A football charter school?

February 3rd, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Jody O’Callaghan at SST reports:

New Zealand’s greatest footballer wants to set up one of the country’s new .

Oceania Footballer of the Century and devout, born-again Christian predicts he will be “adding a bit to the controversy” of the schools being hotly debated in the education sector.

Details of “partnership” schools will not be formalised until the Education Amendment Bill 2012 is passed, but a working group has collected expressions of interest from potential founders of the non-state schools.

Wellington-born and raised Rufer is in talks with a Christian middle school trust to create a school of “excellence”, specialising in football.

The intended location of Rufer’s school is South Auckland, but the Villa Education Trust – which designed Auckland’s Mt Hobson Middle School and Upper Valley Middle School – also intends to open charter schools in West Auckland and Whanganui.

The trust is open to ideas for what the other two schools could specialise in.

Rufer said he had been looking for ways of extending the opportunities offered at his WYNRS football academy in Auckland, to more children than the present 3000.

He jumped at the chance to combine talents with Mt Hobson Middle School and Villa Education Trust founder Alwyn Poole, and his wife, Karen.

They ran an “outstanding” school already, which gave his own youngest son an education that no state school could offer, he said.

“And from my side of it with sport and football, we’re the leading football academy in New Zealand. …

Poole said he wanted to work with Rufer to offer “the opportunity for some superb sports provisions” and good academic support to those struggling in the present system.

“Something else to give these kids something to live for. I think the football would be an interesting start.” After working in classes of no more than 15, pupils in year 7 and 8 could spend a couple of hours three afternoons a week in football training, increasing in frequency for those showing potential by year 9 and 10, he said.

The restriction on charging fees would open the roll to children from lower socio-economic families, where there was a potential to find some real football stars, he said.

While there was a “lot of nonsense” being spoken about charter schools, schools such as that of tennis pro Andre Agassi, in America, had proved successful, Rufer said.

Sounds like a very good plan.

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42 Responses to “A football charter school?”

  1. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    Now we are sucking diesel.

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  2. toms (301 comments) says:

    Good to see every educationally unqualified religious/sporting/other nutjob in the land is crawling aboard the charter school express.

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  3. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Yep “toms”. And I suppose Andre Agassi is/was the same. He seems to be achieving something for kids – which is I guess the outcome people actually interested in children are after (as opposed to simply insulting adults you are very unlikely to have even met) – http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/02/agassis-academic-achievement/

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  4. toms (301 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  5. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Put your credentials down in comparison to those two and also explain what you are doing for kids.

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  6. Michael (899 comments) says:

    Will we see specialist arts schools? Specialist computing schools? A variety of schools catering to those who have interests and skills that don’t fit the state sector generalist schools.

    Or will we have the NZEI, PPTA, et al, continuing to complain that the one size fits all National Standards doesn’t fit the one size fits all schooling sector?

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  7. big bruv (13,559 comments) says:

    Rufer really has not thought this through. By allowing the compliant left wing media to paint him as a footballer and born again bible basher he is playing right into their hands.

    What Rufer should be pushing is the fact that he is doing this as Maori, in one press release he could silence the left who would be forced into silence due to their total inability to attack anything Maori.

    All power to Rufer as far as I am concerned, I hope he gets this off the ground.

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  8. Nick K (1,134 comments) says:

    That’s Tom Semmens I bet – resident socialist nutter. He can be ignored.

    As for Rufer’s idea: Bloody brilliant. I wait for the howls of disgust because he’s “not a registered teacher”. I mean, how could he possibly teach children to play soccer superbly and have an international career earning millions when he’s not gone to training college.

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  9. Keeping Stock (10,178 comments) says:

    I agree with your last line bigbruv. But why should Rufer have to fudge around what he believes? When you start doing that, the “compliant left wing media” has won.

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  10. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    I agree with big bruv.
    Rufer should describe the school as “specialising in taniwha studies.”
    The left-wing MSM would then be falling over themselves to praise his efforts.

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  11. dime (9,666 comments) says:

    Dime loves the charter school initiative.

    Personally I wouldnt send my kids to a soccer school, but all good!

    Its a shame that once these schools are up and running they will be continually attacked by teachers, even if they have brilliant results. Teachers who were meant to give a shit about kids, not their state sponsored way of life.

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  12. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    Using the charter school model to create centres of excellence is a welcome new development in education. Why we c

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  13. Inky_the_Red (744 comments) says:

    Does it need a charter school? Could it not be set up the same way Aranui High set up an Academy of Rugby League?

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  14. dime (9,666 comments) says:

    inky – maybe he doesnt want to have to deal with shit head state school teachers?

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  15. YesWeDid (1,042 comments) says:

    You’ve been quiet on charter schools lately DPF, maybe that had something to do with the treasury paper that came out at the end of last year that said they had little merit and employing unqualified teachers was a mistake. But what would treasury know?

    The link is here http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/education/pdfs/oia-20121116.pdf

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  16. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Treasury knew (at the time) probably less that the Swedish government who have just published their results after 10 years experience. http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2012/11/latest-study-from-sweden-shows-free-schools-improve-everyones-results/ I figure in New Zealand teachers and parents are smart enough to copy the good of this model and avoid the pitfalls.

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  17. Rightandleft (655 comments) says:

    He specifically states that one of the key selling points of his school will be class sizes limited to 15! And yet the same government backing this idea just recently stated that class sizes aren’t all that important and could be sacrificed for more highly qualified teachers. If all state schools were funded to allow a maximum class size of 15 that would definitely help results. How could it be fair to compare his school with limited class sizes that small, to local state schools?

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  18. Kimble (4,410 comments) says:

    You are a fucking liar YesWeDid.

    They didnt say that employing unqualified teachers was a mistake, they said that hiring REGISTERED teachers is desireable as it indicates minimum standards. They also didnt say that charter schools had little merit, they said that there wasnt enough applicable evidence from overseas to say that they were going to be better, and that charter schools were unlikely to help achieve a particular target; due to how close the dead line was for that target.

    They said they were supportive of several things being tested with the pilot program, but they werent sure the costs outweighed the benefit of testing them with charter schools rather than within the current public education system. But they didnt make any comment about how “contracting for outcomes and using value-add data to measure school performance” could NEVER be trialled in a pubic school because teachers Unions would block any attempts to change the status quo.

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  19. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    They will be government funded at the same level as state schools (i.e. it is fiscally neutral) but because they might be able to do it well and help kids (e.g. through 15 in a class) – that is not fair and they shouldn’t be allowed to? Or be compared to state school outcomes? So they should be transparent but not compared?

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  20. bi ozymandis (3 comments) says:

    All we need is the next 10 greatest nz footballers to put up there hands to start schools and all our education ills have been solved.
    Prehaps sonny bill could start a school too, more to the point why do we need education?
    Officious parents living their dreams thru the kids can stuff up childhoods much the same as aggasi.

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  21. Kimble (4,410 comments) says:

    He specifically states that one of the key selling points of his school will be class sizes limited to 15! And yet the same government backing this idea just recently stated that class sizes aren’t all that important and could be sacrificed for more highly qualified teachers.

    So fucking what?

    It is well known that the “conventional wisdom” is that small class sizes are good. That is believed by parents and teachers, but the evidence says otherwise. He is addressing the people who would send their kids to his school, and he may believe it himself. But that doesnt mean he is right.

    I would want my kid to be in a class with a great teacher. If the class is 35 kids instead of 25, I dont care. Its still better than a small class run by a liability.

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  22. YesWeDid (1,042 comments) says:

    Kimble, if you want to engage in a discussion don’t abuse me.

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  23. Rightandleft (655 comments) says:

    It’s not just conventional wisdom, it’s backed by plenty of data. The government cherry-picked parts of John Hattie’s meta-analysis to back their cost-cutting ideas. Hattie’s analysis was flawed in several ways but even then it still found smaller class sizes had a positive effect on student outcomes. In fact it found they had a bigger positive effect than charter schools! The govt. just seized on the fact that Hattie ranked teacher quality much higher than class size on his list of positive factors in education.

    We can’t compare Rufer’s school to local state schools because they can’t have a class size maximum of 15, they don’t have nearly the funding level to allow that. If Rufer’s students succeed it won’t tell us that charter schools work, it will tell us that having classes of 15 or less works and the govt should be ensuring that happens in state schools too.

    Also the unions aren’t just fighting to maintain the status quo at all. In fact the PPTA at least have been fighting for TOUGHER teacher quality standards to be introduced, more professional development funded and required and for more innovations in 21st Century teaching methods to be allowed. The govt turned down the teacher quality increases! Maybe because they’ve slashed the professional development budget and tougher quality control costs more money? The govt also failed to even bring up performance pay based on value added data when the teachers negotiated their last contract. Maybe because NCEA results are steadily improving and have been for the last decade?

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  24. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    I still don’t understand why you will be unwilling to compare – they will have the same funding levels at state schools. This is a pretty easy way around things for the PPTA. First – say they won’t work. Then when a proposal comes out that may well work – say they can’t be compared. Re NCEA improvements – the differential for Maori and PI students at Level 2 as at 2012 had grown to be above 20%. Re “world class” (as that will be your next statement). the most recent reports (TIMMS) has NZ going backwards.

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  25. Dazzaman (1,132 comments) says:

    Good idea. The Tu Toa school in Palmerston North is pretty successful as a hybrid sports academy/school…..run successfully on Maori values so….start the hate.

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  26. Kimble (4,410 comments) says:

    YesWeDid, if you want to misrepresent what Treasury said, then I will abuse you all day long.

    Rightandleft, dropping class sizes in half isnt viable. It just isnt. You are talking about doubling the staffing cost alone. The discussion is about going from 30 to 35 students.

    Charter schools dont have to be better than all state schools to be worthwhile, they just have to be good.

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  27. YesWeDid (1,042 comments) says:

    Here’s what Treasury said about teacher registration:

    ‘Treasury recommends that you support the Ministry of Education’s recommendation 7: agree that all teachers at Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua must be registered’

    Notice the words ‘MUST’ and ‘ALL’, which makes it pretty clear how they feel about ACT’s stupid unregistered teacher idea.

    And also from the Treasury paper: ‘Education systems with a high degree of competition for students (voucher systems, ‘charter’ schools and no school zoning) do not tend to produce systemically better outcomes in PISA’.

    That second bit blasts a big hole through most of the right wing education ideas DPF is so in love with, and remember this is Treasury saying this, not the teachers union or the PPTA or some left wing education Professor.

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  28. Falafulu Fisi (2,177 comments) says:

    But what would treasury know?

    Treasury knows fuck all. I don’t have a teaching qualification at all, but I bet that I can outperform most math & physics’ teachers who are formally qualified and have had decades of teaching experience. Teaching qualification means nothing. It is the ability of the teacher to teach kids to understand the subject is more important than a formal qualification.

    Now, I want to share a good news with Kiwiblog readers about the result of one of my students that I tutor in maths. Mathkid passed the A-Level CIE (cambridge international exam) in 4 papers (2 pure maths/calculus, 1 statistics, 1 physics) which is the 7th form level or year-13 equivalent. The results came out last week. Mathkid is applying to do extramural study for one stage 1 Calculus paper at Massey while he’s doing his CIE UE (university entrance). A decision is awaiting form Ingrid Day, who is the Assistance Vice Chancellor if Mathkid can be granted a special permission to enroll because the legal age for varsity study is 16 but Mathkid is only 12 this year.

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  29. Kimble (4,410 comments) says:

    All Treasury said there was that they aren’t better, not that they had little merit.

    They dont have to be better; they just have to be as good as most and to cost the same.

    Your side seems to think that if they don’t out-perform every other public school then the experiment fails.

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  30. Fletch (6,148 comments) says:

    What we really fricking need is a cricket school!

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  31. dime (9,666 comments) says:

    lol @ yeswedid who cherry picks when to listen to treasury. when they agree with it, treasury can do no wrong.

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  32. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Treasury did their job. They were asked to evaluate a policy from their perspective and make recommendations. The unions (and others who don’t read the whole document) have cherry picked what Treasury said – here is some balance from the same document:
    - There is a lot of scope for pedagogical innovation under the Free School set up.
    - Increasing the role of the private sector in schooling could increase parental choice.
    - In principle there are a range of benefits that could arise from increasing competition to improve student performance in schooling. There may be capability outside of the public sector that can lead to innovation…
    - Charter schools have tended to be more effective in improving achievement of disadvantaged students.
    - Evidence on the effect of charter schools on college (university) attendance suggests that attending a charter high school is associated with significant increases in the probability of attending / graduating from college (7-15% for those who attended charter middle and high school; 8-10% for those who attended just a charter high school).
    - Despite the sector noise they may create, we consider that the policy parameters outlined in the table appear to be sensible and well thought out.

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  33. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    I don’t think Rufer is the best person to be promoting charter schools in New Zealand. From what I have observed there are some significant issues sitting in that head of his – remember the faling-out at the Football Kingz and the TV interview?

    I am sure the Right-wing lobby can find someone better to champpion this lost cause – what about Michael Jones? Jones is Right-wing, christain, conservative, from Auckland and Samoan. What more could the ACT party and their cronies want?

    Plus, aren’t schools meant for studying the curriculum, not playing soccer?

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  34. dime (9,666 comments) says:

    hamnida – you clearly failed school. tell us what you did and we can look at doing the opposite.

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  35. hmmokrightitis (1,571 comments) says:

    How can one person fit so much stupid in such a small space? Ham, I mean, really. Even you must look at that and wonder.

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  36. RRM (9,663 comments) says:

    I can’t see the problem here.

    At least Rufer is upfront about what he’s planning to do, and it appears to be part of some coherent plan to do better than the status quo for some kids.

    I remember the principal at Rotorua Boys’ High was preoccupied with rugger to a pretty unhealthy level, surpassed only by the old boys running our “arch enemies” Tauranga Boys and Western Heights who by all accounts were even worse. Apparently whenever the 1st VXs played, the opposing principals would sit in their cars by the sidelines, so that at full time the “loser” could leave before the “winner” could come and rub it in his face.

    Rotorua Boys’ once sold off library books en masse, coincidentally the same year as the rugby 1st XV went on tour in South Africa. And the 2 or 3 foreign students each year living all expenses paid in the dorm, so frequently turned out to be amazingly talented rugby players from Tonga or the Cook Islands, that it wasn’t just the pupils commenting on it, but the general public around town in Rotorua also.

    So I have absolutely no doubt plenty of sports schools are operating in the public system right now, led by peculiar bent out of shape sports weirdo principals living vicariously through the exploits of their schoolboy sports teams. And if the rest of the kids are lucky there might be some good teachers doing some teaching in the background to make it all seem legit.

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  37. Nigel Kearney (918 comments) says:

    If there are class sizes of 15 and no fees, what is he paying the teachers with? Either he is expecting sizeable donations or the teachers are not exactly going to be the cream of the crop. I would like to see someone announce a charter school with class sizes of 50-60 and all teachers paid six figure salaries. Mostly because I expect it would be a great school, but also to cause the teachers union to blow a gasket.

    I do think it would have been better to have a solid annual national testing program in place before introducing charter schools, with every parent knowing exactly where their kid stands, e.g. 53rd percentile for reading, 44th for writing and 61st for maths. That way we could tell if the kids that go to these schools really do improve on their previous performance, and avoid accusations of cherry picking.

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  38. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    RRM – Your story demonstrates how schools should be focussed on teaching and learning, not a single sports code or some sick old boys’ grudge.

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  39. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    If you take the proportion of operating fees that is admin out and all of the wasted resources/time there is likely to be plenty to pay teachers with. And plenty of high quality teachers will enjoy a situation where they have 15 in a class – less admin, fewer meetings – focus on planning, teaching their subject and providing feedback.

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  40. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    Kimble said:
    All Treasury said there was that they aren’t better, not that they had little merit.

    They dont have to be better; they just have to be as good as most and to cost the same.

    Your side seems to think that if they don’t out-perform every other public school then the experiment fails.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~

    What’s the point of putting boatloads of money into new school (because of new facilities etc) when public schools (for the most part) are not at capacity anyway. Unless they are clearly better in some way then it’s a waste of tax payer money.

    Economies of scale means having more and more schools with fewer and fewer pupils just doesn’t make sense.

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  41. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    The Treasury apparently said:
    Increasing the role of the private sector in schooling could increase parental choice.
    ~~~~~~

    The treasurey got that wrong. In the USA schools even though entry is by random draw the outcome is that parents with kids who are costly get told that there are no facilities for them at the school. And the kids who turn out to be poor performers get kicked out as soon at their year’s tuition money comes in from the government. It’s not uncommon for their to be a loss of 50% of pupils over 4 years. So parents may get to choose to enrol but the school gets to choose if the child remains.

    And in the USA Charter Schools have become highly segregated by race, social class and religion e.g.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-22/segregated-charter-schools-evoke-separate-but-equal-era-in-u-s-education.html
    So although there are more schools, the actual choice has decreased if you don’t want to be racially or religiously isolated.

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  42. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Maybe Treasury were smart enough not to just look at the USA. Even looking there though you can find great examples that we should be good enough to emulate in New Zealand (or are NZ teachers and parents too dumb to copy the good and learn from mistakes overseas?). The Credo study released 30/1/2013 contains some warnings but then concludes:
    “Charter Management Organisations (CMOs) have shown dramatically better results with critical sub-populations; this wisdom should be captured and shared to provide even wider education opportunities for underserved students. CMOs with focused attention to underserved student groups have proven that strong outcomes in both growth and achievement are possible. Those like KIPP and Uncommon Schools have shown that it is possible to be effective at scale.”
    The NY Times summarised this as:
    “For according to the study, Kipp and the Uncommon Schools have actually managed to eliminate the learning gap between poor and higher-income students.”
    Isn’t this what we want in NZ – especially if you take a left-wing perspective and claim to stand for the poor? Or do we just keep giving those kids more of the same?

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