New Orleans’ charter schools

November 2nd, 2012 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The NZ education unions have been trumpeting the New Orleans as disasters and a reason not to have them in NZ. Well a couple of people in the US disagree with them – Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The Guardian reports:

Romney and Obama hail New Orleans’ charter schools as a model for America

New Orleans is a city that has been failed by government in the past, most tragically when Katrina struck. But one consequence of that disaster has been a root-and-branch transformation of its education system.

The reforms had begun before Katrina, but the pace was accelerated after the disaster. It is now the only US city where a majority of public school pupils – around eight in ten – attend charter schools, which are non-unionised and enjoy a rare degree of operational independence from government.

I think we see why Labour is so against.

This academic year brings further change; under reforms brought in by Republican governor Bobby Jindal, poorer students attending poorly performing state schools can apply for vouchers to cover their fees at a private or religious school. Nearly 5,000 students in Louisiana have taken up the voucher programme, making it one of the most popular such initiatives nationally.

Choice – excellent.

The goal in New Orleans is to reverse years of educational decline. Before Katrina, state schools here had become starkly segregated on race and class lines as white and middle class families removed their children.

By 2004 one in three New Orleans students was at a private or religious school, compared with a national average of 11%. In high school exit exams that year, 96% of the city’s public school students were below basic proficiency in English.

In the years since Katrina, student performance in tests has improved, and fewer students now go to failing schools. Students have achieved a higher average score in the ACT test, which measures readiness for college.

What a disaster.

John White, Louisiana’s state superintendent of education, argues that decentralisation has freed schools to act in children’s best interests. Charter schools, state-funded but independently run by non-profit groups, are now the norm in New Orleans. In the past school year, 78% of public school students were enrolled in charters. The proportion will rise this year. Such schools enjoy great flexibility in managing their time and allocating resources.

White said: “A lot of this is about ensuring that parents don’t leave. It’s really not the state that is the best vehicle for keeping parents in our schools, it’s the schools, and how do you do that? You create a policy environment where choice is the norm, where schools have the freedom to improve and retain parents. We have a choice and competition model, where schools are competing for the interest of parents.”

Innovation works – even in schools.

In an attempt to ensure that schools don’t game the system, a unified system of enrolment has been introduced for the whole city, with places at oversubscribed schools decided by lottery rather than how close the family lives. Schools must abide by the same rules on exclusions. A network of school buses provides transport, enabling families to choose a school distant from their home.

No cherry picking.

In Louisiana, the state sets clear limits on the marketplace. In the end, accountability to its testing regime trumps choice: the government will close a chronically underperforming public school even if parents continue to choose it.

How terrible – closing bad schools.

Granting schools greater autonomy is regarded as vital to the health of the system. Freeing schools from central control – chiefly by setting up charters – has been a hallmark of education reform in the US, embraced by the leaders of both parties.

If only, parties were more enlightened in NZ. You’d think Labour would at least want to give charters a fair go, and see if they can work in NZ. But instead they are 100% negative on them.

Jay Altman, chief executive of FirstLine Schools, dismisses the idea that the competition for students discourages schools from sharing knowledge.

“Even though hospitals in this country are competing with each other and patients have relative choice, medicine has some of the best knowledge sharing in the world,” he pointed out. “Those of us who are trying to close the [education] achievement gap nationally, we share practices all the time.”

Competition doesn’t preclude co-operation and sharing.

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63 Responses to “New Orleans’ charter schools”

  1. Rightandleft (650 comments) says:

    I was a registered Democrat in the US and I’m disgusted by Obama’s support for charter schools, performance pay and other so-called reforms which have no basis in evidence and have been shown to hurt the systems adopting them. I seriously considered voting for a third party due to his terrible education policies that are only further destroying the US school system.

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  2. Bob R (1,353 comments) says:

    The demographics have changed post Katrina too.

    “Today only 38,000 students are enrolled in New Orleans schools, compared with 65,000 in the year before Katrina. You simply cannot make the argument that test scores are improving without figuring in the fact that some 40 percent of students — a lot of them struggling with poverty and disabilities, the kinds of students who might well lower test scores — haven’t come back. One indicator that many poor families won’t be coming back is that, for the first time, New Orleans’ suburbs now have a higher number of low-income families than the city: 92,752 versus 67,861

    http://www.theroot.com/views/myth-charter-schools-have-saved-new-orleans?page=0,0

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  3. dime (9,601 comments) says:

    teacher bait heh

    only unionised workers can teach!!! teachers CANT be rated! they are the only profiession in the world that can not be rated and judged! blah blah blah

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  4. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Yep…so PPTA activist “Rightandleft” shows his ability to keep the blinkers on, hide his vested interests (including being a taxpayer funded teacher) and not even read the article properly for the evidence.

