011 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Among those most depressed on election night were probably many teachers, their trade unions, and school principals.

I’m not so sure about “many” teachers. Most teachers don’t give a stuff about politics and just want to get on with teaching. It is the teacher politicians who devote most of their energy to educational politics that would have been depressed, but they are a minority of teachers.

The first John Key-led government made a priority of ensuring children can read and write – the foundation for all later learning – and parents getting school reports in plain English.

Known by its shorthand name, , the policy was steadfastly adhered to by Mr Key, who consulted educational experts before the 2008 election on what would make the most difference to the one in five children who leave school illiterate and innumerate.

The policy was equally steadfastly opposed by the primary teachers’ union and the Principals’ Federation, chiefly on ideological grounds.

Their biggest fear is that once data on how schools are doing under national standards is reported to the Education Ministry, it will be available to the whole community, which will learn which of the schools they fund from their taxes perform best.

Outraegous. I’m waiting for Labour to announce a policy that they will ban league tables not only for schools, but also for hospitals. It is appalling that Tony Ryall publishes which DHBs have the quickest times for A&E waiting times and cancer radiation treatment. Not all DHBs have the same sort of patients, and Ryall’s hospital league tables should be banned as they are unfair to the hospitals not at the top.

But it is criminal that up to 20 per cent of students leave school unable to read, write and do arithmetic.

Former Labour Party president and new Howard League for Penal Reform chief executive Mike Williams gets it: he is desperate to find literacy teachers willing to help prison inmates. Why would that be necessary if current education policy works as well as teachers claim? After all, those jailbirds went to school somewhere.

The NZ educational system works very well for the average student. However it works very badly for the bottom 20% and not that great for the top 10%.

If children who are failing can be helped to succeed by a different prescription – think kura kaupapa or Rudolf Steiner, for example – the trial is worth conducting to see what can be learned from it.

Absolutely. A great win for and for New Zealand.

Tags: , , , ,

47 Responses to “Dom Post on charter schools”

  1. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    An excellent editorial. I couldn’t agree more.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Bed Rater (239 comments) says:

    ” Not all DHBs have the same sort of patients, and Ryall’s hospital league tables should be banned as they are unfair to the hospitals not at the top.”

    I think this is a pretty weak comparison. The DHB targets are mainly dependant on the actions of the staff (with the possible exception of smoking cessation) The variables are fully controllable by the DHB. How well a child learns, on the other hand, is not.

    Not against National Standards, just weak flag bearers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    Bed Rater, I have to disagree. Sure there are variables within students, we all know this.

    But if you have a school where one teacher produces high results and one teacher produces poor results from the same decile level, then where do you sheet the blame?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Bed Rater (239 comments) says:

    Slighyrighty,

    With the poor performing teacher. Obviously

    I worded my first comment a little poorly. Allow me to rephrase:

    DPF I think your (albeit slightly sarcastic) attempt to compare National Standards, with the DHB published targets is well off.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. nasska (11,468 comments) says:

    I would be surprised if this thread didn’t attract the attention of the usual apologists for the “teacher politicians” – thanks for the term DPF.

    Perhaps they could consider this. The average child attends school at age 5, usually after attending kindergarten or a kura kaupapa equivalent. Most would finish their formal education somewhere between 15 & 18 years of age. That is at least ten years in which they are at the tender mercies of the teaching profession. These same overpaid poseurs would have us believe that it all boils down to what someone has for breakfast while “promoting” say a failing Year 3 child to a year 4 class so that they can keep failing at a higher level. What on earth stops them holding back a non achiever until they at least accomplish something.

    The commenters here & now even the left wing Dom Post are not decrying the teachers for failing to turn the tail 20% into brain surgeons but we all want to know how anyone can be exposed to ten years education & end up illiterate…not just below average but functionally illiterate & innumerate.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    “The NZ educational system works very well for the average student. However it works very badly for the bottom 20% and not that great for the top 10%.”

    Really? I no longer employ but did up until 3 years ago and would say the NZ educational system is mediocre. I’ve employed in a few countries and reckon the basic literacy and numeracy abilities shown by graduates (degree holders) in this country are poor. Literacy in particular is lamentable. This is generally made up by a much greater dose of common sense and flexibility compared to European countries but that is cultural and not an educational outcome I suggest.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Kiwi Poll Guy (5 comments) says:

    > The NZ educational system works very well for the average student. However it works very badly for the bottom 20% and not that great for the top 10%.

    Getting into properly politically incorrect territory there. You’re not supposed to worry about the top students.

