Charter Schools in New Orleans

February 25th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

a ‘failed experiment in New Orleans’

So who is saying they are a failed experiment?

A visiting opponent of charter schools has told the education and science committee in Parliament today the Government should not proceed with charter schools.

Karran Harper Royal, from New Orleans, cautioned the committee against approving charter schools.

“I am a proud American, but not all that comes out of America is good. Charter schools have been a failed experiment in New Orleans.

There is no reason for New Zealanders to go down that road, Ms Harper Royal said.

“Why would you want to give up your democratic involvement in your public education system for a privatised public school system when the evidence coming out of the United States shows that charter schools fail.”

It is interesting that Ms Royal should talk of democratic involvement, because that is where I want to focus.

Royal is a dedicated opponent of charter schools. In fact just a few months ago she stood for election to to the Orleans Parish School Board District 3.

So do the actual parents and voters of New Orleans share her strident views on charter schools being a failure? Did she get elected in a landslide?

She came last, getting just 10% of the vote.

Did any media think of checking that the person who claims to speak for New Orleans was rejected by 90% Orleans Parish just three months ago? The candidate who won by the way is a Democrat who strongly supports charter schools – as does President Obama and many Democrats.

The story also failed to mention that Royal was paid to come over here and campaign against charter schools by the PPTA (as I understand it). That would be relevant.

But what of these “failed” charter schools in New Orleans. Will we see any mention of the following:

  • The Harvard Business School found 19 of the 20 highest performing non-selective schools were charter schools and “The overall percentage of schools performing below the failing mark of 60 fell from 64% in 2005 to 36% in 2009″
  • That the biggest supporters of US charter schools are African-Americans at 64%. Only 14% of African-Americans oppose charter schools.
  • That the overall performance of all schools in New Orleans has improved from 56.9 in 2004 to 70.6 in 2009.
  • 82% of parents with children enrolled at public charter schools gave their children’s schools an “A” or “B”, though only 48% of parents of children enrolled in non-chartered public schools assigned A’s or B’s to the schools their children attended
  • The Cowen Institute finds significantly higher test scores in charter schools in New Orleans than non charter schools
  • That 78% of students in New Orleans have chosen to attend charter schools
  • That prior to charter schools, 96% of the city’s public school students were below basic proficiency in English and “In 2002, only 31 percent of fourth graders were deemed at or above basic in English/language arts. By 2009, that number had swelled to 59 percent.”
  • The Democratic Mayor of New Orleans says charter schools have meant “the achievement level of the kids in the inner city is now beginning to match the kids on the statewide level in a very, very short period of time”
  • The Mayor also says “Before Katrina, the graduation rate was less than 50 percent. Now it’s more than 75 percent. Test scores are up 33 percent.”

All I can say is that if this is what failure looks like, we need a lot more of it.

So why are  Labour and the Greens are fighting so hard against charter schools?

I think this report in The Southern may give us a clue:

Not only do charters dominate the education landscape, but also nearly every attendance zone has been eliminated, making school choice almost universal. None of the schools, from charters to regular public schools, are bound by a collective bargaining agreement. In other words, they have no unions they have to deal with.

Heresy!

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45 Responses to “Charter Schools in New Orleans”

  1. Ed Snack (1,540 comments) says:

    *Sigh*, the PPTA has NEVER been interested in achievements or success for children, it has always been totally focused on one over-riding goal, ensuring that the power and income of the union be protected at all times. However they TALK a lot about “the children”, in common with most on the left signalling ones “compassion” by talk and various token gestures is more important than actually doing something useful and practical.

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  2. JC (840 comments) says:

    Its called the “Butterfield Effect”

    http://www.jewishworldreview.com/1204/graham120204.asp

    Money quote

    “Drop-Out Rates Keep Falling, (in the public school system) But Private Schools Keep Filling.”

    Its classic in NZ, people bemoan the lack of Maori getting good degrees without understanding that the 20% failure rate in our schools might be 70-80% of Maori kids.