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  5. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why we would use ideas from an education system near the bottom of the OECD/PISA ladder.

    Shouldn’t we be looking to those at the top like ourselves, Finland, South Korea and Canada for new ideas?

    Don’t we have already have choice in New Zealand? State, State-integrated, special character, kura, private, etc.

    ACT Party ideas normally die out. Remember that Don Brash led working group that said we should close the wage gap between NZ and Australia by lowering the minimum wage? Brash, not the best at maths.

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  6. Inky_the_Red (741 comments) says:

    As the results of Education in the US is lower than NZ why follower the loser?

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  7. KH (689 comments) says:

    I am sick of hearing from New Zealand Teachers unions.
    All day, every day it’s obstruction, obstruction, obstruction.
    so – anything that a teachers union is against – I’m for it.

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  8. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    DPF conveniently ignores that at least one prominent backer of Charter Schools thinks that having kids taught by qualified teachers is a little onerous. Catherine Isaac is quite happy for those lacking qualifications to teach kids. Hmmm and here I thought Charter Schools was about raising educational standards – the opposite is in fact true.

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  9. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > All day, every day it’s obstruction, obstruction, obstruction

    Yes, KH, unions are so demanding wanting kids to be taught by qualified teachers, not by the local plumber.

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  10. Bob R (1,353 comments) says:

    @ Hamnida,

    The US actually does better than most countries on PISA when you correct for demography. As Tino Sanandaji writes:

    “The simplest thing to do in order to get an apples-to-apples comparison is to at least correct for demography and cultural background. For instance, Finland scores the best of any European country. However first and second generation immigrant students in Finland do not outperform native Swedish, and score 50 points below native Finns (more on this later).

    The mean score of Americans with European ancestry is 524, compared to 506 in Europe, when first and second generation immigrants are excluded. So much for the bigoted notions that Americans are dumb and Europeans are smart. This is also opposed to everything I have been taught about the American public school system.

    For Asian-American students (remember this includes Vietnam, Thailand and other less developed countries outside Northeast Asia), the mean PISA score is 534, same as 533 for the average of Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. Here we have two biases going in opposite directions: Asians in the U.S are selected. On the other hand we are comparing the richest and best scoring Asian countries with all Americans with origin in South and East Asia.

    2. Policy-Implications

    Libertarians in the United States have often claimed that the public school system (which has more than 90% of the students) is a disaster. They blame this on government control and on teachers unions. However, it is completely unfair to demand that a public school in southern California where most of the students are recent immigrants from Mexico whose parents have no experience in higher education (only 4% of all Mexican immigrates have a college degree, compared to over 50% of Indian immigrants) should perform as well as a private school in Silicon Valley.

    The libertarians have no answer why European and Asian countries that also have public school systems score higher than the United States (unadjusted for demography). Top scoring Finland has strong teacher unions, just as California.

    Similarly, the left claims that the American education system is horrible, because Americans don’t invest enough in education. The left has no answer when you point out that the United States spends insanely more than Europe and East Asia on education. According to the OECD, the United States spends about 50% more per pupil than the average for Western Europe, and 40% more than Japan.

    Another policy implication is that Europe can learn from American public schools, which appear to be better than most European countries. I can only compare Sweden with the U.S, but I can tell you that from my experience, the American system is superior. I always thought this was just anecdotal evidence, but I am beginning to realize that American schools are indeed better….

    http://super-economy.blogspot.co.nz/2010/12/amazing-truth-about-pisa-scores-usa.html

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  11. Zapper (945 comments) says:

    Hamnida claims to be better at maths than Don Brash. Brilliant.

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  12. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Bob R – Not matter how you try and spin it, New Zealand performs much better than the U.S in the OECD/PISA rankings.

    NZ – currently no charter schools
    US – thousands of charter schools

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  13. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    Zapper – I just admire the Brash logic – To bring $15 and $20 closer together, you reduce $15 to $12.

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  14. Zapper (945 comments) says:

    But of course, you know that isn’t something Dr Brash ever said.