    The top 10% aren’t at school to learn, they’re there to set a good behavioural example for the other students, and to help lesser-able classmates with their work (“vertical streaming”). Think of them as unpaid teacher-aide slave labour.

    [DPF: I helped heaps of classmates with their work. Until one of the bastards got a higher grade than me :-)]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    We pride ourselves on our education system, and should, but it isn’t perfect and it fails too many.
    The problem begins at primary level where eight years of teaching still results in 20% entering high school unable to read or write well enough to do third form (Y9) work. They keep slipping further and further back even with remedial work.
    We desperately need to improve our primary schools which at present have no public accountability at all unlike high schools that can be judged on NCEA results. After all, primary teachers are on the same pay scale as high school teachers!
    Everything is worth a go to try to make things better. The unions should be working alongside the government to do the best for the kids and forget this constant, self-interested and fruitless opposition to every change. No wonder Ministers of Education bypass them when they are so stupidly intransigent.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    ‘Everything is worth a go to try to make things better. The unions should be working alongside the government to do the best for the kids and forget this constant, self-interested and fruitless opposition to every change. No wonder Ministers of Education bypass them when they are so stupidly intransigent.’

    Firstly ‘everything’ is not worth a go; change should be based on evidence not ideology, secondly ‘working alongside’ involves both parties respecting the other and forming a good relationship, Tolley has no interest in building that relationship, her rat book stunt is a good example of that.

    I fully expect Tolley to be replaced as minister of education in a cabinet re-shuffle and that can only be a step in the right direction.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Parents already have the choice to move their kids between public schools, and I’m getting personal experience of this currently as my wife is on the BOT of my son’s school. The school’s roll is dropping by almost 20% next year as many parents have made the decision to move their kids to another local school. My wife has been canvassing them to find out why, and they’re all down to the principal and one or two teachers. A drop in the roll equates to a drop in funding. Our son’s school will have to lay off at least one teacher next year.
    This manufactured angst over charter schools is purely ideological bullshit. There’s no practical difference between parents moving their kids to another public school or a charter school.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    YesWeDid says: “…change should be based on evidence not ideology…”

    Do you also think that any opposition to change should be based on evidence rather than ideology?

    Nah – didn’t think so.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    “Parents already have the choice to move their kids between public schools”

    If there was true choice of schools then house prices would not be heavily infuenced by school catchment areas surely? The implication of this and the rest of your post is that there is some limited choice but not true choice.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    there is some limited choice but not true choice

    So what are you saying slijmbal? Are you saying that society should be built so everyone can send their kid to the top school in the country? How’s that going to work, in the real world?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    The implication of your post slijmbal is that opening charter schools in the areas they’re being trialled will increase house prices in those areas. This would suggest rolling out charter schools to every low decile area would help reduce inequality.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @reid – bollocks argument – obviously the best schools get to choose the best students – it’s the opportunity for poor parents to send their gifted kids to such schools that is limited in the current set-up. Are you saying Oxford Uni will accept all students – that is the ludicrous extension of your statement – by definition there should be competition in the educational system as the real world has competition.

    @rightnow – only if the selection process for students is location based, which I am argueing against. This will reduce the house price effects artificially arising from an ideological location based approach.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    If you can’t measure it you don’t know if it’s broke and you can’t fix it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @RightNow – “This manufactured angst over charter schools is purely ideological bullshit. There’s no practical difference between parents moving their kids to another public school or a charter school.”
    I agree wholeheartedly.

    I would very much like to see a few charter schools teaching reading using the old tried-and-true phonics method. I’m sure everyone would have heard of the late Doris Ferry (who used this method). Even though she was retired, her services as a reading teacher were in **huge** demand. The vast majority of parents are not stupid and they soon find out what works and what doesn’t.

    I am convinced that the education powers-that-be in New Zealand made a huge mistake in the early ’80s when they changed the method of teaching reading to the so-called “whole language” method. I can post a number of links which show that (a) – this method of teaching reading is a disaster, and (b) – phonics is superior. The poster-child for phonics in this country is Don Buck School in West Auckland. They switched to teaching reading via phonics and saw their reading-levels rocket.

    California got the message. They switched to “whole language” in the ’90s and saw their reading-levels drop to last place. Now, they’ve ditched “whole language” and have gone back to phonics. IIRC, they are not alone – a number of other states have done the same.

    Sorry for the diversion away from “charter schools”, but I wanted to get this information “out there”. For the last 25 years and counting, the schools have been teaching reading using a deeply-flawed and broken method.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @expat – do you charge for aphorisms?

    What’s the relevance or are you going for some sort of Buddhist like commentary?