    JC

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  3. queenstfarmer (696 comments) says:

    The article is by Kate Shuttleworth, who’s connection with PPTA is noted here:

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/02/embedded-journalists-an-interesting-twist/

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  4. dime (8,789 comments) says:

    lol @ the herald.

    what i dont understand is the herald is owned by a publicly listed company. who have a board. who are meant to make money for share holders.

    what is it the cant see when it comes to the herald?

    activist board members?

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  5. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    Great post. David once again does the job that journalists should have done, and would have done if they weren’t biased and incompetent.

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  6. Ross12 (931 comments) says:

    DPF — I hope you make your response above the subject of your column in the Herald this week ( I assume you still do it)
    Also give it to the Government media guys, to copy if need be –bullet point facts like that are easy for anybody to “digest”

    [DPF: Sadly the columns ended a few months back]

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  7. Redbaiter (6,482 comments) says:

    The disgusting bunch of propagandising left wing frauds who call themselves a newspaper (the Herald) caught out in another deceit.

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  8. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    The cloth capped teachers’ unions must be in panic mode if they’ll pay for a nondescript failed local body politician to travel this far to lie & dissemble for them.

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  9. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Excellent post DPF…I completely agree with Nigel K.

    This reminds me very much of the three strikes debate. During its passage through parliament, the Howard League for Penal Reform brought over one Ron Givens, a chaplain in the California prison system, to tell us all what a dreadful idea 3S was, how badly it had failed in the US, and how it had had no effect on crime. He toured the country, and was widely reported by the MSM.

    Among the lies he told – which were duly reported – was that crime had actually been falling in California prior to the introduction of 3S, and that the decline had begun in 1984. According to Givens, there had been no measurable effect on crime following the introduction of 3S.

    In fact, crime peaked in California in 1991, the year before 3S was introduced, and then rapidly declined in the ten years after, particularly violent crime, which dropped 50%. There were many other examples of total bullshit peddled by Givens – all of which went unchallenged, because he refused to debate me.

    When I tried to find out who he was, none of my contacts in the US had ever heard of him, yet he was paraded by the lefties here as the expert on 3S, and a man we ignored at our peril. And the MSM swallowed it whole.

    Well done again DPF.

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  10. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    Dime –

    Presumably sales are ok, therefore their product must be what the consumers want, and so the board is happy?

    (Did you notice how I can say that without mentioning “the news” at all :-P )

    I love how on kiwiblog it all gets simplified down to being the work of “the left” like it’s some kind of witchcraft or something..

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  11. Cunningham (746 comments) says:

    This is what fucks me off so much about the left in this country. If there is an idea that does not fit their ideological views, they do not even consider looking into it. It is that sort of narrow minded thinking that holds NZ back. I don’t know whether Charter schools will work but there are children (a significant number) who are leaving without the necessary skills so wouldn’t you at least consider trying new things to address it??? It tells me that they have no interest in those children and are happy to keep the status quo which is shameful.

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  12. nasska (9,558 comments) says:

    RRM

    The board must be easily satisfied as the Herald’s circulation is heading down the toilet…..figures to end of 2012 down 5%.

    Ref: newspaper.abc.org.nz/audit.html?org=npa&publicationid=%25&mode=embargo&npa_admin=1&publicationtype=19&memberid=%25&type=%25

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  13. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    No no, Nasska…according to the HERALD their circulation is actually IMPROVING…something about the number of hits on their website I think…I too visit the Herald’s website every day, but I very rarely buy the thing…and if it actually cost money to visit the site, I wouldn’t…why would you when you can get a far more balanced picture from sites like this for nothing?

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  14. Peter (1,471 comments) says:

    Nice one, DPF

    Once again, doing the job no NZ MSM journalist appears to have done yet. If their core competency isn’t asking questions, then what is it?

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  15. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    “If their core competency isn’t asking questions, then what is it?”

    Selling advertising – that’s all that counts at The Herald. There’s a row of coathooks at the front door where the churnos hang up their journalistic integrity before entering.

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  16. James B (8 comments) says:

    I am a Kiwi who lives in New Orleans (currently in NZ doing some work, great to be back). Charter schools are so popular in New Orleans, especially amongst the less well off and African Americans, as well as the middle class who don’t want to have to cough up for private schools, that there would be an uprising if anyone tried to stop or shut down charter schools. That is not a turn of phrase or a throw away line, I am serious. There would be people marching in the street, seriously God help anyone who tried to shutdown or interfere with charter schools in NOLA. It is not just the lack of unions that is such a help, there are no bureacrats either. The education industrial complex has been kicked out of schools. No wonder they are doing so much better!!

    I have never heard of this woman and what she is saying is rubbish.

    David, here is another good fact for you. Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of NY said he modelled the school reforms he is trying to get done in NY on NOLA. Don’t know how he is doing with it (too busy worrying about soda cups), but he is not alone. NO Charter schools are the shining example of school reform in the States, any staes and cities are looking at what has been done and looking to implement all or parts of the model. Vouchers, charter schools, alsorts of school reforms have finally, after 2 decades of being blocked by unions, broken out of the bag in the States. There is no going back.

    As in most cases the real issue is money. Teachers unions and govt worker unions are a huge part of the Democratic Party’s funding base. Kind of like indirect govt funding of political parties. David, you should do some digging in NZ to uncover the flow of money from teachers unions to the Labor party. No surprise that it happens, it is the same the world over, but it is well below the surface and out of the public’s view. It needs to be put in front of people.

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  17. greenjacket (348 comments) says:

    “Did any media think of checking…”
    Come on David – we’re talking about the Herald here – with only one journalist (Fran O’Sullivan) on their staff, the Herald can hardly be expected to check facts! God knows why they employ Kate Shuttleworth though.

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  18. joe bloggs (126 comments) says:

    This is not the first time that Harper Royal has been given an all-expenses-paid trip to New Zealand by the PPTA – she was flown out in October last year to run the same tired PPTA memes that Shuttleworth has “reported”.

    What a pity that the MSM doesn’t have the integrity to cover this story objectively – this is par for the course as far as churnalism at The Herald goes.

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  19. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    I have just had a text exchange with David Fisher, Chief Reporter at the Herald, about this thread. He says “our credibility is doing just fine”…I don’t know if he has actually bothered to read the thread….

    Notice the parallels between my comment and the man from New Orleans? No-one has ever heard of this woman…

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  20. lastmanstanding (1,154 comments) says:

    The PPTA NZEI et al are scared witless of charter schoold because they will show up the low standards of teaching in State schools.
    Like NZ kids coming last in international mental arithmetic tests.
    The teacher unions said mental arithmetic is not important as the kids use calculators or computer to do sums.
    Wrong wrong wrong. A lack of ability to do mental arithmetic shows the kids brains arent agile and cant cope with processing information so this flows on to all other subjects.

    The really sad thing is the teachers cant do maths or english either because for the past 40 years we had a steady dumbing down of the whole education system by the teachers Unions to protect the useless amongst their ranks.

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  21. Akaroa (487 comments) says:

    You want a considered, measured, even-handed comment about school teachers.?

    Well here’s one.

    Most teachers I’ve ever come across were – to coin a phrase in common parlance – ratbags.

    To expand. I had a lot to do with a school a few years ago. I came to the considered opinion that many – not all, I hasten to point out, not all – teachers didn’t have the stuff, character wherewithal or moxy to make a go of any other profession/occupation.

    I knew several who went from school to Uni or teachers training college with nil experience of holding down a productive job in a competitive environment. They lived in a lovely, cushioned, idealistic world – far removed from the one the rest of us live in – and their political amd social attitudes refelected their displacement from the Real World.

    I found the eminently laudable – but totally impractial – left wing theories about society and social issues that many of them embraced and enthused over astonishingly naive in so-called, self-proclaimed professional people.

    (But I did meet a couple of sensible ones, I have to admit)

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  22. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    And just for the record…Fisher and I are not friends, but he has written some good pieces which can fairly be described as “investigative journalism”…the piece by this Shuttleworth woman is not even journalism; it is thinkly disguised propaganda for the teacher unions..

    Of topic – but not much – I remember reading a sholarly article ones which said the biggest single factor in the collapse of the soviet bloc was the humble videotape…in short, the eastern bloc countries had been feeding their people a load of crap about what is was like in the west, via their state owned media…Then videos became widely available, and started to be smuggled from the west to the east…the citizens of Bulgaria and Hungary and Poland were able to see the streets full of well fed people driving late model cars…completely contrary to what they had been told….

    Blogs like this are kind of fulfilling the same role vis a vis the MSM…the net allows someone like DPF to FIND OUT who this “expert” on charter schools is, and what she isnt. and Ms Shuttlecock’s [deliberate typo] employment history….

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  23. Keeping Stock (9,791 comments) says:

    The story also failed to mention that Royal was paid to come over here and campaign against charter schools by the PPTA (as I understand it). That would be relevant.

    A trade union using member funds for political grandstanding? Whatever is the world coming to?

    Seriously though DPF; excellent post.

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  24. Lance (2,311 comments) says:

    @ David Garrett

    And the Journos HATE the bloggers LOL.

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  25. david (2,483 comments) says:

    On a wider front, there is no opportunity for challenge to the wets who write this sort of garbage. Editorial writers can write any sort of drivel (and often did when I was a subscriber to the Herald) without challenge.

    The media claim often to be “holding people to account” particularly politicians and are adept at running campaigns that challenge personal views and actions but there is no trustworthy public forum apart from blogs like Kiwiblog, where contrary views can be aired with the same prominence as the attention-grabbing headlines would create.

    All one can hope for is that people with an interest in the education of the country’s children (in this case) are smart enough to see beyond the hysterical attacks on the proposal. In fact the level of hysteria is a fair indicator that it is a good idea being shouted down.

    Talk about big money in politics – the “anti” campaign is a battle of money vs policy with the media falling on the side of money. Perhaps the Herald has been promised some more full page adverts! just a thought

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  26. Elaycee (4,089 comments) says:

    Good work DPF.

    But no surprises at all that you’ve had to point out the factual errors / the bias / the spin dutifully ‘reported’ by a former PPTA propagandist turned writer for the politically left, NZ Hoorald.

    This article is merely proof that the term ‘investigative reporting’ has become an oxymoron in New Zealand.

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  27. dime (8,789 comments) says:

    RRM – their circulation is way down. its the same company that the mining chick in aussie was trying to take over? cause they were performing so bad.. they rejected her offer. share price has tanked etc. now they are selling part of trade me to keep going.

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  28. Kimble (4,095 comments) says:

    The haters and wreckers attack Charter Schools from both directions:

    PPTA bring in an “expert” on US charter schools to say that they have failed there.

    Milt and his crew consistently declare, “but NZ isnt like the US so evidence over there doesnt count” and ‘but NZ already has a system similar to the charter school system in the US”.

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  29. mpledger (428 comments) says:

    If you really want to read about New Orleans schools then try this:
    “Recovery School District in New Orleans: National Model for Reform or District in Academic Crisis”
    http://www.researchonreforms.org/html/documents/Paperon2012SPSk.pdf
    “In 2010, Research on Reforms (ROR) reported that the Recovery District was a “District in Academic Crisis”. Nothing has changed significantly since that paper was published to warrant a change in ROR’s conclusions in that paper”

    and this
    “Report says New Orleans parents need better information for school choice to work”
    http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/5142994-148/report-says-new-orleans-parents
    Which basically says there are so few good schools in New Orleans that for most parents there only choice is a bad school.

    But regarding the election…
    87% of school board members spend less than $5,000 to run for office and Harper got 10% over that. But Sarah Usdin, who was the corporate reformers choice received more than ***$100,000*** in donations – some of which was from Joel Klein, Boykin Curry, a New York City hedge-fund manager and Reed Hastings of Netflix – none of them live in New Orleans or have kids in New Orleans schools. So Harper was outspent 20 to 1 but got 1 in 10 votes and that deserves some credit. (I guess there’s no need to say that Usdin was elected.)
    http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/10/31/10neworleans.h32.html?cmp=ENL-EU-SUBCNT

    Anyway, her specialist area is special education and that is never a vote winner.

    [DPF: You realise you are quoting a site, which lists Harper Royal as a contributor.]

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  30. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    mpledger: According to that article, someone supporting a potion held by 80% of the public got 87% of the votes.

    Clearly a major scandal.

    Or it might be that the 80% of people who put their kids into charter schools actually thought they’d back up their actions with their vote.

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  31. mpledger (428 comments) says:

    [DPF said: You realise you are quoting a site, which lists Harper Royal as a contributor.]

    Actually, I didn’t know that, I followed a link from elsewhere directly to the report.

    but then how about your quote
    “82% of parents with children enrolled at public charter schools gave their children’s schools an “A” or “B”, though only 48% of parents of children enrolled in non-chartered public schools assigned A’s or B’s to the schools their children attended”.

    Two sentences on it says “the Cowen Institute is itself an advocate of charter schools , and is listed as a “Key Partner” of New Schools for New Orleans, a charter school advocacy group. Because of this conflict of interest and because of allegations of **BIAS** in the wording of the Cowen Institute’s questions, its survey may possess ***QUESTIONABLE VALIDITY***.” (quoting wikipedia but my emphasis)

    It’s pretty hard to miss that.

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  32. Paulus (2,299 comments) says:

    I was interested to learn that the collective Teachers Union “members” (numbers) outweigh all the other Union members together.
    That is why they are not interested in the education of children, but their own patch, and lifestyle.
    With a number of Companies retrenching staff the Unions appear to be worried as their income will reduce and their lifestyle will also have to chang or charge their “members” more..

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  33. mpledger (428 comments) says:

    scrubone (1,972) Says:
    mpledger: According to that article, someone supporting a potion held by 80% of the public got 87% of the votes.

    Clearly a major scandal.

    Or it might be that the 80% of people who put their kids into charter schools actually thought they’d back up their actions with their vote.

    ~~~~~~~~
    If funding didn’t matter to the outcome of elections then Obama wouldn’t have raised a billion dollars.

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  34. Australis (99 comments) says:

    The Herald was once an influential paper of record, which could be relied upon by all sides of the political spectrum. Then it was taken over by the O’Reilly family as part of the Independent stable, which grapples with the Guardian for the academic left-wing readership.

    There’s plenty of leftist scope for two dailies in a population of 60 million. But it was a fatal strategy for New Zealand – particularly when Fairfax had already staked out the centre-left ground.

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  35. mpledger (428 comments) says:

    Paulus (1,526) Says:
    I was interested to learn that the collective Teachers Union “members” (numbers) outweigh all the other Union members together.
    ~~~~

    The New Zealand Public Service Association Inc. has 58336, roughly 7,000 more than the NZEI (51055). The Nurses union is not far off according to
    http://www.dol.govt.nz/er/starting/unions/registration/UnionMembershipNumbers2012.pdf

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  36. whiteflaginfinitetime (1 comment) says:

    Hello DPF,

    I am a new high school teacher from New Zealand that has already experienced the system for one year [I guess that makes my views anecdotal, but I hope people here take me seriously; I apologise that Harvard has not cited me to reinforce this blog comment]. Half way through my first year I joined the PPTA to protect myself from helicopter parents and management.

    I went to my first PPTA meeting towards the end of the year, and have never been so demotivated to be a teacher [this was worst than my worst lecture at University]. It was run by old people [no disrespect] who clearly had no idea how to manage a meeting, or how to inspire me to continue educating my students for the weeks to come. I was read a document for 30 minutes [yes, this old lady was reading to us as if I was back in primary school sitting on the carpet], 2 minutes into this reading, I switched off and thought about Call of Duty, and the pie I just ate. I asked my colleague to summarise the reading at the end, and he told me it was about some pay and bargaining issues [we have to keep everything secret...].

    My personal view of the PPTA is that they serve a purpose, which I believe is to protect my colleageues, and be a voice for us, but not once did they ask me how I felt about the system, or what the PPTA could be doing better to advance education in New Zealand. Perhaps this was to come in a brochure at the start of this year. The PPTA has helped my friends with their employment disputes and reallocation expenses. We have to give them credit there, but they have also failed in their approach to Charter Schools, for obvious reasons. I am pro Charter Schools, and so are other PPTA members. Just because I am a member of the PPTA, doesn’t mean that I agree with everything they say. This is a fundamental statement that I think everyone here should understand. We as teachers, see the flaws in the schools that we teach in, as I’m sure you do in the organisations you work for.

    I could harp on about the flaws in the current state school model [test score rigging, ERO politics, poor professional development, no individualised learning programs, educators in management positions without business qualifications / experience], but instead I’m going to channel my positive energy into creating my own charter school in New Zealand. I’m below 26-years-old, and have run a successful business before during my High School days, and I’m looking forward at contributing to the New Zealand education system. I don’t want personal glory from this pursuit, I just want to ensure that New Zealand students are well educated, not just through tests, but their character as well.

    I will post more, but for now, I’m going to start my own blog, and my own journey to building a charter school. By the way, it’s actually a lengthy process, I’ve got to prepare a full on business plan…if anyone wants to help, feel free to email me.

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  37. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    Where to begin? Okay first of all the PPTA doesn’t give one cent to the Labour Party or any other political party for that matter. It would violate the union’s constitution to do so as it is officially not politically aligned. I don’t know about NZEI but I would doubt they’re different.

    Now I am no apologist for US public schools. I have no doubt they were abyssmal in NO pre-Katrina and I know teacher unions in the US have in cases won ridiculous concessions that hurt the overall system. The lack of parental choice in the US system is a major failing and the level of bureaucracy is insane. It is made worse by the overlapping levels of authority because of the existence of state, county, city/town and federal education bodies. There is a reason the US ranks in the bottom half of the developed world for education despite massive spending.

    While the charters in New Orleans today may be an improvement over what was there before, that isn’t really saying much. Louisiana’s government is infamously corrupt and inept and it would be difficult for any group involved in education there to do much worse. But the problem is that saying 78% of NO parents now have ‘choice’ under the current system is just wrong. They have to enter a lottery system where they list their top 8 choices of schools and then get told which one has accepted them. If they get an F or D rated school, too bad. If their school is closed for failing, the supposed ultimate accountability tool for charters, they may be forced to send their kids a significant distance across the city to another school, which may itself be rated a D or F. These schools often have much longer hours, starting before 8AM and finishing at 5PM. Add to that a lengthy commute and school every second Saturday and it is a major committment for a 6 or 7 year old.

    Some of these schools have tests for entry, barring all students from attending and ensuring better test restults. Others are open-entry, as we are told all NZ ones must be, but they use a policy called “selective retention” to boost results. In this system the better schools use strict disciplinary measures to harrass students and parents into pulling their kids out. For example, students may be fined $5 for an infraction as simple as not walking in a perfectly straight line with their finger over their lips between classes. Repeated calls home to parents for even the smallest infractions wear the family out. This is an easy way to weed out the students and families least likely to succeed in the school, boosting test scores.

    Many other US experts and even proponent of charter schools in the US have visited NZ and said that we don’t need US-style charters. We already have the flexibility and parental choice advantages within our current system. The biggest advantage of US charters over our system now is the elimination of collective agreements and with them the unions. Now again, I can see why US charter proponents are battling unions there. Those teacher unions have been damaging in certain ways and they are the biggest funders of US Democratic Party campaigns. But teacher unions in NZ are not the same. Incompetent teachers can be fired and regularly are, there are no massive pension benefits paid out for early retirees.

    The most problematic myth out there is that our decile 1 and 2 schools, our South Auckland schools, are failing. They aren’t failing. Many of them are succeeding within the public system. There are programmes out there, like Te Kotahitanga, already proven to work at improving Maori and Pasifika outcomes in public schools. There are already special character schools and Maori immersion schools in the public system. There is already more parental choice here than in the charter system of New Orleans, where it’s more like a chance of getting a good school, than a choice. Even the pro-charter documentary “Waiting for Superman” states that only 1 in 5 charter schools is more succesful that state schools and shows how very poor the odds are students get chosen for the good ones in a lottery.

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  38. Bill Courtney (107 comments) says:

    For those interested in a bit more balance on the New Orleans charter school “experiment”, you may want to read some of the articles on Diane Ravitch’s blog, under the New Orleans tag:

    http://dianeravitch.net/category/new-orleans/

    In particular, you may want to read the item about 5 down that list, where Ravitch discusses the “brutally frank ” report by the Cowen Institute, which was one of the organisations listed by DPF:

    “As we all know, New Orleans has been presented as a national model of school reform: eliminate public schools, open lots of charters staffed by inexperienced young teachers, watch for miraculous results. But now a major promoter of the all-charter model–the Cowen Institute at Tulane University– has released a brutally frank report saying that things are not really working as hyped. Kudos to the researchers at Cowen for their candor.

    66% of the New Orleans charters are rated D or F, so parents don’t really have enough good choices, the report admits. It seems that the all-charter model does not produce the transformation advertised by Kopp, Rhee, White, Jindal, Duncan, ALEC, et al,”

    Finally, I find it quite amusing to hear ACT Party members laughing at someone who ran for public office and polled “only” 10% – a figure about 100 times ACT’s own level of popular support.

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  39. Anodos (92 comments) says:

    RightandLeft – it is straight forward:
    - PPTA brought someone without credibility to support arguments that lack credibility.
    - they press released through a former PPTA staffer, who now works at the the NZH, who did not fact check and got caught out.
    - there is ample evidence that schooling in New Orleans has improved and the outcomes for children are on the way up.
    - there are ample good examples of the same thing happening in other places for the same type so of reasons.
    - there are major problems for groups an individuals in New Zealand – including declining TIMMS results (Maths last at Y9) and Maori being 20% behind non-Maori at Level 2 NCEA.
    - PPTA would be a lot smarter here to get behind a change that could help some children without harming others, express genuine concerns without just making up stuff, and try and get some credibility and make people think they care about kids.

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  40. cha (3,541 comments) says:

    Former Bush appointee Diane Ravitch and the supposed miracle.

    http://dianeravitch.net/2013/02/11/fun-and-games-in-reporting-about-the-new-orleans-non-miracle/

    http://dianeravitch.net/2012/07/22/school-letter-grades-are-preposterous/

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  41. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    The PPTA isn’t just making stuff up. They have full-time staff digging through the research on charter schools around the world and they have reached the conclusion that the majority do not work and actually do harm. They may be an improvement on some truly terrible public systems, as in some US states, but they would not be an improvement on our system. I’m not saying that every school in NZ is great, but I am saying there are state schools making huge gains for the long-tail and we would be better off copying their systems, learning from them, than pouring resources into charter schools.

    The problem with our maths results falling is serious and here I absolutely agree with Hekia Parata. Our kids need to be learning basic arithmetic. They need to learn their times tables and use some old rote-learning methods to build the basis for the higher maths being pushed on them now.

    whiteflag, I don’t think you should be judging PPTA on the poor performance of a single executive member at one meeting. There are now several exec members in their 20s and 30s. They aren’t exclusively oldies stuck in their ways, opposed to anything new. There is a whole network within the union set up for young teachers, set up to lobby for innovations in education. The PUM you attended was set up for the very narrow purpose of discussing the next collective agreement, it wasn’t all that PPTA does at all. Attend a regional meeting to get a better idea of the full scope of the work.

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  42. David Garrett (5,152 comments) says:

    Rightandleft: You seem to be a status quo advocate worth engaging…When I was still in parliament I was approached by the Principal of our local school…he wanted to lobby me to do anything I could to oppose National Standards (which would have been virtually nothing, even if I had wanted to, but I digress) I asked him to explain why they were such a bad idea; I was genuinely interested, both as a parent with kids at his school, and because I know very little about the politics of education.

    Making a very long story short, not only was he not able to explain why he was against them, but revealed that at HIS school, the kids consistently did well above average – at all levels – on what I believe are called ASTLE scores…someone else will know what I am talking about. But I wasn’t supposed to tell anyone that!!

    When I said “Well, clearly you and your staff are doing very well, and have nothing to fear” he just went through the same arguments against NS that I had already failed to understand. The gist of it – I think – was that all schools may not be able to achieve the same results as his…partly because they couldn’t attract teachers of the calibre he employs (it is a mid decile school in the country). When I said I thought that was part of the reason for establishing NS – to reward the better schools and their teachers – he just didn’t get it….or I didn’t get him…Or something.

    Perhaps one of the defenders of the status quo in education who have joined us could explain: Why would a principal of a school at which the kids consistently achieve well above the average at all levels be afraid of being measured against other schools and other teachers?

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  43. Rightandleft (574 comments) says:

    There are two problems with national standards that I can see. The current and biggest problem is that the way they’ve been written they are not actually national or standard. Unlike the US standardised testing system and well-moderated and established NCEA grading the NS system is not reliable enough to compare schools. It is possible for a school to game the system much too easily. This is what happenned on a state-wide level in the US after No Child Left Behind was put in place. All states had to create a testing system, but no single standard was set, so some states created much easier tests and then claimed to have better systems than others. This could happen on a school by school basis in NZ.

    Personally though I have no objection to schools being rated and compared to one another and the results being public. That probably isn’t the official union line, but that’s my opinion. However I think we already have the best tool for comparing schools on a well-rounded basis, ERO reports. These reports take decile rating and local community into account and really work well. They no longer publish the decile rank of schools because that was confusing to many parents. I’ve personally had many conversations with people who thought decile ratings had something to do with school performance, not what they are, a pure rating of the socio-economic level of the students. The comparisons need to be based on something fairer than NS as they are. Secondary schools are ranked by Metro magazine every year based on NCEA results and I have no problem with that. NCEA covers a much wider range of subjects than NS take into account as well. I wouldn’t want to see a narrowing of our curriculum to focus only on English and Maths, especially since I teach in the social sciences!

    Therein lies the second problem and it is more complex. In the US standardised testing has improved and there are now being implemented real national standards there. The problem is that a strict focus on literacy and numeracy has been detrimental to other subjects and the creation of a well-rounded education for all students. I have to admit to often wondering exactly what they do in some primary schools because of the state of many students when they arrive in secondary. However I think the primaries are in fact already feeling just the same when they get kids at age 5 who are already 2 years behind their peers to start.

    I’m not part of that whole, you can’t tell a child their failing PC crowd. I would like to see better reporting to parents in primary schools. But I really don’t think NS are that helpful since the research I’ve seen says that if applied correctly by all schools they are actually set much too high and their level of moderation is poor so we don’t really know anymore than before where our kids are at.

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  44. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Dave Garrett#

    I don’t know the answer to that, but what I have often wondered is why Douglas and Act didn’t push harder with ‘school vouchers’ ?

    I’ve always been of the opinion that it would have been the best legacy Douglas ever left NZ.[I do think that what he done while with Labour was also needed.] Cheers Dave.

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  45. wrightingright (132 comments) says:

    > I will post more, but for now, I’m going to start my own blog, and my own journey to building a charter school. By the way, it’s actually a lengthy process, I’ve got to prepare a full on business plan…if anyone wants to help, feel free to email me.

    hey whiteflaginfinitetime, what is your email address? And please share the address of your blog here once you’ve started! Cheers.

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