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  15. tom hunter (4,526 comments) says:

    I was a registered Democrat in the US and I’m disgusted by Obama’s support for charter schools, performance pay and other so-called reforms which have no basis in evidence and have been shown to hurt the systems adopting them.

    So you’re opposed to charter schools in the USA, as well as in NZ?

    That’s very interesting given what you said on this charter school thread

    We don’t have the kind of strict, no choice whatsoever, school zones NYC has, we don’t have the centralised, strictly bureaucratic school system the US has.

    … and this one:

    The state education system in NZ already is a charter school system where parents have a great deal of choice. In the US public schools are run by city-wide or state-wide boards of education and kids have to attend the school their address dictates.

    Because both of those comments gave me the impression that you were okay with charter schools in the USA, given the public school problems there, while being opposed to them here in NZ.

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  16. emmess (1,382 comments) says:

    I think the impression that America has a terrible education system compared to other western countries, goes back to the 80s and early 90s from movies and TV programs about inner city schools, which was may have been true regarding those particular schools but hardly a fair account. I am sure other countries worst schools were or are almost as bad.

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  17. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    tom hunter – I would recommend you enrol in Education 101 next year.

    New Zealand schools have charters, but they are not charter schools.

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  18. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    The left hates freedom and choice for parents….thats the crux.

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  19. Zapper (945 comments) says:

    You’re a decent troll Hamnida, I’ll give you that. What other talents do you have?

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  20. tom hunter (4,526 comments) says:

    New Zealand schools have charters, but they are not charter schools.

    How wonderful. Hamnida agrees with the right-wingers here. NZ’s schools are not charter schools.

    Now you go and argue with your left-wing mates like Rightandleft who – among others – said that:

    The state education system in NZ already is a charter school system ….

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  21. Reid (16,061 comments) says:

    The left hates freedom and choice for parents….thats the crux.

    Well yes they do hate that but the real crux is to control education. This is why Lange, when PM, made himself the Minister of Education. Imagine it, the PM, making himself the Minister of Ed. WTF? The reason he did it is, shaping the thinking of young mouldable minds is what lies behind every single lefty policy on education because if you can get em while they’re young, some of them will keep that shape for the rest of their lives. And all young people are idealistic and want world peace, so they’re all susceptible to lefty memes on how nasty and selfish it is not to think and be like a lefty.

    Nasty isn’t it but it’s true. This is why they vehemently object to every single thing that takes control of shaping young minds out of their hands and puts it into the hands of others, who may not be so “reliable.”

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  22. Zapper (945 comments) says:

    Perhaps we need approved standards for parenting.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10844658

    These stupid pieces of scum, both the supposed killer and the mother, should be sterilised after spending a decent stretch behind bars.

    Edit: Woops, thought I was on GD for some reason

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  23. Tautaioleua (291 comments) says:

    :-(

    I read via this morning’s paper that our Charter School scheme might just endorse unregistered teachers with no formal qualifications whatsoever. And this is the “model” that Americans pride themselves on? lol I want nothing to do with the US education system.

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  24. Ross12 (1,211 comments) says:

    If one of the main arguments by the unions against the idea of trialling a couple of schools based on the charter school idea is that they might use unqualified teachers, why are they not pushing to stop home schooling ???

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  25. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    Methinks a few teachers have commented hereon above!!

    I read an article in today’s NZ Herald about Lesley Longstone, the recently appointed NZ Secretary of Education. She sounds just what the NZ education system needs.

    An interesting fact the article contained was that – whereas our teaching profession prides itself on the, claimed, superiority of NZ educational attainment in comparison with other countries – in fact, in the latest OECD assessment of 15-year old’s attainment, whilst NZ Europeans – (counted separately) – are in second position out of 65 countries – Maori are at 34th and Pacific students at 44th!!

    What does that tell you about the REAL quality of NZ education?. Or should i say teaching?

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  26. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Ross…
    Yes, KH, unions are so demanding wanting kids to be taught by qualified teachers, not by the local plumber

    Which school is going to hire a plumber to teach science for example?

    I don’t have a teaching qualification, but I can assure you that I have almost 10 years of experience in private teaching/coaching of high school students (in Math/Physics) . I can teach much better than most qualified physics/math teachers. Its the ability of the teacher to teach and make student understand the subject that counts, rather than the qualification of the teacher. This is what charter school can offer.

    Tautai…
    I read via this morning’s paper that our Charter School scheme might just endorse unregistered teachers with no formal qualifications whatsoever.

    As I said, I have no formal qualification

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  27. Bob R (1,353 comments) says:

    @ Hamnida,

    I think you should re-read the post by Sanandaji – he is defending US public schools.

    His point is that you can’t compare the overall US results with Asia and Europe unless you first adjust for the demographic makeup of the students. When you compare european students in the US with those in Europe, or Asian-Americans with those in Asia the US public schools actually do very well. He is defending their performance.

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  28. Bob R (1,353 comments) says:

    ***in fact, in the latest OECD assessment of 15-year old’s attainment, whilst NZ Europeans – (counted separately) – are in second position out of 65 countries – Maori are at 34th and Pacific students at 44th!!

    What does that tell you about the REAL quality of NZ education?. Or should i say teaching?***

    @ Akaroa,

    It tells you more about the respective abilities or attitudes of the students. Remember there is no reason to expect groups from different ancestral environments to display the same average abilities in the first place (see the high East Asian performance pretty much everywhere).* Then you have cultural differences as well which can also influence performance.

    * http://evoandproud.blogspot.co.nz/2011/02/east-asian-intelligence.html

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  29. Reid (16,061 comments) says:

    It tells you more about the respective abilities or attitudes of the students.

    No it doesn’t Bob. It tells you about the respective attitudes of their parents toward their child’s education. This is why, der, Asians outperform everywhere no matter what country: US, here, Australia, Europe, etc. Their parents really care and pay attention because they appreciate education, often because they themselves don’t have it and they don’t want their kids to have their life. It’s not rocket science.

    That’s the key, along with love of course, that goes without saying. The parents who don’t do this can be classified along the selfishness scale, where they more or less don’t care about any others except themselves.

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  30. OneTrack (2,723 comments) says:

    Tautaioleua – “I read via this morning’s paper that our Charter School scheme might just endorse unregistered teachers with no formal qualifications whatsoever”

    Oh the horror, someone might be teaching the children who hasn’t been through the indoctrination program. They might expose them to “unapproved” ideas. Shocking.

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  31. DJP6-25 (1,294 comments) says:

    Falafulu Fisi 6:01 pm. That’s just the kind of teacher the charter schools will be looking for.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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  32. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > This is what charter school can offer

    I can’t recall you saying that we should abandon qualifications in teaching…is this a new idea of yours and should we do that with other professions?

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  33. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > Maori are at 34th and Pacific students at 44th!!

    What a silly statement…the same could apply to the health system and elsewhere. Are you suggesting the government is failing across the board?

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  34. Rightandleft (650 comments) says:

    Tom Hunter (4:33),

    I’m against charter schools in the US because of the way they run their charter school system. It is not the same as the way we run the NZ system and it varies widely from state to state. I would absolutely back the US instituting a charter system on the NZ model. However, the main differences as they stand (though again they vary state to state) are lack of accountability to taxpayers, much greater ability to exclude students, ability to cherry-pick students and less state control over the curriculum. The elements of charters that I most like are school competition and thus parental choice. Thus I think NZ is already exactly what you want in a charter system right now. Making it more like the US model of charter schools is absolutely the wrong thing to do.

    Hamnida,

    NZ does have a charter school system. Professor John O’Neil’s research specifically stated this fact. In fact he found the only thing all charter schools around the world have in common is that they have a charter. I think NZ’s system works quite well under this model, though Lesley Longstone has recently said we aren’t ‘mature’ enough for it.

    And before people call me a lefty read any of my comments on non-education issues and you’ll see that I’m not. Being left-wing on a single issue, centre-right on several and hard right on a few makes me more of a centrist than anything. Personally it astounds me how so many on the right just get blinded by their hatred of unions and are willing to go with any policy any union denounces.

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  35. David Garrett (6,638 comments) says:

    ross69: Genuine question here…what is your view on unqualified teachers at kohanga reo; people who have excellent skills in te reo or tikanga, but are otherwise unqualified? Is that OK? If so, do explain why…I’m sure a good leftie like you would NEVER say “it’s only pre-school so it doesn’t really matter” or words to that effect…

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  36. Bob R (1,353 comments) says:

    ***This is why, der, Asians outperform everywhere no matter what country: US, here, Australia, Europe, etc. Their parents really care and pay attention because they appreciate education, often because they themselves don’t have it and they don’t want their kids to have their life. It’s not rocket science.***

    @ Reid,

    Except transracial adoption results suggest there is more to it than that.

    http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/004064.html

    Also, see this post by Steve Hsu on Tiger Mums and behavioural genetics:

    “…In other words, despite a lifetime of proximity, your adopted child may bear no more similarity to you (in terms of, e.g., intelligence) than someone selected at random from the general population. The shared family environment that your children (biological or adopted) experience has little or no measurable effect on their cognitive development. While there are environmental effects on intelligence (the highest estimates of heritability for adult IQ are around .8, and some would argue for a lower value; see here for Turkheimer’s work suggesting low heritability in the case of severe deprivation), they seem to be idiosyncratic factors that can’t be characterized using observable parameters such as the parents’ SES, parenting style, level of education, or IQ. It is as if each child experiences their own random micro-environment, independent of these parental or family characteristics.

    … The naive and still widely held expectation is that, e.g., high SES causes a good learning environment, leading to positive outcomes for children raised in such environments. However, the data suggests that what is really being passed on to the children is the genes of the parent, which are mainly responsible for, e.g., above average IQ outcomes in high SES homes …

    The implications are quite shocking, especially for two groups: high investment parents (because the ability of parents to influence their child’s development appears limited) and egalitarians (because the importance of genes and the difficulty in controlling environmental effects seem to support the Social Darwinist position widely held in the previous century).

    I have no doubt that certain narrow skill sets (like piano playing, swimming, baseball) can be transmitted through parental effort. But the evidence seems to point the other way for intelligence, personality, religiosity and social attitudes. Are Chinese moms such outliers that they constitute a counterexample to the large-statistics studies cited above? It was shown by Turkheimer that in cases of extreme deprivation heritability can decrease significantly. Can Tiger Moms have the same effect at the positive end of the spectrum?

    As a parent myself I am used to the very sloppy epistemology that is par for the course: we did X to the kids when they were younger, which is why they are so Y now, or: if you do X to your kids now, they are more likely to be Y later. In reality, as with any complex system, it is nearly impossible to relate cause and effect in a remotely rigorous way. Nevertheless, the world is full of (often contradictory) parenting advice, and most parents are absurdly overconfident in their opinions.

    See figure below (click to enlarge) from Sources of human psychological differences: Minnesota study of twins reared apart, Bouchard et al. (p. 142). MZA = MonoZygotic twins raised Apart, MZT = MonoZygotic twins raised Together. On the personality inventories the MZA and MZT correlations are almost identical — even more so than for g. Shared family environment did not make twins more similar in personality, and only slightly more similar in IQ…

    stole this figure from Razib. It’s from Turkheimer’s paper showing that heritability of IQ increases with SES. Thus, Tiger Moms are fighting against diminishing returns: once the child’s environment is already pretty good (say, 80th percentile SES), most variation is due to genetics. Note Turkheimer’s results show more shared environmental variance than Plomin and Daniels found, but everything is consistent within errors. One objection to Turkheimer’s results is that his measurements are of young children, and in other studies it is found that heritability increases with age — perhaps because children gain more control over their lives and their genetic proclivities become more manifest.”

    http://infoproc.blogspot.co.nz/2011/01/tiger-mothers-and-behavior-genetics.html

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  37. duggledog (1,410 comments) says:

    Ross69 @ 4.12 pm:

    ‘Yes, KH, unions are so demanding wanting kids to be taught by qualified teachers, not by the local plumber’

    Maybe it would be better or at least the same. Guess what my 13 year old got taught this week in ‘health’? That he had to shower every night now that he is officially a teenager.

    What the f***?

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  38. Rightandleft (650 comments) says:

    So you think that was a bad thing to teach the class? You might be shocked by the number of 13 year olds who clearly don’t shower for days at a time.

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  39. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Rightandleft is explaining to deceive. He knows full well that although NZ state schools are required to have a “charter” they are not Charter Schools as in the US model, or Free Schools as in the UK model or Partnership Schools as the NZ model will be. These schools are/will be administered privately while being funded through taxation. Way different from simply having a “charter.”
    It is not hatred of unions. The PPTA and NZEI as “education” unions are simply hopeless when it comes to actually caring for children. Any innovators in NZ education know that when the NZEI and/or PPTA are against something then it is likely to be worthwhile and have good outcomes for kids.
    It has taken a newcomer to NZ in Lesley Longstone, to be honest about how the system is anything but world class for Maori and Pacific Island students and that something different needs to be done. Rightandleft and his beloved PPTA continue to defend the indefensible and are prepared to sacrifice yet another generation to protect their patch. Why are they inherently interested in the failure of certain groups?
    The ongoing dishonesty is also tremendously disrespectful to NZ families.

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  40. duggledog (1,410 comments) says:

    Reid @ 4.48 pm

    ‘This is why Lange, when PM, made himself the Minister of Education. Imagine it, the PM, making himself the Minister of Ed. WTF? The reason he did it is, shaping the thinking of young mouldable minds’

    Seriously? I was always under the impression that he just thought it might have been kinda neat… Not that he wanted to indoctrinate any kids.

    However the end result – absolutely. Kids get ‘groomed’ to be left wing basically. That’s what I’m seeing with my mine. Pretty much all the teachers now active have been ‘tomorrow’s school-ed’ and they won’t let it go even though it’s clearly an abject failure.

    Too many kids leave school like Lange smart but dumb

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  41. Rightandleft (650 comments) says:

    Anodos,

    Trying to convince you that PPTA is actually interested in doing what’s best for students is clearly pointless. You have an irrational hatred of the organisation despite obviously having absolutely no knowledge of what it does. But for the less obviously biased out there I will point out that PPTA is not just a union it is also a professional association which provides lots of best practice professional development to teachers and works with researchers and subject associations to improve all educational outcomes. It is also probably the most culturally sensitive organisation I’ve ever come across. Maori and Pasifika educators have their own committees and guaranteed votes at the top levels of decision-making. Great amounts of time and effort are dedicated to addressing the problems Pasifika and Maori students face. When PPTA opposes this new model of charter schools it is because the research goes against it and we think it will hurt more students than it will help.

    You think PPTA is so vehemently against them because they’re a threat to teachers? Even in the US where they’ve been trialled for decades they have only a minute percentage of students and teachers employed in them do so without union protection so the union has nothing to lose if they’re treated poorly by their employers. We’re against them because the PPTA view is that they will harm students and believe it or not that is something that really bothers teachers.

    Also I will note that I just agreed we aren’t a charter on the US model. We are an NZ charter model and one that works. I specifically stated we should not follow the US model.

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  42. David Garrett (6,638 comments) says:

    Ah! Rightand left, since Ross69 has clearly left the building, perhaps you could give us your view on whether it’s OK for kohanga reo to have unqualified teachers, but all other ECE facilities must have a certain ratio of qualified teachers….

    And if it IS Ok for kohanga teachers to be unqualified, why is that exactly? Do tell…

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  43. duggledog (1,410 comments) says:

    Rightandleft what I’m meaning is that’s my job!

    If teachers really think this should be part of the curriculum – even if it’s a 20 minute segment of a lesson – they either think NZ parents are that stupid they don’t even know if their kids are showering (patronising) or they think 13 year olds are stupid (to quote the Who ‘the kids are all right’). 13 is precisely when they DO start to take notice of their presentation and taking three month showers.

    They should be taught something useful!

    Personally, I think all of my kids’ teachers are really great, engaged, committed people. But I do wonder whether sometimes it might just be better if they just move in to my house and raise my kids for me

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  44. Bob R (1,353 comments) says:

    @ Anodos,

    As noted above, it makes little sense to expect diverse groups to have similar outcomes. As Tino Sanandaji suggested
    the simplest thing to do in order to get an apples-to-apples comparison. In this case do you have some evidence of a system elsewhere getting better results for Pasifika students? How do they get on in the US or Australia, or in the Pacific Islands? Better? Worse? Similar?

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  45. Rightandleft (650 comments) says:

    David Garrett,

    We’ve had this discussion before if you recall. You too may have incorrectly assumed I’m solidly on the left along with Ross69. Remember I absolutely feel there is no reason for there to be unqualified or unregistered teachers at any level on cultural grounds. We wouldn’t allow doctors of traditional Maori medicine to have the same standing as real doctors on cultural grounds. We don’t make exceptions for other professions on cultural grounds. Well except for MPs, but I disagree with that as well.

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  46. David Garrett (6,638 comments) says:

    Bob R: Good questions… As far as the Pacific goes, I am only familiar with Tonga…the best schools (they are very much a mixed bag, and everyone knows which government schools are best) turn out first class students…but I dont think the PPTA would be very keen on some of their methods…including the cane, even for girls… actually that may have changed, but my wife aged 35 was certainly caned frequently when she went through high school, as were her younger sisters…Funnily enough “discipline problems” are unknown in Tongan schools…

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  47. Rightandleft (650 comments) says:

    duggledog,

    I’m afraid some parents are not doing their jobs and a lot of 13 year olds are not socially aware enough to realise on their own. It is a real issue with a fair number of our Year 9s and 10s in fact. I don’t think suggesting to them that they need to shower in a health class environment is usurping the parent’s role. Believe me I am not one to support the state taking away parental control or imposing nanny statism. Suggesting they need to take a shower isn’t an intrusion in my view. If you have other examples of encroachment feel free to share them and I might agree with you.

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  48. David Garrett (6,638 comments) says:

    Rightandleft: I stand corrected…I had forgotten that was you…

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  49. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Bob R – NZ cannot afford to continue with the differential educational outcomes for different cultural groups. We have now shown that one size does not fit all and need to innovate carefully and without preconceptions. The 20% differential between Maori and non-Maori at Level 2 NCEA is a disgrace and no amount of chanting “world class” excuses it.

    Having spent 20 years in secondary teaching in NZ (a wee bit longer than Rightandleft) I have a very good idea of the PPTA and their contribution. There is a massive chasm between being “culturally sensitive” and actually doing something effective for the massive tail group of underachievers.

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  50. Bob R (1,353 comments) says:

    ***NZ cannot afford to continue with the differential educational outcomes for different cultural groups.***

    Well, the US has been trying to do something about that for decades. I’m not aware of anything that can make different groups have the same educational outcomes, anymore than you can make them have similar sporting outcomes. Of course I agree that’s not a reason not to try new things (eg. different approaches to discipline as noted above in Tonga).

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  51. Rightandleft (650 comments) says:

    Anodos,

    You’re right that I’ve been in teaching a much shorter time than you, so I can’t comment on PPTA policies a decade or more ago. But are you saying that PPTA doesn’t care about the gap between Pakeha and other cultural groups’ outcomes? Are you saying the PPTA has actively ignored the issue? Or are you saying the PPTA has made legitimate attempts to close the gap but has thus far failed despite having good intentions?

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  52. Reid (16,061 comments) says:

    RightandLeft and Anodos, does the PPTA talk most about how to identify then emulate the techniques found in the group that does better, or does it talk most about how to redistribute resources so the outcomes will become more equal?

    I’m just curious because in the business world, sports and most of life, what one normally does if one wants to get healthy, fit, rich or anything else, is study how the best of the best do it then emulate what they do.

    I just don’t see a whole hell of a lot of that in the education sector, but maybe I’m just not close enough to it.

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  53. mikenmild (11,153 comments) says:

    I like the way that some assume that the so-called ‘tail’ of under achievement can be address by institutional changes to the education system alone. Problems of disparity of outcome are so well known across every measurable characteristic that it is almost as though some other things might be relevant than whether we play with a few charter schools and beat up on teachers.

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  54. Rightandleft (650 comments) says:

    The phrase most often used is “best practice” which is based on research into the education techniques shown to result in the best student outcomes. We hear about best practice in teaching specific subjects or generally as well as best practice in teaching Maori or Pasifika students. The Te Kotahitanga programme used in many schools is often discussed as having produced improvements in Maori achievement levels but also in general population student outcomes. Classroom management styles are discussed as well. There is also debate over the effectiveness of restorative justice systems instead of the traditional punitive method still employed by most schools.

    If you mean do we look at what Auckland Grammar is doing and say, let’s advocate that across the board because they’re getting top results. Then no, we don’t do that. We say, what is the method Auckland Grammar is using. Okay, does research say this teaching style will be effective for students everywhere? If there is not enough research we might commission our own to find out. If the research says yes this technique has shown good results generally then based on the evidence we then might have trained staff write a paper advocating that PPTA promote that said system is adopted by all schools. This will then be debated by branches around the nation and then at a regional level, finally to be agrred to or dismissed at a national conference. That is a fairly labourious process but it is democratic and evidence-based.

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  55. tom hunter (4,526 comments) says:

    I read via this morning’s paper that our Charter School scheme might just endorse unregistered teachers with no formal qualifications whatsoever.

    Yes, KH, unions are so demanding wanting kids to be taught by qualified teachers, not by the local plumber

    And just to add to Falafulua’s response you all might want to read this dedication to a man who recently died – Graham Crawshaw. And who was he? Oh, just a ordinary New Zealand farmer, with a woolshed and the rest …

    Graham began his life’s work in 1962 on a small scale, starting camps for boys on his farm. He always loved working with the “hard cases”—the kids forgotten or ejected by the factory school system; the misfits, the rebels, the rejects, the ones who didn’t fit in. The first camps were held in his woolshed, where a loft was constructed for the sleeping quarters.

    But it was about more than just social skills:

    Over time he identified a common theme with his troublemakers, and the troublemakers he met elsewhere. Following his intuition he began to haunt the courts, astonished at what he found: the troublemakers at both the courts and his camps had all been through the mainstream schools system, yet nearly all of them had never learned to read

    Graham Crawshaw’s greatest passion was teaching young boys to read. In around two weeks on what he called his Reading Adventure Camps, he gave un-reading and troubled young boys “alternatives to angry behaviour, offering them activities involving the three key elements boys love – mud, fire and water. After awhile, they forget to be angry.” And they were taught to read.

    I’d suggest you all read the whole thing, including his assessment of Dame Marie Clay.

    That was a man with no formal teaching skills at all – a bog-standard farmer – and yet for forty years he was one of the people cleaning up the messes of boys left behind by the NZ school system. Perhaps someone will take over his particular approach: perhaps even make a charter school. They could do worse things in their lives.

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  56. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    David G…
    certainly caned frequently

    I went through the same thing. Well, In my view, that was then. I wouldn’t accept to see it happening again in today’s environment.

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  57. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Rightandleft – Simply that the PPTA puts the interest of their members ahead of the interests of children. In the case of Partnership Schools by simply opposing every step without seeing the possibilities. People with children as their key interest would look for outstanding models and ways to implement them – even if the benefit is primarily for minority children.

    You comment on “best practice” shows the inertia endemic in NZ education. If the PPTA approve a style they “write a paper advocating that PPTA promote that said system is adopted by all schools”. Back to one size fits all – it is not working for those who need the opportunities that carefully introduced Partnership Schools may provide. There have been Charter School failures overseas. There have also been tremendous successes. The PPTA would gain credibility by promoting the implementation of the successful models to help their children that their members, although no doubt well intentioned, are not succeeding with.

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  58. Reid (16,061 comments) says:

    Thanks L&R, a very clear explanation, most appreciated.

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  59. Falafulu Fisi (2,176 comments) says:

    Hamida…
    NZ – currently no charter schools
    US – thousands of charter schools

    Read science & engineering academic peer review research journals (I suspect that it applies to other disciplines as well) and try to scan them if you’re lucky to find a single research paper from NZ in a specific volume/issue.

    We may be performing better at high school level compared to the US, but high school level education doesn’t revolutionalize society. Its tertiary level that does.

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  60. Matthew Flannagan (64 comments) says:

    I don’t understand why we would use ideas from an education system near the bottom of the OECD/PISA ladder.

    Shouldn’t we be looking to those at the top like ourselves, Finland, South Korea and Canada for new ideas?

    Or the Netherlands for example?

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  61. mikenmild (11,153 comments) says:

    We have a world class education system of which we can be rightly proud. To the extent that it fails at all, it tends to be in the ability to turn around those students who are already at the bottom of the heap in every other measure of relative deprivation. So, imagining that radical educational reform will change much is both foolish and naive.
    Luckily, the present government is a conservative one, so while it will tinker with a couple of charter schools and provoke some small-scale skirmishes with teachers to pander to its supporters, this is not done from any desire to actually change anything.

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  62. ChardonnayGuy (1,168 comments) says:

    Got to say, I’m in two minds about charter schools. Now, I’d have no objections if the chartering organisations turned out to be business concerns with excellent human resource management and EEO records insofar as LGBT employees were concerned, because then we’d be reassured that they’d take LGBT discrimination and employment concerns with all due seriousness. However, the same can’t be said for antigay religious groups who get such contracts…and let’s face it, religious social conservatives don’t do strategic management all that well…

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  63. Ed Snack (1,769 comments) says:

    The PPTA has NEVER been the slightest bit concerned with students and their experience or learning. The PPTA has a single interest, perpetuating itself and its senior officials power, prestige, and political opportunities. And that is unlikely to ever change.

    That said, a great many, in fact probably a serious majority, of members of the PPTA care greatly about their students and how they fare.

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