    @thor none of my friends kids can spell because of this approach and surprisingly have poor employment outcomes (note sarcasm)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @slijmbal – Sorry to hear of your friend’s children’s problems.
    Anyway, here are some useful links which I’m sure will be interesting reading for everyone –

    An obituary for Doris Ferry –
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/obituaries/175322/Teacher-who-rescued-failures

    A good article about phonics –
    http://www.juniorenglish.de/jolly_phonics_article_01.htm

    A scathing article about whole-language –
    http://my.execpc.com/~presswis/phonics.html

    A pro-phonics article. This is by none other than Bill Honig, who introduced Whole Language to California, but has since re-thought his position.
    ( Surprise, surprise….. )
    http://bcbruns.tripod.com/phonics.htm

    Another article critical of whole-language –
    http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/culture/education/4151-the-phonics-vs-whole-language-controversy.html
    Quote –
    “Spoken language is made up of discrete units of sound, called phonemes, like the b sound in “bat” or “boy.” Phonics teaches a child to break down spoken words into their phonemes and to symbolize them by written letters. The child learns how to sound out each word through its component letters. Reducing reading to a manageable set of rules quickly enables a child to read almost any word — and to experience reading as something easy and pleasurable and mind-opening.

    This is what supporters of whole language condemn as “constraining” and “uncreative.” Analyzing language by abstract rules that connect phonemes to letters, one of them says dismissively, imposes “an uptight, must-be-right model of literacy.”

    Instead, they argue that the child ought to focus on an entire written word, like “hospital” or “boomerang,” and learn it as the teacher pronounces it. Having no method to reduce the tens of thousands of written words to a manageable set of rules, however, the child must treat each word as a unique symbol to be memorized–an impossible feat.”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Another interesting quote (from the tripod.com link above) –
    “It also makes good economic sense to use Phonics over Whole Language. In 1986, the late Nebraska Sen. Edward Zorinsky asked the U.S. Department of Education to study and examine reading programs being used in public schools. The cost analysis is shocking. Of 15 phonics-based programs reviewed, the average per-pupil cost was $30.34. The average per-pupil cost of a non-phonetic program or Whole Language was $214.53.”

    So (at least in the US) – phonics was cheaper and (as I’ve shown), more effective. It really is a no-brainer.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    There is some evidence that whole language approach is better for the approx 5% of children with dyslexia as they struggle with the phonetic approach,

    However, that implies that the majority of children should be taught via a phonetic approach and a minority with the whole language

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Agreed, slijmbal. Phonics should definitely be the “default” method, as it were.
    Anyway, that’s all from me on that….. back to charter schools now…. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Viking2 (11,467 comments) says:

    The new government, with the prompting of ACT, is taking a first step towards school choice with the trialling of charter schools for disadvantaged pupils.

    Howls of outrage from the Left and vested interest groups who want to retain a captive market under bureaucratic control.
    Some of the objectors are already into name calling mode but we have come to expect this from people who do not understand the principles of rational debate.

    I’ll mention my own background briefly. I taught for forty odd years in primary schools in New Zealand, Romania and Macau. I personally observed the falling of standards when bureaucrats of unknown competence and experience imposed a babbletalk and unfocused curriculum in place of the then Plain English one. Teachers were faced with new demands often with no or inadequate resources to meet them. (For example, the Maths text books in my Year 5 class were tossed out and replaced with…nothing!) My teacher union didn’t seem to see this as a problem.

    Three countries in Europe have gone down the road of school choice. I recommend the following reports which can be accessed on Google:
    1. School Choice in Sweden: An Interview With Thomas Idergard of Timbro.
    2. School Choice: Reports on Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden

    Read the reports and draw your own conclusions.

    http://www.nzcpr.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1200&p=38852#p38852

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    @reid – bollocks argument – obviously the best schools get to choose the best students – it’s the opportunity for poor parents to send their gifted kids to such schools that is limited in the current set-up. Are you saying Oxford Uni will accept all students – that is the ludicrous extension of your statement – by definition there should be competition in the educational system as the real world has competition.

    slijmbal I didn’t know I was putting up an argument rather merely asking a question but thanks for thinking I was, even if you did think it was bollocks.

    Of course the opportunity for poor parents to send their gifted kids to schools is limited in the current setup. I mean don’t you think that “in the current setup” it’s fairly evident that two factors play a high role to having “gifted kids” and these are: genetics and education of the parents. Sure, it’s entirely possible for two factory workers to breed gifted kids and why not. But it’s not as common as the backgrounds of other gifted kids and I’m not sure I’m with you if you care to argue there are many gifted kids born into poverty who simply never get a chance since that completely overlooks the genetic component which by definition means over generations that family rises out of poverty. Unless they’re artists of course. Anything happens then.

    Anyway maybe we’re talking at cross-purposes. Personally, I’m all for competition. I’d love to see top teachers paid much more than the Headmaster unless and until the Headmasters were all ex-top paid teachers. And I’d rigorously but non-judgementally examine all our children. Lefties don’t seem to get you can actually do both at the same time. The whole tragedy of the lefty mindset is the idiots think people don’t want to be challenged when in reality all of us know that’s the path to growth.

    Fake challenge however with no risk of failure is no path to growth rather it’s the path to dependency but this is how not what, but HOW they teach today, hence our current and growing and upcoming social mindset.

    Let’s hope Charter Schools prevent that. (Of course they will.)

    As I say slijmbal, we may have been talking at cross-purposes. Hope that clarifies.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    > the one in five children who leave school illiterate and innumerate.

    I wonder where the DomPost plucked this figure from? Wherever, I do feel good that I don’t read that garbage anymore.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    Did Mike Williams get the job because after heading the Liarbour Party he is intimately familiar with the criminal mind or because he just looks like an old lag? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. dad4justice (8,208 comments) says:

    Johnboy = Mike Williams has more slobber chops than my 75 kg bull dog :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @Viking2 – Very interesting reports!
    My conclusion is that the charter school approach does indeed work (certainly as implemented in Denmark, Netherlands and Sweden).
    What I found **most** interesting was that in at least one of the countries, the charter schools were not allowed to choose their pupils (so, no cherry-picking as it were). In spite of that, they still seemed to work very well.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    The sooner the funding follows the kids bum the better.
    we pay for private and don’t get to use all of the tax we pay for education plus we pay others costs.
    It galls that we can’t even claim it off of taxable income.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    @Mick Mac – I agree.
    That’s one of the things that seemed to stand out with the studies that Viking2 mentioned. The funds follow the child.
    I can’t wait for these trial charter schools to open.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Absolutely agree Mick, with a proviso. That for every ten of we who do that off our own bat, we bring one along with us throughout the entire journey (to high school grad) who is capable but unfortunately borne into impoverished circumstance and that is levied off the deduction.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    @Mick Mac
    Just to be clear… your opinion sounds self-interested and insular.
    That doesn’t make an argument just an empty opinion.

    I wonder why Act and the Nats think we should waste such a wonderful idea (Charter Schools) on the poor and not give the benefits directly to the rich?

    Oh that’s right, even the Act and Nats don’t believe they will work, so its only the poor kids who will be the guinea pigs.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Johnboy (16,483 comments) says:

    What subjects do you teach Mellie? :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Dyannt (28 comments) says:

    @Reid
    “I’d love to see top teachers paid much more than the Headmaster unless and until the Headmasters were all ex-top paid teachers. ”

    As an ex-primaty teacher, my observations in the past showed that in larger schools partiularly, when top teachers became non-teaching Headmasters a wonderful resource was lost to the school’s culture.
    My view is that a Head of School should be an excellent administrator that creates an educational climate where the good teachers can do what they do best – teach children.
    Appoint a Head “Teacher” that leads and inspires the teaching staff, and let the admin, admin.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Just thought I’d post the “charter school study” links here for easy reference-
    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/03/school-choice-in-sweden-an-interview-with-thomas-idergard-of-timbro

    http://seekerblog.com/2008/04/09/school-choice-reports-on-denmark-netherlands-and-sweden/

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    Just thought I’d post the “charter school study” links here for easy reference-
    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/03/school-choice-in-sweden-an-interview-with-thomas-idergard-of-timbro

    http://seekerblog.com/2008/04/09/school-choice-reports-on-denmark-netherlands-and-sweden/

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. chrisw76 (85 comments) says:

    @Mellie: The Rich already have the choice – they can buy a house in whatever zone they want or can afford private school fees. If they like the concept of a charter school I am sure they will have no problems in organising their kids to go there.

    It’s the poor and middle class that don’t have this option and the reason why it is important that we have a strong state run system. Charter schools can be a compliment to this if appropriately designed – as Rob Salmond’s article says – the important thing is the design not the idea in and of itself. If charter schools can help provide equality of opportunity to those that don’t otherwise have choice then they are a good thing.

    Cheers, Chris W.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. reid (16,440 comments) says:

    Dyannt in my world the head teacher is also the head administrator and the hirer and firer and most importantly, tone setter. That is the most critical and most difficult job in management, is why almost all managers in almost all organisations merely administrate.

    However this quality doesn’t really matter in corporate affairs for while obviously one is always super-efficient and nothing wrong ever happens, if anything does go wrong one doesn’t in the corporate world have the same responsibilities as exist in the educational world and in the military world in that, nobody’s consequentially dumb or dead.

    In either case in those industries however, failure is unacceptable.

    Seriously if educationalists bothered to educate themselves about the techniques the army uses to train people to do what they do, the school system would be turning out world-beating graduates by the hundreds of thousands.

    Instead they apparently shy away from the very thought of such techniques.

    If only they saw the synergies. Will Carter Schools? (Of course they will.)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    All in favour of charter schools. Amused by the tosh being spoken by some.

    Reid, in many of the roles I’ve worked, people die when things go wrong. Private healthcare perhaps? Airlines? Bus drivers? There are actually a lot of jobs that can kill people done wrong, and a lot of corporates that need to front that risk.

    I’m not a big fan of having a separate principal v’s head teacher. Or, to put it another way, I think the principal is the head teacher. But perhaps they might choose to hire an administrator, who reports to them, and is responsible for the day to day administration. Not the other way around.

    As for Mellie – blinded by prejudice much? Did you even consider that ACT might want to start with the poor because that’s where the problem is?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    @reid

    I read your question as rhetorical and pushing the argument against choice – my bad. Thus the bollocks comment – apologies.

    “Sure, it’s entirely possible for two factory workers to breed gifted kids and why not. But it’s not as common as the backgrounds of other gifted kids and I’m not sure I’m with you if you care to argue there are many gifted kids born into poverty who simply never get a chance since that completely overlooks the genetic component which by definition means over generations that family rises out of poverty. ”

    I would argue from personal experience and vaguely remember some research that indicates 2 factory workers do indeed breed gifted kids almost as frequently as well off parents. Genetically there is no real difference between poorer parents and well off parents that matter especially if one remembers the reversion to the mean rule in genetics. The difference in outcomes is almost all due to environment. By environment I believe mostly their family. I come from huge families in poor part of Liverpool and have a ludicrous amount of first cousins, getting on 70 (all named Stephen it seems). All the previous generation would be classed as poor – majority factory workers or similar – left school at 15 – no qualifications etc. I was the 1st in my entire family to stay on at school past 16 (eldest of the cousins). My generation is surprisingly successful – doctors, pharmacists, top degrees, no criminals, drug addicts or single parents etc. Even one olympic athlete. Considering this is from two large families of my parents with intermarriage this argues against it being predominantly genetic. I would argue it is almost entirely due to the attitude and approach of parents.

    As a child I saw loads of really bright kids with crap families fail, all around me every day.

    All in all, a huge argument in favour of giving poorer parents the opportunity to send their kids to better schools.

    PS the olympic athlete is probably genetic – her granddad’s family had a history of being acrobats in the circus or similar I am told.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Clint Heine (1,570 comments) says:

    ACT were trying to bring this in for the poorest areas for ever. In fact they pushed for schools to trial where poorer kids were able to go to a school of their parents choice and I believe this went well. No fall out from the lefties who were ready to pounce if it did.

    This is pure ideological hatred from the left and teachers unions who are hellbent on protecting their monopoly on education.

    We don’t accept monopolies on anything else, so why on education we are lagging far behind?

    You just need to walk down a high street to see kids that didn’t reach their potential and it’s sad. And we are led to believe by the left that MORE state schools with a one size fits all approach will help everybody. Do they really think Kiwis are that stupid?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    Get the parents onside by explaining the new choice and benefits to them of charter schools and school choice in general and the lefty maggots will be swept away in the rush out of the state mind molestation factories we have inflicted upon us now.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    @PaulL

    Exactly…. the problem is poverty. Let’s work on alleviating that rather than using poor kids as guinea pigs.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    @The Scorned
    Your choice of words to describe others caught my eye – you do realise that hatred of their views isn’t an argument?
    It is just intolerance wrapped up in an ugly wrapping.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Mellie: how do you propose to work on poverty. One very large cause of poverty is poor educational outcomes. Is it easier to directly address poverty, or to address the causes of poverty? Cycles of intergenerational dependence are very hard to address, you have to pick an access point that the government actually has control over. Good quality education can be one of those access points, so why neglect it in favour of some nebulous approach that you haven’t spelled out?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. Mellie (39 comments) says:

    @PaulL
    Basic food, warmth and good health are pre- requisites. Without adequate income in a family children cannot learn effectively no matter what the education provided.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    @Miellie….I don’t do “tolerance” for monopolistic,protected scum bags who want to warp and repress children’s minds and lives for their own petty and greedy self-interested goals….being teacher unions.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote