Labour threatening to axe charter schools

February 15th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Chris Hipkins has blogged:

The Green Party have announced today that they would seek to integrate any setup under National into the public education system. I don’t agree with that approach. Labour doesn’t see the need for . We have enough schools already. …

Labour’s message to anyone looking to setup a Charter School under National’s proposed legislation is to think very carefully. A future Labour government will not guarantee ongoing funding, we will not guarantee integration into the state school system. In short, we will not guarantee these schools a future.

This is like Labour on private prisons. We don’t care how successful you might be in improving outcomes for prisoners (or students) – we will close you down. In fact they are terrified that charter schools will be hugely popular in South Auckland, so they are trying to scare people off setting them up.

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122 Responses to “Labour threatening to axe charter schools”

  1. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    They did just that to forestry on the west Coast and will do it again. Leopards never change their spots and these idiots are still leopards. Predators as leopards are.

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  2. Mobile Michael (451 comments) says:

    Unilateral action. Like it, National should start by removing all the back door campaign financing rules (like flights for MPs and using parliamentary funds to communicate with the electorate). Labour would be stuffed then.

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  3. Matt (227 comments) says:

    Or pass a law saying that only natural persons can make donations to political parties…

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  4. tas (625 comments) says:

    It’s like David Cunliffe trying to scare people away from buying shares from asset sales by threatening to covertly nationalise them when Labour is in government. I can’t stand it when politicians put ideology and political point scoring ahead of the national interest.

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  5. libertyscott (359 comments) says:

    It’s simple, the Labour philosophy is:

    – We know best how to educate children. Trust the state and the trade unions to ensure all your kids get the best possible education. State schools that don’t perform well, just need more taxpayers money spent on it, until it finally delivers.

    – Teachers’ unions and the Ministry of Education have absolutely no vested interest in getting rid of charter schools whatsoever, in fact they are benevolent people, who only think of your children’s education.

    – Parents don’t know what’s best for their kids. We do. Parents who choose charter schools are naive and childlike, and they have been fooled by the money-obsessed, nasty, neo-liberal meanies who just want to profit from schools and just want to brainwash your children with sponsored schools, so they grow up as corporate clones and can’t think , and and and, any other hysterical claim we can think of.

    – Only the government can set up schools properly, we tolerate independent and integrated schools because it is too politically difficult to close them down, but you can’t expect ordinary people, or charities, or entrepreneurs to know how to set up a school. Unions and bureaucrats have the monopoly on knowledge.

    Authoritarian control freaks, who believe in their monopoly over education.

    It is, in fact, the single biggest reason why nothing else matters. It is critical for parents to be able to get their kids out of the clutches of this lot. They want to control education, not because they believe it is about quality, but because it suits the rent-seeking of the unions who want ever increasing pay and no performance accountability for results, and because some see it as a way of infusing children with the “right” thinking.

    Charter schools must be fought for, tooth and nail.

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  6. bringbackdemocracy (427 comments) says:

    It’s just a shame National don’t have the courage to reverse any of Labour’s policies.

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  7. Manolo (13,774 comments) says:

    It’s just a shame National don’t have the courage to reverse any of Labour’s policies.

    Never have. Never will.

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  8. toms (299 comments) says:

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

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  9. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    Really tomstit. You can support all that with facts and well documented research.
    Typical fucking loser you are. Obviously still a closet communist.

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  10. big bruv (13,895 comments) says:

    So what Chippie is really saying is that Labour do not care about the one in five kids who fail in our highly over rated education system.

    The ideology of the left is far more important than finding something that might work for the one in five. That mad bat Delahunty shares his view.

    It is time that National started fighting back against the leftist (and union) scum, start smashing some of their sacred cows. Pass a bill that bans employers from deducting union dues from employee’s wages, when the idiots who do join unions (or who are forced to do so through workplace bullying) have to pay an annual fee they will see what little their corrupt unions actually do for them. That would be a good start; next in line should be performance pay for all teachers and enforcing National standards (including league tables)

    I am sick of the Nat’s playing nice with leftist trash, it is time we hit them hard.

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  11. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    How stupid is Chris Hipkins? He doesn’t understand that education is about outcomes for children. He thinks it is to do with volume of schools; “We have enough schools already….” The quality of education spokespeople in the opposition parties is very, very disappointing. They simply have no idea and clearly do not have the best for New Zealand children and their families. They seem to want to keep the struggling families down.

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  12. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Typical of the left.

    Intimidation.

    Invest now, and we’ll take it away from you by force.

    Thanks to MMP, if an election where held today NZ’ers would apparently want this.

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  13. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    This is a foolish move by Labour. Personally while I think Charter schools are a complete waste of time and energy the ACT Party was democratically elected and under our MMP system and their powerful position allowed them to force to governments hand on a policy that National cares little about. But that is the system and Labour should stop bitching.

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  14. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Why doesn’t National put some rather big hooks int the legislation? i.e. if funding is withdrawn or the school is legislatively compromised, then compensation of x billion is payable?

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  15. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    So, correct me if Im wrong – if the left do it, its wrong and bad, but if the right do it, its OK?

    Dont get me wrong, I hate the fucking labour party and its doctrine with a passion. But you cant have it both ways boys and girls.

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  16. mikemikemikemike (325 comments) says:

    I’m still undecided on Charter schools (I’m not for or against – yet). But the fact that Labour are prepared to over-ride the decisions of parents who may choose this for their kids, and play god with children’s educations and futures is beyond fucked and enough to make this swing voter stay with National for the next election.

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  17. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    Agree mikex4, not that Im a swing voter, but nowhere in the labour diatribe was there a mention, as noted elsewhere here, of a focus on outcomes for kids. Its all a volume game argument. Well, correct me if Im wrong labour, but a % of our kids arent doing well, and surely we should be focussed on continual improvement of outcomes, one of those being to reduce the long tail?

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  18. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    If one partnership school achieves better results than our current primaries who leave us with a 20% tail after EIGHT taxpayer-funded years then they are worth keeping.
    We hear only the negative research from overseas versions of these schools. What about the success stories?
    Let’s give them a go and see if they can do better.

    As for the Ombudsman and her silly comments about the OIA, what about the hundreds and hundreds of private tertiary institutions, early childhood centres and private schools – all of which receive public funds and none of which are subject to the OIA. Why isn’t she on her hindlegs about them too? Or is the Ombudsman also in thrall to the Labour view of the world.

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  19. speters (108 comments) says:

    “In fact they are terrified that charter schools will be hugely popular in South Auckland, so they are trying to scare people off setting them up.”

    Maybe they’re terrified they are going to fail miserably and so they are trying to scare people off setting them up?

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  20. Sadu (129 comments) says:

    It’s one thing sitting back and then saying “told you so” when the idea fails (which may or may not happen with charter schools). It’s another thing actively sabotaging the process by telling people their businesses will die if Labour gets into power (which is a fairly likely possibility).

    In other works, Labour would rather see that $500 million completely wasted just so they have ammo against the govt, rather than allow the allocated money to actually help a few kids.

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  21. Urban Redneck (234 comments) says:

    With the Labour & Green Party’s, it’s NEVER about the “chooldrin”.

    It’s about teacher’s unions taking the dues from their members and returning a significant portion of it to help progressive politicians or to fund political action campaigns to elect future progressive politicians. In effect the teacher’s unions are a money laundering channel for the Labour/Green Party, and is the principal reason as to why any attempt to move away from the status quo is met with such firm resistance. The NZEI & PPTA also form an unholy alliance with the education politburo who develop the curriculum, the result being that our children end up swallowing more and more Enviro/Multiculti/Moral Relativistic/Marxist poison each year.

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  22. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    As usual, Labour puts ideology before children and all else.

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  23. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    Labour – owned by the unions. A political party that will govern to the whims of a few tiny groups.

    whats the percentage of workers in a union nowadays? 7%?

    imagine selling your soul for 150k a year. sad.

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  24. flipper (4,065 comments) says:

    Charter Schools, Labour, and Red melons. Oh dear, oh dear…

    For those without an institutional memory, the new Hipkins/Green threat is far from new.

    It was first used in respect of the bid by Gordon Dryden, Watties, UEB, and Kerridge for an independent (of NZBS/C) television broadcasting licence.

    National, via those poor misguided souls, Scott and McCready, opposed private radio and attempted (ultimately unsuccessfully) to shut it down.

    But Labour’s threat in respect of TV was sufficient to give Dryden’s backers cold feet. The threat was cancellation without compensation. That is NOT an honourable policy by any stretch of left wing imagination, is it?
    Labour had earlier flirted with a similar policy in relation to Deep Cove/Manapouri….until the unions made them see sense.

    The point that should not be overlooked is that this sort of threat is par for Labour.
    National has made promises in respect of a reversal of policy (prisons, Douglas super), but the NP has never, to my knowledge gone down the threat road.

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  25. Allyson (47 comments) says:

    The decline of trade union membership and influence, along with movement of low paid jobs to China has left Educational unions as last man standing for left wing axis member the Labor party.. That they are prepared to throw improved educational outcomes for disadvantaged groups under a bus does not suprise. When will teachers mobilise against this (mis)representation?

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  26. Paulus (2,627 comments) says:

    Hang about a bit. Maori’s are about to reopen St Stephens Bombay, and Queen Victoria in Parnell – Maori boarding schools.
    These will be the closest thing to other Maori only schools – Charter schools – where they set the rules paid for by Taxpayers.
    The new secret Tauranga Maori Secondary school, opened last year is good example of MYOB – we do this our way (and you pay for it) so sod off to any questions asked.

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  27. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    The education system has long been a tool of the left. That is why the teachers profession has long been unionised well above the rate for other professions. It attracts the left leaning thinker who uses it to indoctrinate as much as educate.

    Karl Marx said, “The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother’s care, shall be in state institutions.”

    Lenin said, “Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.” and “Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”

    Stalin said “Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.

    If you do not think that the teaching profession in New Zealand is over proportionally staffed and run by the left, then you should take a moment to visit the staffroom of any major school in New Zealand and look at the noticeboard. I had cause to look at the one at an inner city High School in Wellington. It should have come with a Labour Authorisation statement.

    We should be working to de-politicise the education system, and allow those who partake in it to reach their own conclusions about the way of the world.

    Failing that, we should also acknowledge the ideas of other great thinkers, such as G.K Chesterton, who said, “No man who worships education has got the best out of education… Without a gentle contempt for education no man’s education is complete.” Or the likes of Bertrand Russell, who said “We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought.”

    But my favourite is by John Maynard Keynes. “Education: the inculcation of the incomprehensible into the indifferent by the incompetent.”

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  28. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    I refer you to this essay, which I posted about here. Same principles apply to Labour as to the American Left. We on the Right are bewildered because we think we are simply arguing about the best way of achieving a goal. The Left never see it that way. We are evil, our ideas are evil, and we must be destroyed, and until we realise that is their game and start returning fire instead of cowering, we are never going to get good policy like this implemented. Time to fight back folks – hard!

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  29. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (890 comments) says:

    Well with the latest polls (Roy Morgan) showing Labour-Green will be in power in 2014, this is not a empty threat. This is going to happen for sure.

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  30. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    In 2014, the Nats should fight Labour with a couple of Tui billboards –

    “Labour – We know what’s best for your child’s education. Yeah, right.”

    “Labour – We know what’s best for you. Yeah, right.”

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  31. mpledger (425 comments) says:

    Parent choice is illusionary with Charter Schools in the USA (and since we have no experience in NZ then you have to go by how it’s been played out overseas). Parents may choose to enroll but actually getting in depends on hard work in the application process and luck (if too many kids want to enroll ) … and staying in depends on the whim of the Charter School.

    ~~~~~~~~~
    Report says New Orleans parents need better information for school choice to work
    There is also “misinformation about admission requirements and the application process is rampant and widespread across all demographics.” And “the cause of misinformation is not the fault of the parents doing something wrong, but rather the fault of the system she described as ‘labyrinthine.’ ”
    http://theadvocate.com/news/neworleans/5142994-148/report-says-new-orleans-parents
    ~~~~~~~~~

    Some jurisdictions are trying to make applications to Charter Schools uniform through a one stop shop but the Charter Schools are resisting – they don’t want to loose control of being able to weed out people by making the process onerous, secretive and unfriendly to those they don’t want enrolled.

    It’s even less about parent choice at a democratic level. In the USA, the people in the district vote for the School Board but if the School Board has voted against opening a Charter School then they may have their funds taken away from their schools or the law has been changed to take away power from the school boards. This happened with the Great Hearts Charter School in Nashville who were rejected 4 times by the local school board because they wanted to charge parents $1500 a year and for their enrollment practices (it geared to sort for white kids). They public schools lost $4.5 million in funding and the law was changed so that school boards lost the power to reject charter schools.

    And the pro-Charter school movement is funded by billionaires (who send their kids to the very opposite of Charter Schools). Money is being poured in to School board elections as Bill Gates, the Waltons and Bloomberg pump millions of dollars to buy elections for the candidates they want when they don’t even live in the state or have kids that go to public schools.
    N.Y. mayor gives $1 million to back L.A. school board slate
    http://discussions.latimes.com/20/lanews/la-me-bloomberg-lausd-20130213/10

    Charter Schools for the most part don’t do any better than the local public school despite creaming their student population. And the few Charter Schools that have done better are usually getting funding from phillanthropic sources in a way which could never be matched here.

    In the USA, Charter Schools are not about kids but about entrepreneurs trying to get their hands on the money Obama poured in to the sector as part of his stimulus package. And if we don’t watch out they’ll be looking to NZ as their next place to “grow their industry” thanks to TPP.

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  32. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Well with the latest polls (Roy Morgan) showing Labour-Green will be in power in 2014, this is not a empty threat. This is going to happen for sure.

    Yes, but that doesn’t change the fact it’s a threat. Labour is trying to prevent this government doing it’s thing, by virtue of the fact that eventually they’ll be back in power.

    That’s very nasty, and has potential to seriously undermine our democracy IMHO.

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  33. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    Parent choice is illusionary with Charter Schools in the USA (and since we have no experience in NZ then you have to go by how it’s been played out overseas). Parents may choose to enroll but actually getting in depends on hard work in the application process and luck (if too many kids want to enroll ) … and staying in depends on the whim of the Charter School.

    That’s bullshit. Charter schools by definition are supposed to be funded according to the level of enrolment. Even if schools do reject applicants, so what? A chance is better than no option at all.

    Your argument still boils down to “we shouldn’t have more than one supermarket, because if we have competing supermarkets it means someone will make money”. Well I want more than one supermarket, and I want more than one type of school to choose from. So take your Soviet rhetoric elsewhere.

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  34. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    In the USA, Charter Schools are not about kids but about entrepreneurs trying to get their hands on the money Obama poured in to the sector as part of his stimulus package.

    Just one problem about that – Obama’s stimulous is a recent development, Charter Schools are not.

    Besides which, by your logic New World is trying to get their hands on the money being poured every day into purchase of food. Well, of course they are, but they only get that money if they do a good job – hopefully only if they do a better job than their compeditors.

    Update: Heh, Blair beat me to the supermarket comparison.

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  35. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Charter schools were never going to succeed.

    You *do* realise that many of what will be charter schools are already running and are already succeeding, don’t you?

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  36. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    mpledger
    For a start we are not following the USA charter school model in its entirety – and there are many variations even there and different rates of success, good and bad. Gosh, just like any school.

    There’s not a lot of money to be made in running schools so I doubt greedy businessmen here will be interested in plundering our kids’ piggy boxes.
    We don’t have many billionaires in NZ and those filthy plutocrats in the USA like Bill Gates are usually working through their charity foundations to improve education for underprivileged kids.

    NZ is also looking at ‘charter’ school models in countries like the UK and Sweden. Take a look at Sweden for example, so beloved of the Left.

    Partnership schools are worth a go. Nothing else is working for the tail and they well might. What then? Shut them down or try to spread their success?

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  37. Grendel (1,002 comments) says:

    So Toms, i hope you dont support KiwiBank.

    Kiwibank was only formed as part of a coalition agreement between labour and Jim Anderton, and so was clearly without mandate.

    its the exact same logic you are using with act and charter schools. act and jim have the same number of seats this time around, however National has more seats than labour did when it spent extra taxpayer money on opening a bank on the whims of jim.

    at least charter schools are only competing with other taxpayer funded entities. Jims non mandated demands required the government to compete with the private sector.

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  38. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    What gets me (and I’ve got a post scheduled along these lines) is that state education is an option. If you have the money (or in many causes, you just make it a proirity) you can send your kids to a private school. Choices like that are fundamental to a free society.

    Yet here is Labour seemingly trying to force the disadvantaged out of having the same choice. That’s either attacking the poor or an assault on basic freedoms – possibly both. With some limited exceptions (which clearly do not apply here) the state simply does not, can not and must not force people to use a state service.

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  39. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    Sir Cullen’s Sidekick (71) Says:

    February 15th, 2013 at 10:01 am

    ‘Well with the latest polls (Roy Morgan) showing Labour-Green will be in power in 2014, this is not a empty threat. This is going to happen for sure.’

    Lets wait and see. I still think if Natiional can stay close, Shearer and the Greens will falter in the election campaign. Printing money, Labours lack of faith in their leader, Shearer’s terrible presentation and recall of basic facts. These are all things that will come under scrutiny. As long as the economy is in better shape by then, its game on.

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  40. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Every time someone presents a counter argument Marx gets pulled out. Gees there can be some right argumentative conspiracy freaks around here sometimes.

    Why should a portion of the public education money go to Destiny, Wynton or Mainfrieght for unqualified teachers and unsubstantiated courses? Remember that the current Government is keen on measuring the performance of registered teachers and schools but then make a complete exception for this fringe idea. Logic doesn’t work.

    As for the success stories? Where are they? Maybe this is what is being referred to.

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  41. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Scrubone this is a good point but a current private school’s ciriculum is defined and measured by the Ministry to acheive a good & set outcome, right? Supposedly this will not be the case with charter schools.

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  42. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    The more funding that is taken away from private schools – the more that private schools become the preserve of the wealthy!

    If you think that is good, think again, the Teachers Union will be the SOLE EDUCATORS of the next generation.

    The Re-Education camps they once called ‘em! :cool:

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  43. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    @Harriet –The more funding that is taken away from private schools – the more that private schools become the preserve of the wealthy!

    So $15k a year plus ancillary costs per child are not already the preserve of the wealthy? Are you living in fairlyland?

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  44. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    I am absolutely opposed to letting the government hand over my tax money to some religious group to run a school using who knows what kind of ‘teachers’ to instruct students in a curriculum they develop and with no public oversight from the OIA or Ombudsman as to how my tax dollars are being spent. I don’t want to see Labour or the Greens in power after the next election but if this threat makes Destiny or its ilk think twice about setting up a charter school I’m fine with that.

    John Hattie’s research already shows that charter schooling has very little positive impact on education and that’s even with the advantage of being able to shut out the most difficult students. The Credo study also found charters underperformed more often that then outperformed local schools (17% better compared to 37% worse), and that was in the US where public schools are pretty terrible.

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  45. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    I am absolutely opposed to letting the government hand over my tax money to some religious group to run a school using who knows what kind of ‘teachers’ to instruct students in a curriculum they develop and with no public oversight from the OIA or Ombudsman as to how my tax dollars are being spent

    Not exactly a strong point given most of that is already happening under the existing law.

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  46. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Harriet, In NZ 96% of students already attend public schools now, so I don’t think private schools can be said to be having a major effect on the current generation.

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  47. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    I am absolutely opposed to letting the government hand over my tax money to some religious group to run a school using who knows what kind of ‘teachers’ to instruct students in a curriculum they develop and with no public oversight from the OIA or Ombudsman as to how my tax dollars are being spent.

    Sound to me like you support vouchers, so parents can decide for themselves. Seems to work in Sweden.

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  48. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    “….So $15k a year plus ancillary costs per child are not already the preserve of the wealthy? Are you living in fairlyland?…”

    Mark, I now live in QLD and have a child at a private Christian school where I pay about $3500 a year for fees, books, some clothes and bus fares.

    As Julia Gillard the socialist[whom I dislike] said ” Without the private sector being involved in education, Australia would never have the level of education that they have now – it’s unafordable for the government.”

    In short Mark, private schools deliver better outcomes. My child’s school gets about $6000 funding from Canberra and $3000 from me. The local state schools get about $10,000 from Canberra, cry poor, and deliver nothing.

    A neighbour I once had has taught in both systems and said “Private kids mostly teach themselves, but in the state system we can’t kick out trouble makers unless they ‘half kill’ someone: a good education for all kids is the result of good discipline in all homes.”

    In Australia, there is a large exidus of pupils from state schools to private schools. Private schools deliver value.And that’s the point, parents who send their kids to private schools, no matter how cheap, value education and have pride: and their children learn to do so to.

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  49. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Scrubone, No it is not happening under the current law. All integrated schools must follow the national curriculum, use registered and qualified teachers and fall under the OIA and Ombudsman’s authority. We know how they’re spending out tax money and they can’t just teach anything they like.

    Now if you’re referring to the fact that some tax money is currently handed over to fully private schools I agree that is also completely wrong and should be stopped immediately. But adding charter schools to that category certainly isn’t going to help.

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  50. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    I should add that I have no problem with the existence of private schools and I agree with Harriet that parents who go to the trouble of sending their children to them really care about their children’s education. I went to a private Catholic high school myself and I got a quality education there. I’m also not opposed to parental choice at all. I like that our public schools can compete with each other and parents can send kids out of zone. Apparently 28% of students in West Auckland are sent out of zone. I just disagree with handing over tax money to private schools.

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  51. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Now if you’re referring to the fact that some tax money is currently handed over to fully private schools I agree that is also completely wrong and should be stopped immediately

    Some of that ‘tax money’ is used by the MoE and NZQA to maintain curriculum and national policy across NZ’s public and private schooling. Should that be stopped too? You seems to be concerned about that earlier. What about the ‘tax money’ used on integrated schools – you know, the ones with nasty Christians indoctrinating students. Stop them perhaps, then the government could borrow a few billion dollars to nationalise integrated schools’ land and buildings.

    No, the idea that the government, and only the government is able to provide acceptable education belongs in the broken-parts bin of socialist history.

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  52. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Rightandleft: You are confused. I said *most* of that is happening under existing law. And it is.

    For example, people are using creationism as a leaver to criticise charter schools. But christian intergrated schools not only are allowed to teach it, they’re required to and would be closed if they stopped. Many schools use “unqualified teachers”, and the government pays for them (they’re called “teacher aides”).

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  53. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    I’m also not opposed to parental choice at all…. I just disagree with handing over tax money to private schools.

    You’re not opposed to choice, but you want the state to only give money to it’s own schools. I can sort of see your point, but I consider myself that that is effectivly using the state to force poor people into using the state monopoly, regardless of suitablity of that system.

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  54. CeeJay said (57 comments) says:

    What this shows is that we need to further tighten up the gun laws in this country, since Labour and the Greens still seem to be happy to hold them to New Zealanders’ heads.

    Regardless of the debate over the merits of charter schools, this attitude from the left has seriously sinister implications for the integrity of our democracy.

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  55. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    “….Now if you’re referring to the fact that some tax money is currently handed over to fully private schools I agree that is also completely wrong and should be stopped immediately…”

    In that case the government then has no say in what is taught!

    Out goes the likes of PC, feminism, pro-choice abortion, and gay-friendly sex education.

    In comes corporal punishment with parents and students signing legal waivers. [ They can legally call it dominitrix education.]

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  56. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    I still don’t get that RightandLeft is a taxpayer funded secondary school teacher in a state school and yet has time to be on Kiwiblog during school hours. Is that correct use of taxpayer funds? Is there not a moral issue there?

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  57. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Labour threatening to axe charter schools

    Well, duh. If a Labour govt brought back in compulsory unionism and award rates of pay, it wouldn’t matter how successful that was at raising workers’ wages, National would overturn it on becoming govt again. It’s called ideological differences.

    In fact they are terrified that charter schools will be hugely popular in South Auckland, so they are trying to scare people off setting them up.

    I expect they and anyone in the public school system in Sth Auckland are terrified at the prospect of charter schools being hugely popular there. I’d expect charter schools to do an awesome job of siphoning off the more able Sth Auckland students and leaving the worst ones in the public system, with the resulting school achievement differential providing the govt with ammunition for further privatisation and union-busting.

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  58. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Anodos, Have you heard of a lunch break? Do you complain about any other commenter here, including yourself, posting on a weekday during business hours? Surely not everyone here posting during the day is retired, a student or unemployed. The issue being discussed here involves millions of taxpayer dollars and the future of education in this country. Try proposing a valid counter-argument to mine rather than wasting time on petty personal attacks.

    Scrubone, Teacher aides are NOT teachers. They are not legally allowed to be alone instructing a class without a registered teacher present. Teacher aides do no actual teaching in a secondary school, they work individually with students and back the teacher up when necessary. What is being proposed for charter schools in entirely different. There it is proposed that unqualified, unregistered people be put entirely in charge of a class and all its course content.

    Whether integrated schools should exist and get public funds is a separate argument. The fact is they do exist and they already serve much of the roll envisioned for charters but they are open to public scrutiny and must use registered teachers. Public schools are already allowed to get private sponsorship as well. The only thing charters seem to add is the ability to use non-union teachers, use performance pay, bulk funding and eliminate school zones. These are ideological goals the government would like to impose on the whole system but that has proved much too difficult. Charters are an easy way to bypass all that mess. That’s the real reason they’re being pushed.

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  59. Reid (16,457 comments) says:

    I’d expect charter schools to do an awesome job of siphoning off the more able Sth Auckland students and leaving the worst ones in the public system, with the resulting school achievement differential providing the govt with ammunition for further privatisation and union-busting.

    Yes it’d be a huge twagedy and twavesty of the highest order to have at least SOME students from Sth Akld clawing their way out of their own wretched crapulence, wouldn’t it.

    Imagine if that happened for several generations of school children. Why pretty soon, before we knew it, EVERYONE in Sth Akld would have received a DECENT education and NONE of them would be repeating the same cycle that their parents and grandparents have been repeating since the 80’s. And then where would Liarbore and the Gweens be? Their disaffected base would dwindle to virtually nothing.

    That’s why you’re doing it PM. Why can’t you admit it? You really don’t give a stuff about the people who vote for you, do you, despite your protestations to the contrary. Well sorry PM, your actions speak louder than your empty words mate. How you guys even sleep at night, let alone have the temerity to claim the moral high ground on just about everything you do, is beyond me.

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  60. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Long and late lunch hour. And the PPTA (of which you are an avid member) constantly tell us teachers need to work through their lunch hours.

    Evidence? The outstanding data coming out of 10 years of free schools in Sweden http://www.ifau.se/Upload/pdf/se/2012/wp12-19-Independent-schools-and-long-run-educational-outcomes.pdf
    A pretty conclusive read.

    Also – the latest Credo report (you continue to use the 2009 one) stating that Kipp (and other examples) Schools in the US have closed the achievement gap between income differentials (and yet you were more intent at talking at the Feinberg meeting in Auckland – rather than listening when you might have learnt something). Credo still acknowledge improvements need to be made by NZEI/PPTA are still silly enough to say there are no good examples overseas – that argument has been well and truly lost.

    The need? The most recent TIMMS reports showing the decline in NZ achievement and the massive ongoing achievement differentials through the levels of NCEA for different groups (e.g. Maori vs non-Maori – 20% at Level 2)

    As to your earlier comment about 28% of students in West Auckland being out of zone – what are they running from? What are the choices for the 72% who don’t appear to have an option. You were at the Fenberg meeting and heard the Pacifika leader state that their children have massively limited choice. Did you just ignore that? Why are you protesting improving things for PI children?

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  61. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Just in case you haven’t got time to read it R&L the quick summary of the Swedish report is that, after 10 years, not only have the Free schools been good for students but they have also had the effect of assisting to bring about better outcomes in the state schools. Would of thought all education professionals would want that and support it. Or is there an agenda for children that I keep missing?

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  62. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    To start with I’m not sure what time you think secondary schools have their lunch breaks at but ours is from 1:30 to 2:15, so actually later than I was on. I took my lunch break earlier though, when i had a scheduled non-contact period, because I had to run a debate team meeting during the school lunch break and then supervise the cafeteria. You’ll note I didn’t post after 1:30 since you seem keen to track my posts today. The PPTA isn’t making things up about teachers working through lunch. Generally half the teachers at my school have duty or meetings during lunch on any given day. There are many that work through every lunch. I admit I’m not among that group.

    The Pasifika leader who states their children had little choice had nothing but anecdotal evidence to back that up. He claimed to represent Raise Pasifika but in fact he was not authorised by that group to speak out in favour of charter schools on behalf of them. The fact that 28% of West Auckland children choose to go out of zone proves there is choice available. The percentage of kids able to bus out of zone where I grew up in the US was 0% because choice was illegal, zones were iron-clad.

    I don’t oppose all charter schools. I like the way NZ public schools function and they’ve been charter schools since 1989. Feinberg even admitted that at the meeting we attended, just saying that in his opinion we hadn’t gone far enough in our charter model. I disagree with him there. The KIPP system and others do get better results in standardised testing but they do so by using a rigorous teach to the test method that would not work with NZ’s curriculum or NCEA. They also get good results by ensuring they have maximum parental support, requiring them to sign an agreement to commit to the school’s strict guidelines on dedication. This takes advantage of the fact that parental involvement is the biggest factor in improved student outcomes. By ensuring only kids with dedicated, involved parents attend they suck the students most likely to succeed already out of the public schools. Another element involved is funding levels, which in some charter systems, though certainly not all, is significantly higher than local public schools due to the investment of private entities. With these advantages I would expect charters to always outperform publics, but that doesn’t mean they are a public good. Public education is utilitarian, it should do what is best for the whole of society, not for individuals. The public healthcare system works on the same basis. I’m glad private options exist alongside both systems and I’m glad there is competition within the education system but my position is that public money should only go to public institutions, not to private entites, whether they be Destiny Church or The Warehouse. And yes that means I’m against public-private partnerships as well. But if there is money given to private entities to carry out public services there should definitely be public oversight on that money through the OIA.

    Sweden’s charter school system may have worked for them but they still don’t earn the top PISA prize their Finnish neighbours have been awarded for years. You can point to Sweden as a success for charter schools and I can point to Finland as a success for the exact opposite policies. So maybe the success of Scandinavian education systems have more to do with other factors within their societies than charter schools or the lack of them.

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  63. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Oh and by the way, because I’ve had this brought up before and expect it will be used against me again, let me just add that when it comes to the use of taxpayer funds to pay my salary, there are really two things you should be concerned about.

    1. Are my students being taught well enough to pass their exams and gain general knowledge of my subject matter.

    2. Am I actually working the hours my salary pays me for

    Believe it or not I, like all teachers, have a performance review called appraisal every year. A major part of that review is student surveys of my teaching and academic performance of my classes (especially improvement over the previous year). I also have to show I’ve contibuted to the wider school community and that I’ve undertaken regular professional development. I also have my assessment creating and marking procedures tested through random selection of assessments each year by NZQA. If there had ever been concerns about my teaching I wouldn’t have passed these checks on my abilities year after year.

    When it comes to hours worked, the teachers’ collective agreement makes no reference to actual work hours. I would say I generally work 40 to 45 hours a week depending on which extra-curriculars are on at the time. When I was a newer teacher and needed to plan every single lesson and create all my resources I used to work 55 to 60 hours a week. I’ve seen research that the average NZ secondary teacher works 48 hours a week and a middle manager 54 hours.

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  64. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Sorry R&L but you are either disingenuous or not a good reader. The Swedish report is about the direct effect of Free Schools in that country and the improvements brought about. The good results in Finland are far more attributed to all teachers having to have post grad degrees. We could do both here but for the patch protecting PPTA nonsense that stands in the way of children. Can you imaging the NZEI/PPTA outcry if it was a requirement for all teachers to have post grad degrees in their subjects? Finland is also known as a far more homogeneous society so the one size fits all works better. Too many people seem comfortable with the NCEA comparative failure rates in NZ of Maori and PI students. Maybe modified KIPP methods could work for some children (including seeking much greater parent involvement and accountability – I really, really struggle to see the problem with asking parents to take responsibility for the outcomes of their children).

    You also know full well there is a difference between schools having a “charter” and the Charter/Free/Partnership model. Why do you treat the Kiwiblog readers like idiots?

    You also know that others at the Feinberg meeting spoke and gave evidence about the lack of choice – and backed it up. Be fully honest.

    That people go out of zone does not prove choice at all for many of the children – these are likely to be the children whose parents are able to afford the time and effort to get them out of zone (as well as being able to negotiate the considerable processes to do so). Why continue to crap on those children and families unable to arrange and afford that?

    You are deluded if you think that a significant amount of the public money that goes into state schools doesn’t end up in private hands. Who provides transport services? What companies provide IT hardware and software? Who gets the profit from construction? Are the stationery and text books companies state entities? You arguments make no sense on that aspect.

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  65. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    scrubone,

    Many schools use “unqualified teachers”, and the government pays for them (they’re called “teacher aides”).

    Okay, that was a blinder.

    I mean, what part of teacher AIDE is not clearly understandable?

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  66. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    The Finnish system has seen good results even in the areas with high immigrant numbers. One of the highlights of their system is that all schools seem to perform at nearly the exact same level. The Finnish attitude is that you cannot have both choice and excellence in the system. I have to say I worry about that because I fear if you remove choice but don’t put in the money and effort to upskill the entire system you will end up in the US predicament where children are trapped in failing schools.

    The Finnish system also succeeds not just because the teachers have post-grad degrees but also because schools have wrap-around social services including free meals, mental health services and much more. They also allow teachers far more freedom and don’t have any nation-wide exams until the last year of schooling. Secondary teachers in NZ already have to have a post-grad qualification and if the government really wanted to make a Masters’ Degree a requirement I’m certain the PPTA would be more than happy to support that move if it was done the same way it was done in Finland. They of course paid for the full cost of all teachers being upskilled and increased teacher salaries to match their new skill level. The PPTA has constantly pushed for more professional development for teachers and in the last claim asked for TOUGHER appraisals and more professional development required for going up the salary scale.

    Having money handed to private contractors working for public schools is not at all what I have an issue with. It is the use of public money to deliver a private group’s education agenda and the total lack of oversight in how the private entity spends that money.

    Now as for NCEA failure rates being different for Maori and Pasifika students that is a gap that has been slowly closing over the last decade. Every school is required by ERO to make improving Maori and Pasifika students’ performace a priority and to show this during regular reviews. NCEA pass rates have shown continuous improvement over the last ten years.

    Now I am not saying that our schools are charter schools just because they have a ‘charter’. There is no single agreed upon model of charter school. The only thing they all really have in common is the charter. But beyond that our schools are governed by elected boards of trustees made up of parents and community members. They are answerable to the local community and empowered to take on a special character to suit that community. They can get private companies to sponsor the school. They compete against each other and students can leave one school for another. They can be single-sex or co-ed and they can be religious. They can choose different assessment systems (NCEA, IB, Cambridge). All those things are elements of charter schooling around the world and make our schools very different to public schools in the US or in Finland for that matter.

    I didn’t hear many others speak of lack of choice in schooling at that meeeting and I didn’t hear anyone back that up by citing research or statistics from a reputable source. All I heard was anecdotal evidence on that front. The same is true of the opposing side on the matter I’ll admit. But now I have an actual figure, 28% in West Auckland leave the area, and that means more than that certainly leave their technical zone within the West Auckland area. That is a significant portion of the student population already exercising their right to choice in NZ’s Tomorrow’s Schools charter system. That’s a lot higher than the portion of students who will ever attend the new Partnership Schools. What portion of students attend charters in the US? I believe it is still below 5%.

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  67. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    No one is suggesting a lack of oversight for Charter Schools. Quite the opposite if you genuinely read what is proposed. I would also be certain that those schools that get to operate that way will be more than happy to compare results. The PPTA will go to phase 3 – which is these schools achieve because of – (take you pick at this point) – cherry picking, extra funding through private sources, having motivated and involved parents, over restrictive methods.

    In the US it is 5% and growing – as in many other nations. It will be good to have the same discussion in 20 years time. Parents are choosing these options for a reason – or are they stupid and do not have the interests of their own children at heart. Could it be just that they have a greater choice in how that aspect of their taxes is spent?

    I think it was a Labour politician who asked why the families of Epsom have these choices and those in the West don’t.

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  68. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    And R&L – as at 2010 – the level 2 NCEA gap between Maori and non-Maori was still 23.1%. If that doesn’t show need for radical change what does? How many more cohorts get wasted while adults argue ideology. The gap is “slowly” closing but these families do not have the 20 more years, the PPTA seem happy with, to wait.

    I am also not comfortable with someone being privileged enough to have their income paid through taxation and stating that they are happy if the children in front of them are being taught well enough to “pass”. I don’t want my tax money spent on that low level – every teacher should be looking for outstanding results and never being satisfied with less – regardless of the race or status of the children in front of them.

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  69. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    I’ve read all about the mechanisms that will supposedly keep charter schools accountable but really there’s no reason to exempt them from the OIA. I really will be surprised if the legislation makes it through the select committee process with that part of it intact. They are using public money, they should be accountable for what is done with it the same way state schools are.

    The gap between Maori and non-Maori is directly related to the income gap between Maori and non-Maori. You earlier cited Finland’s homogenous population as one big reason for its success, acknowedging that in every multicultural society minority groups lag behind in educational success. It isn’t a particular failure of the NZ education system.

    In terms of the PPTA’s view on this gap, this is one of the primary concerns of the association. Maori have guaranteed seats on every commitee and the Executive. Papers are constantly being written about research on improving Maori education. The Te Kotahitanga programme has seen some good results in the schools adopting it for example. The is also a Pasifika Committee within PPTA dedicated to improving their outcomes on schools. The PPTA is not the dedicated defenders of the status quo at all. In fact it is the exact opposite.

    And I for one am not happy with my students just passing NCEA. At my school we set specific goals for getting high rates of Merit and Excellence endorsements for our students. Of course we also have goals for overall pass rates, the same as John Key has set for 85% to pass NCEA Level 2. I do want all my students to reach their potential, but that doesn’t mean everyone will get an Excellence. For some students earning an Achieved is a huge success that takes a lot of effort and should not be written off as just a pass. For some getting them to attend classes regularly and make a real attempt at a project or exam is a small victory in itself.

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  70. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Very interesting, feel I have learnt more about this topic. Far better than all the ranting bollocks at the start of this thread (and indeed at the start of just about every Kiwiblog thread). Suprised someone didn’t spring global warming conspiracy into it some how.

    Generally agree with R&L what I just don’t understand about this:

    Public education is utilitarian, it should do what is best for the whole of society, not for individuals. The public healthcare system works on the same basis.

    Having money handed to private contractors working for public schools is not at all what I have an issue with. It is the use of public money to deliver a private group’s education agenda and the total lack of oversight in how the private entity spends that money.

    Which Anodos suggests is “quite the opposite, if you read the proposals” – where are the references for this?

    Also I’d agree with the whole post-primary teachers and post-grad degrees. This is certainly the way I have understood it and you’re quite right, I don’t see why the PPTA would have any problem with the requirements increasing.

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  71. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    It is easy to make the reverse case – that the income gap between Maori and non-Maori is directly related to the long term failure of the one size fits all state system to bring about society/pathway changing outcomes. We don’t have to accept this failure just because it occurs overseas.

    It would be a sad thing if we are going to wait until we have perfect income equality in NZ to expect good outcomes for Maori children. Why would you identify lower expectations for any children just because they come from a lower income family? Surely no teacher, worthy of the name, enters the classroom with preallocated expectations based on the child’s background. Need to raise your sights Mr R&L – the children and the taxpayer deserve it.

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  72. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    “its tricky” – here is a start – “The Government will ensure the health and safety of all children at partnership schools through a specific statutory duty that will be enforced through the partnership schools contract -and all information sought by the Ministry will be sought and given and subject to the OIA.” Banks – NZ Herald 14/2/13

    They should be absolutely accountable for every tax $ and be required to publicly report on all academic outcomes.

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  73. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Need to raise your sights Mr R&L – the children and the taxpayer deserve it.

    Okay, that’s just bollocks.

    Clearly a dedicated, informed, and intelligent teacher. And that’s your summary?

    bah

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  74. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Health & Safety?

    How does that equal particular levels of achievement in reading and mathematics?

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  75. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Anodos,

    Where did I ever say I had lower expectations based on lower level of income? You are conflating two ideas I presented in my last entry. One, I said that it is a well-know and researched fact that lower socio-economic level is tied to lower educational outcomes.

    The other statement I made was that not all students are going to be capable of earning an Excellence and that lower levels of achievement are still victories for some. That isn’t because I’m judging them on their income level or race! There is in fact a bell curve of IQs and numerous learning disabilities which students suffer from. I have students with genetic disorders causing an IQ in the 80 range, another is autistic, one has hydrocephalus (water on the brain) and several have severe ADHD or dyslexia or both. Then there are the students who, because of family circumstances, are made by their parents to miss days and weeks of school at a time. For these students getting an Achieved could be a huge victory. Of course I would love for everyone to get an Excellence, but when you are actually a teacher you learn to be realistic or you will burn out very quickly. I have Pasifika and Maori students who do earn Excellences by the way.

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  76. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Yes – I am sure you are a good, solid, “realistic” teacher with the best interests of your students at heart. Which is why is makes it hard to fathom why you would argue to prevent people who may have a different approach receiving funding to reach the children that you acknowledge you cannot and groups who are currently not succeeding under the current system. I am sure those groups will be more than happy to be fully accountable if that is your only worry.

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  77. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    I also think you need to examine your own expectations again. If, as you state that “it is a well known and researched fact that lower socio-economic level is tied to lower educational outcomes” – then surely when you stand before a class you bring the “fact” that you have accepted into play.

    And, to repeat something you might have missed earlier, the latest Credo study challenges that “fact” on the basis of the achievement of schools like KIPP.

    In NZ, good teachers need to challenge that “fact” on a daily basis. That is an inherent philosophy of a state funded system.

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  78. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    Why should a portion of the public education money go to Destiny, Wynton or Mainfrieght for unqualified teachers and unsubstantiated courses? Remember that the current Government is keen on measuring the performance of registered teachers and schools but then make a complete exception for this fringe idea. Logic doesn’t work.

    Because other people who aren’t you pay into that public education money, and they don’t like the shitty education their children get out of it. And unlike you, they don’t have a problem with Destiny, Wynton or Mainfreight running schools and having the choice to send their children to those schools. Why should those parents have to pay taxes to subsidise your shitty Soviet education system? Let’s have Charter Schools so that parents can get real value and choice out of the tax that THEY pay!

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  79. kiwi in america (2,453 comments) says:

    To people like RightandLeft I say lighten up – we’re talking about a TRIAL, you know the same type of trial that the teacher’s unions bleated on about as being needed for National Standards. If a trial was a good policy for them to promote over NS why suddently is it not a good idea with Charter Schools. If they are the end of civilisation as the left claim then it will become plainly apparent.

    Secondly why is there wilfull blindness over so much documentary evidence of the better run (and please note that very important proviso) charter schools making a real difference. I live in Arizona where charter schools were adopted early on – there is a huge smorgasbord of charter school options – some are useless, some are average most are very good but guess what, AZ parents get to CHOOSE and they love it. There are good ways to determine the success of otherwise of charter schools and like consumers of any other product, you pay your money and you take your pick – same way we do with cars or cell phones. NZ can learn from the decades of US experience with charter schools and follow the models proven to work – its not rocket science!

    The left loath the notion of choice but more than anything its about the teachers unions having their power base eroded. The left cited Sweden as their nirvana for decades – suddenly a market driven solution in super welfare state Sweden that works and they are digging deep into their large book of non sequitors and disqualifiers.

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  80. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    It is easy to make the reverse case – that the income gap between Maori and non-Maori is directly related to the long term failure of the one size fits all state system to bring about society/pathway changing outcomes.

    Well, it would be if kids from other cultures weren’t coming into the country and doing extremely well in our education system. But they are, so it’s not. If you imagine a schoolteacher outweighs everything else in a kid’s environment, you’re clinically insane.

    Yes it’d be a huge twagedy and twavesty of the highest order to have at least SOME students from Sth Akld clawing their way out of their own wretched crapulence, wouldn’t it.

    Reid, thanks for admitting that this is actually about creaming off the better-performing kids to make privatisation look beneficial. Thanks also for revealing just how much this isn’t about doing something to help that “long tail” of underachievement.

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  81. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Well, it would be if kids from other cultures weren’t coming into the country and doing extremely well in our education system. But they are, so it’s not.

    I wouldn’t be so confident of that. We’re talking about income. When kids from other cultures come here, they may come with wealthy parents. Certainly I’d imagine they’re coming here in the expectation that it will be better than where they’ve been.

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  82. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    BlairM

    Why should those parents have to pay taxes to subsidise your shitty Soviet education system?

    That’s for confirming my post above about commie conspiracy freaks. Thought I was going a bit do-da for a while, but I was right. Good to see you reasoning is based on rational thought about the real world.

    Because other people who aren’t you pay into that public education money

    Hope you weren’t suggesting I am neither a tax payer nor a school age parent because you’d be completely wrong. There’s clearly a lot of parents (who pay into the public education fund) who want this right? Because it was an election mandate right? No….hold on, it was a fringe idea by a fringe party who’s currently elected freak came in to parliment by a debacle of a community that was politically blinkered. In all liklehood, he won’t be here next time, and his party won’t either. I mean don’t tell me you wouldn’t be complaining about the same thing if Hone got one past the line.

    and they don’t like the shitty education their children get out of it

    Is that because they think there are shitty educators? Is introducing more, unqualified educators, running unsubstantiated courses going to fix that?

    they don’t have a problem with Destiny, Wynton or Mainfreight running schools

    Do you think that the parents who don’t have a problem with public money going to Wynton are also going to be happy about public money going to Destiny? These things can be mutually exclusive.

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  83. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Hello Psycho Milt don’t you think…

    “If you imagine a schoolteacher outweighs everything else in a kid’s environment, you’re clinically insane.”

    …is a little ironic from you?

    In a NZ classroom when a group of kids walks in a teacher has a couple of choices:

    1) To make assumptions based on SES, parents backgrounds (e.g. single or family), ed psych reports (ADHD, dyslexia, etc) previous school reports, etc – all of which you can find statistical correlations for…

    or

    2) They can roll up their sleeves, remember that are very well paid in a highly funded “world class” system and say “screw the background and expectations (and excuses)…I am going to make a massive difference in the lives of these children and give them options for their future. That is actually the purpose of education.

    If that is insanity PM – please share your pills.

    If you had, have or will have children – which kind of teacher do you want?

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  84. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    So, basically you really do think a schoolteacher outweighs everything else in a child’s environment, as long as the teacher has a sufficiently idealistic approach to their work? It certainly works that way in the movies, but teachers operating in non-movie environments don’t get to sweep away reality with a can-do attitude.

    There’s also no basis for the assumption that charter schools by definition would offer improved teacher competence or attitudes to their students relative to state schools – in fact, quite the opposite, given that the government intends to allow non-qualified teachers in charter schools.

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  85. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Almost forgot:

    If you had, have or will have children – which kind of teacher do you want?

    Excellent ones. Which they have right now, in a decile 5 state school.

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  86. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Anodos

    I believe you’ve completely misunderstood that.

    I’d say PM was pointing out that there are many more factors than just that of the educator, in a child’s life. Education fixes a lot of things, but not everything.

    I don’t really see what your point is about “when a group of kids walks in” – nobody here has said that certain kids don’t get the teacher’s devotion. It’s just a fact of life that IQ & ability is a bell curve, as pointed out above, no matter how much sway the teacher has, there will always be kids who fall below the median. We can’t all be the same. If we were, the world would be a boring place.

    Even though we can’t all be the same there are certain abilities, morals and reasoning capabilities that society agrees should be instilled in all of it’s citizens – for the public good. And the more individuals who gain that wisdom and intelligence the better it is for society in the future.

    In understanding that why should we agree that random scriptures/skills/beliefs of individual charter shools are in the “public good”? To paraphase the example R&L has above, the public health system, is this not like the (for example) Greens suggesting that the public will fund “Homoeopathy Hospitals” to be set up around the country.

    Well, if you don’t believe in it you don’t have to go – I’ve offered you a “choice” – so that’s better for you right? So we should take money away from the traditional hospitals and put it into our new Homoeopathy Hospitals, right?

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  87. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Anodos, You have no concept of what it is actually like to be a public school teacher. I don’t read my students reports, look at the quality of their uniform on the first day and then decide who can strive for an Excellence and who I should write off. I can’t think of a single teacher who would do that. People who become publc school teachers don’t do it for being well paid!

    Now here’s the reality. I have between 28 and 33 students in each of my classes this year. I notice in one class that there are two or three students who have only attended twice in the last two weeks. They’ve missed me handing out and explaining the first assessment already. They’ve missed the first few days in the computer lab researching topics. They only have two weeks left to finish the who project now if they start attending regularly. Should I make it my personal mission to get them into class so they can succeed? No, because I have twenty-something other students in front of me who I would be failing if I spent my time doing that rather than helping them. Now in the same class I also have four students who are recent immigrants who can barely speak English and writing it is even more difficult. Two of the stadards involve 600-800 word essays. Am I really failing them if, after looking at their writing samples and finding the cannot manage to write complete sentences, I don’t expect them to get an Excellence on their essay and instead focus them on passing the other three standards that involve far less writing? I am not a specialist in ESOL and if I dedicated the time necessary to raise their writing skills to such a high level in just a few months I would have to completely ignore the rest of the class and it is likely they would still not pass the standard because it takes years for a new migrant to develop CALP (Comprehensive Academic Language Proficiency). How would that be fair to the rest of the class?

    You see it isn’t a question of writing students off at the start. I learn their varying ability levels over the course of Term One and I make decisions about how best to raise their abilities with my very limited time with them and where to focus their efforts to get the best results. You have a very distorted view of teaching, where we seem to have unlimited time to work with each and every student and the only reason some still fail is that we’re too lazy or bigoted to bother with them. That we look at their skin colour or see the ADHD label and say, ugh, one of them, no point even trying. Well that is complete bullshit. In fact just this past year I had a student with severe ADHD and another with dyslexia who each earned Merit endorsements for my subject. Of course we want all our students to reach their potential, but that means different things for different students.

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  88. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    R&L – I was a very successful teacher in a State school for 8 years and I saw plenty of teachers make the assumptions you claim they don’t make. Your second paragraph is the best argument for Charter Schools that I have yet read from someone who claims to oppose them.

    Itstricky – I mean this sincerely – not to be smart – but you are behind on the research. There is now plenty of evidence available to throw the fixed IQ/bell curve out. Brains develop with the right opportunities – in the same way sporting skills do. This is not a new conclusion and a good beginning into understanding it is Matthew Syed’s book Bounce – “The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice.” Statistically it is a truism to say some will fall below the median – but plenty of recent research clearly shows there is not fixed point for that median.

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  89. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Well Anodos it’s probably a good thing you left teaching then, given the lack of respect you had for your colleagues and your contempt for the public school system in general. How you think my second paragraph is an argument for charter schools is beyond me. You are the first trained teacher I’ve met to actually like the idea of charter schools. Please do explain exactly how a charter school would solve the difficulties I described in my second paragraph.

    Earlier people have argued that this charter school experiment is just a trial and we should not prevent it going forward and seeing if it really works better than state schools. Well here’s the problem, self-selection of participants would ruin any actual trial. If we really want to know if charters work better we would have to eliminate parental choice in sending their children to them. Students would have to be selected by random ballot, not from a lottery parents enrol them in, but from the general population of local state school students. The charter school could not refuse to take any student chosen regardless of special needs. The charter could not be allowed to exclude the students or suspend them any more easily than state schools. This trial of a handful of charters would need to be run for a long enough time to really judge the results, maybe 10 years. Then we could look at their results and see if they actually outperform state schools and by what margin. We could also see if they’ve actually helped the so-called long-tail or just boosted the scores of the students at the top.

    You can’t fairly compare charters that are allowed to select students from across the region to state schools that have a zone and must accept all students from within it. That is not a fair comparison and voids any results. That is what the PPTA is worried will happen, the deck will be unfairly stacked against state schools right from the start.

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  90. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Whoa R&L – never said I left teaching and wouldn’t even hint at contempt for anyone putting their heart and soul, as you genuinely do, into teaching and making things better for kids.

    In terms of meeting teachers liking the idea of charter schools – you need to get out more – and you did meet Mike Feinberg so I must be at least the second.

    The first hint that you make an argument for Charter Schools is that you mention 28 – 33 students in your class. Some Charter Schools may go for much smaller class sizes. Secondly you bemoan your lack of time – some Charter Schools may take a lot of admin off teachers and/or run longer days.

    Then you have gone into stock standard PPTA talk with the – even if they do succeed (and make life better for some children) it is because they will have an unfair advantage – if you can’t help everyone you should help anyone argument. You have argued earlier that the need to be open and accountable – now you are saying that – even if they are – the results won’t count.

    If Charter Schools can (as they do in significant examples elsewhere) make things better for some children, and their families, without harming anyone else – and are fiscally neutral (as proposed) – what really is the problem? I am pretty sure the PPTA’s “world class” system is robust enough to stand up to the small challenge.

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  91. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    You said “I was a very successful teacher.” That’s the past tense, so I assumed you’d left teaching. That and the fact that you criticised me for reading and commenting on Kiwiblog during school hours is a bit hypocritical if you are still a teacher since you were obviously doing the same thing.

    About meeting teacher who support charters, I meant I’ve never met a teacher in this country who supports the idea for charter schools as proposed by Banks and Isaacs. The US is a different situation and I would be arguing for more parental choice and looser school zoning if I were over there.

    I’m not saying charters won’t produce better results for some children. The problem is that by taking the better students out of normal state schools they by definition hurt the students left behind in the state school. If there is parental choice involved in getting your kids in a charter then I know the kids who barely show up to class and the ones who show up malnourished and poorly clothed aren’t going to be the ones going there. The parents that neglect their kids now aren’t going to be the ones filling out forms and pushing their kids into a lottery to enter a charter. So instead I lose the kids with the most education-oriented parents and the exam results average in my class drops as a result. Then the charter proponents step in and say, see the public school got worse results.

    Now you argue charters may be able to have smaller class sizes and less admin time for teachers. Well those are NOT arguments for charter schools, they are arguments for properly funding public schools to have smaller class sizes. If a charter school with maximum class sizes of 15, like Wynton promises, succeeds, we don’t say charters necessarily work, we’ve learned that smaller class sizes works. The PPTA has been fighting for smaller class sizes and less admin work for teachers for years. If these are the things that work we should do them in all schools, not for the lucky tiny minority that gets into the handful of charter schools.

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  92. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Anodos,

    Brains develop with the right opportunities – in the same way sporting skills do

    That’s hardly revelation of the century. Is that not obvious? It doesn’t mean that you end up with 1000/1000 students who are super combination Olympic athletes & Nobel Prize winners. Someone will end up down the scale because everybody is different, and every environment is different. No-one can be good at everything which is what you were suggesting was the only result in the ideal teaching world.

    As a psyhco-pop-culture book akin to Malcolm Gladwell’s series, that certainly looks interesting but I would guess that it is far from hard and fast scientific evidence of some revolutionary new understanding of the human condition.

    Statistically it is a truism to say some will fall below the median

    Of course, and those who fall below will have pros. in other areas – because everyone has their own faults, skills and contribution to society. Which would, actually, be a good argument for charter schools. But then, how do the public chose what is acceptable as an “alternative public good” that should recieve funding?

    Which is exactly the same points, yet again: – why should public money go to Destiny, Wynton or Mainfreight? I don’t think any of those are an alternative public good. Some might agree one and not the others. And why should there be unchecked “alternative” teachers running umpteen million unchecked “alternative” charters?

    If it wasn’t pitched by a one-freakoid-man-band conservative party it almost sounds hippy-ish. We’re back to the Greens announcing Homoeopathy Hospitals off the back of public funding again.

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  93. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    R&L – Not all schools are state schools and some teachers work part time and are free to choose what they do with the time they are not being paid for.

    I am both informed and positive that there will be a good number of NZ teachers interested in teaching in Charter Schools.

    Your paragraph 3 seems to make families and children who want more choice responsible for the success or failure of the other students (those that you say will be left behind) – how is that just? i.e. sounds like “those students must stay behind to help the others and keep my pass rates up.”

    Some of this may be a solution so that you have a bit more time to dedicate to those children.

    I still don’t understand – if Wynton was able to work with 60-120 students per annum and see success for them through a Charter School – how is that a problem for others? It might even inspire others in the area through academic and sporting competition. It will not have to be State vs Charter vs Private – that is a PPTA construct. People inherently interested in children would be happy to see them succeeding regardless of the type of school they are in.

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  94. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Now you argue charters may be able to have smaller class sizes and less admin time for teachers. Well those are NOT arguments for charter schools, they are arguments for properly funding public schools to have smaller class sizes.

    Very good point.

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  95. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Itstricky – the Syed book is “interesting”. It is written for wide release – which is why I said it is a “good beginning” – but there is a research trail that can be followed from it.

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  96. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    I still don’t understand – if Wynton was able to work with 60-120 students per annum and see success for them through a Charter School
    It will not have to be State vs Charter vs Private – that is a PPTA construct. People inherently interested in children would be happy to see them succeeding regardless of the type of school they are in.

    This seems to be inventing a mythical world in which, instead of a couple of local state schools, there are 30 odd charter schools, 10 private schools and 2 state schoools who all have small class sizes and happy teachers who don’t have to do any admin work because there’s plenty of other staff to assist. Too good to be true and always an A. vs. B thing. Especially when all of those overheads could be addressed in the current system.

    Who defines what those 30 charter schools are: who’s capable/qualified to run them, how they are churning out decent human beings and not just brainwashed members of cults, measuring their performance, checking that they aren’t hiffing students just because they don’t “make the grade”?

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  97. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Anodos, I’ll give that book a go then. I think it might already be on my list.

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  98. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Itstricky – your last paragraph is why the PPTA has taken completely the wrong approach. They have said their is no evidence of improvements through CS overseas – there plainly is some very good examples. They have scaremongered about other aspects – instead of engaging in reasoned debate. They have tried to give the impression that there are few, if any, current issues for children in our systems. You are right – it is very unfortunate that the model came through Mr Banks – but internationally it is not necessarily seen as a right wing option (in none of the US, e.g. Obama supports CS, England or Sweden).

    With MMP and the form of our democracy in all likelihood this Bill is going to pass – hopefully with very good accountability measures. The proper approach from anyone interested in children at that point it to make sure that the bar to entry is very high, that they do what is proposed (i.e. work with groups that are currently struggling), that children and their families who choose to go to those schools benefit, and that the other school types continue to improve. Why do opponents not consider NZ educators are capable of that?

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  99. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    They have said their is no evidence of improvements through CS overseas

    I’m sure there are. But there will also be evidence of opposite, and one could debate that ad infinitum.

    They have scaremongered about other aspects – instead of engaging in reasoned debate.

    Possibly that’s the easiest way to engage the public without going into the nitty gritty and losing them, so I’d say yes. But I have heard of no evidence that suggests to me that there will be traditionally qualified teachers, teaching publically approved cirriculums, overseen by the relevant Government departments to make sure we are all getting the right outcomes for all of society.

    And, as I’ve said about 5 times, even if all of the above existed – what defines “the right outcomes for all of society” is highly debatable when you open the floor to anyone to create their own charter and their own mess.

    If you’re going to spend all of this public money on creating new schools – why not just use it to sort out the existing mess – to teach specialist subjects, lower class sizes, open zones, increase resources, teacher quality etc etc?

    They have tried to give the impression that there are few, if any, current issues for children in our systems

    Really? Obviously you are closer to the coal face than I but I don’t think I’ve *ever* heard anyone in Education say “oh yeah, all a bed of roses here, no reason to change anything”

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  100. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    I am both informed and positive that there will be a good number of NZ teachers interested in teaching in Charter Schools.

    I expect so. No doubt a significant number of teachers would be very keen on teaching at a school that didn’t have to take every kid but could instead cherry-pick the ones with the most committed parents. I certainly would if I were them. Whether that’s the best way of doing things in terms of what’s good for the country is another matter.

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  101. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Itstricky – The PPTA/NZEI have used the phrase “world class” like a mantra. Strong inference that very little needs to change. Even Hipkins – the original subject of this post – said it in this article: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/8070279/NZ-education-under-performing-Parata

    Under the proposal it is clearly stated that the aim of the schools is to improve the outcomes for groups underperforming by the current measurements (i.e. those we have accepted for our society such as NCEA). I have seen nothing to suggest that the intention is “to open up the floor to anyone”. If anyone is given the opportunity the need to be able to show they have demonstrated the ability to do so and are working with the targeted children/families. The Banjo Playing Goat Milkers Association might think they might like to have a school and put in a proposal – the Bill makes it clear they won’t get a school. It is another PPTA worry that is not based on the proposal.

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  102. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    From what I understand there are likely to be four initial charter schools, probably at least one located in South Auckland and I would bet on a another in West Auckland. The competition to get the right to run those school will be fierce and thus, hopefully, we won’t end up with Destiny or some similar nuts in charge of one. A second hope I have is that the most odious pieces of this legislation, the parts exempting them from the OIA and Ombudsman, will be gutted by the select committee and perhaps even the part about allowing unregistered teachers. That would take care of a lot of my concerns.

    However there is still the basic issue of whether creating these institutions actually serves the public good. It’s not that I’m worried having the top students plucked out of my class will hurt my exam results. I’m afraid that commentators will use those results to declare current public schooling a failure, acting as though the charters and the publics have totally equal resources and student selection criteria when that isn’t true. We won’t be competing on a level playing field. They’ll have much more ability to exclude students who don’t shape up while publics find it very difficult to expel even students who miss weeks of school. They may have smaller class sizes and more funding. But the media will ignore that, just as they often do in the US. They’ll focus only on the exam results and say charters are better.

    So will that possibly help the small minority of students able to enter charters? Yes, they may well do better there. But will it help the supposed 20% tail that they are supposedly targeted for? No, I very much doubt they will. In fact my biggest problems with charters is that they are likely to increase inequality by creating dual public systems. One with better funding and the ability to select dedicated students with committed families and one forced to take all the rest and deal with them with decreasing funding that will ensure class sizes stay bigger.

    You say that it is unfair of me to say these students who could succeed better in a charter school have to be held down in the public school, not reaching their potential. But I’m saying that creating a solution for a small minority of the students while ignoring the vast majority of them is no solution at all. We should be finding what best helps students and doing it across the whole system. We should be shrinking class sizes everywhere, not cherry-picking out the best students and just helping them. Charter schools are an answer to a problem with a centralised, rigid, test-oriented and closed zone education system in the US. They are not an answer to our problems. They are nothing more than a distraction that will drain resources from potential system-wide solutions.

    Back in 1954 the US Supreme Court struck down school segregation there not because it was just racist, but because they said the evidence showed that separate always meant unequal. Create two public systems and one will get better funding and treatment. That’s why groups including the NAACP sued the New York City school system a few years ago, because charter schools there were getting preferred treatment in the assignment of resources, to the detriment of public schools.

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  103. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Our state schools are clearly creating solid/good results for a significant percentage of children (i.e. those not targeted by the proposal). They have had a long time to get it right for the rest. Introducing Charter Schools for those not performing under the current system does not even come close to infer “ignoring the vast majority”.

    I know you are from the USA but no one in NZ is pretending that we are like that. The Swedish example is a little closer (have you read their latest data?) and NZers are good enough to develop their own models.

    I don’t understand your points at times – on the one hand you are saying that you have met no teachers that are interested in Charter Schools – now you are saying “competition will be fierce”.

    And you seem obsessed with it being a contest (“competing on a level playing field”). Education is not a zero sum game and there is no reason why CS and State schools cannot cooperate in any given community.

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  104. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    It is a contest because there is a single pot of school funds and these will be fresh schools being built in an already populated area and thus draining students and funding from the local schools.

    Competition will be fierce between the religious and private groups who want to start a charter school, not between teachers wanting to work at them. I have no doubt they will find teachers willing to work there in the given economic climate and the oversupply of teachers from training colleges, but I don’t think many will have charters as their first choice for employment.

    I’m not saying anyone is claiming the NZ system is like the US one. That’s just my point. They’re using a solution primarily from the US that doesn’t suit NZ and even if they do create a successful school it will be because of funding and student selection advantages. It also only succeeds for the small minority of students going there and thus creates more inequality. I wouldn’t really expect those on the far-right to be that concerned about it, but the supposed purpose of these schools is to decrease inequality.

    I think the most efficient way to improve the long-tail would be targeted funding increases to ECE, CYFs and social services targeted to at-risk families with young children. By the time they get to high schools, even to primary school, the greatest damage has already been done. Children showing up to primary school two years behind their peers already is a huge issue. I would even be willing to suffer continued large class sizes in high school to direct funding to earlier ages when the biggest difference can be made.

    At the high school level I think the best thing to be done is to improve the delivery of social services at them, link with CYFs and Truancy better, improve special education, increase teacher aides and stop mainstreaming students with serious disabilities.

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  105. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    If the Charter Schools correctly target those students not currently succeeding and those children (even if a small minority at first) do better – by definition that is creating more outcome equality. The robust state system will be able to keep doing its stuff. Change for a small group is worthwhile (after all that is what your classroom and good individual teaching is about).

    Keeping in mind that NZ is already the OECD’s largest per capita spender on education the other things you propose are acknowledged as having merit. The solutions do not have to be mutually exclusive.

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  106. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Even Hipkins – the original subject of this post – said it in this article:

    The quote from the article is:

    New Zealand’s world-class education system had drifted backwards, he said.

    So, despite the “mantra” he is acknowledging that there is a problem.

    Just like most of the teachers I have spoken to.

    And it didn’t take long to find Hekia Parata also spurting the “mantra” so I think this is all kind of moot.

    Under the proposal it is clearly stated that the aim of the schools is to improve the outcomes for groups underperforming by the current measurements

    I am confused as to what the approach will be here. Some say “targetting under-achievers” some say “open to everyone giving choice” so when it comes to the crunch who will be enrolled, and who won’t?

    The Banjo Playing Goat Milkers Association might think they might like to have a school

    :) Sure, extereme example but unqualified/unregistered teachers under Wynton’s charter – why?

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  107. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Yep – both Hipkins and Parata see the problem. But even today…..PPTA…”world class” http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/news/bill-on-charter-schools-challenged/1758140/#comments And that guy is from a state school that is known to have non-qualified teachers working there with Limited Authorities. Not being hypocritical is a good start.

    The current proposal is to target underachievers and people applying to set up Charter Schools will have to show that they are both aiming at those groups and capable of delivering.

    My understanding of Rufer’s proposal was to set up where kids can’t afford what his group normally provide (i.e. in keeping with the proposal), partner with educators for that “schooling” aspect (and I would have thought they will be qualified and registered) and provide the football aspect on 3 – 5 of the afternoons each week. Like anyone – he will have to take anyone who applies and ballot any overflow.

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  108. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    partner with educators for that “schooling” aspect (and I would have thought they will be qualified and registered) and provide the football aspect on 3 – 5 of the afternoons each week.

    So why couldn’t something like this be contemplated, in a state school, with appropriate funding – instead of spending money on creating a whole new education sub-system, a new school, new policies etc?

    Surely it is easier to take these ideas and run with them within the current system?

    And maybe (going back to the original post here) both the Greens & Chris Hipkins, therefore, have a point. And when Hipkins says that Labour will dismantle the schools he’s not said that they won’t take any solid ideas back, just that having a physical presence costs a sum of money that just isn’t worth it.

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  109. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Because – if you get to speak to the opposition MPs on their own and away from their press releases they acknowledge that the inertia in the current system and the union opposition to anything that looks like change and innovation is a massive barrier to improvement.

    To the government Charter Schools will be fiscally neutral (or better) – it is not a money issue.

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  110. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    they acknowledge that the inertia in the current system and the union opposition to anything that looks like change and innovation is a massive barrier to improvement.

    Sorry, don’t agree and I don’t believe that for a second. I think that’s where you, as I have on some aspects, may have listened to the rhetoric.

    (a) Why would the unions have any position on introducing new teaching techniques, lowering class sizes, increasing teacher quality? You’ve noted this above and R&L has provided a counter point above which I would have to agree with (although, again I have no experience in this area)

    – Different teaching techniques for underperforming kids (God forbid!);
    – Decreasing class sizes (can you here the screams of discontent? Teachers getting less kids in a class with better outcomes – OMG it’s the end of the world!)

    http://www.ppta.org.nz/index.php/-issues-in-education/class-size

    – Teacher quality and training in specialist areas (oh no, that could never happen)

    (took me two seconds to find a page on the PPTA web site prompting assistance with post-grad degrees, extra mural study etc)

    (b) Even if, for some reason, the unions did care about better conditions for underprivledged kids or teachers, In creating/copying the charter school concept the proponents of this have actually opened themselves up to more abuse from opposing groups – it’s much easier for anyone to attack an actual entity like this rather than a concept.

    To the government Charter Schools will be fiscally neutral (or better) – it is not a money issue.

    Because private entities are running them? But there’s still public funds involved that could have otherwise gone into the current system, right? I don’t see how it could be fiscally neutral – again sounds like a magically fairy world just too good to be true…

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  111. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    In this case it is not listening to the rhetoric – it is having spoken to each opposition spokesperson one to one.

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  112. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    In that case, pray do elaborate… why would the unions oppose, for example, lower class sizes for those who are not achieving? (which you’ve indicated above is a benefit of charter schools)…

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  113. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    They acknowledge that the no.1 problem with bringing about innovating solutions for a whole range of “groups” under the current structures are inertia and barriers to entry. This isn’t just about the unions or passionate unionised teachers) many of who – like R&L are clearly good classroom teachers. It also about the sheer size of the bureaucracy that overseas education, it is about the size of many schools, it is about the processes (e.g. setting up a private, integrated or special interest school) that are prohibitive. It is about that it is a massive “system” that for a long period of time has done a adequate/good/great job for most but some children continue to systematically miss out. Throwing more money at the current structures is not working – and lots more has been thrown there over the last 12 years.

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  114. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Sure, I can see that would be a challenge.

    But that’s not what you said originally, which was plainly union oriented but now you’ve been challenged on that you saying it’s not about the unions? ;)

    Has there been twelve years worth of money thrown at improving the lot of the “long-tail”? Because that is what is in question here, right? The mantra of “world class” certainly was true at a point in the past but it’s only just been recognised that there are some at the low end badly missing out (i.e. more than they should) – this is a new problem.

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  115. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    By the way – the conversations normally go – “I can’t have my name to this….” or “It wouldn’t be politically expedient for “us” if my view was known”….. Which I understand – to a point.

    An example – intermediate schooling – it is very difficult to find a single piece of research that says 6 years (primary), 2 years (intermediate), 5 years (secondary) is a great way to structure education and organise children for academic, social, cultural and sporting development. I am yet to hear many parents say that intermediate school revolutionised their children’s lives – but plenty say they slid or seemed to lose their love of learning, or started getting in the crap. That is not about the teachers (although getting subject specialists at that level is tough). If it was decided that the basic yearly organisational structure should change – it would be more that trying to turn the Titanic.

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  116. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    The long tail is not a new problem. 20 years ago the conversation was very much the same – how to make changes for Maori and lower SES children who were an over-represented part of the failing group. There has been some slow improvement – largely because the NCEA bell curve is way further up that the School. C ones were.

    The unions are part of the inertia – especially when their public persona seems to be “oppose everything” and the give the impression of being strongly against a democratically elected government. The NZEI/PPTA could easily see a way to positive support well introduced Charter Schools.

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  117. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Absoultely agreed. But that’s not what the charter school proposals, changes and supposed benefits are. Here we are talking about a set of changes that could more easily be integrated into the current system.

    I mean, in the example you give above, Wynton is supplementing traditional schooling with his charter. Sure, there are issues implementing that in the state system but some of the supposed benefits of charters schools are hardly restructuring the entire system, are they?

    Back to the smaller class sizes example, that you’ve given above.

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  118. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    A smaller school, with fewer overheads, good use of modern technology could conceivably organise with 15 students in a class. Let me know how Auckland Grammar could do that.

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  119. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    The long tail is not a new problem. 20 years ago the conversation was very much the same

    Interesting.

    The unions are part of the inertia – especially when their public persona seems to be “oppose everything” and the give the impression of being strongly against a democratically elected government. The NZEI/PPTA could easily see a way to positive support well introduced Charter Schools.

    I think they have good grounds to oppose charter schools when the talk is of “alternative” teachers and other things that could threaten the existence of the organisations. I can’t think of the good grounds to oppose changes to the current system, and I haven’t heard them opposing such things. The “oppose everything” thing seems to be a perspective, and also another “mantra” of those who are against the unions, in the first place, no matter whether or not they support changes to the current system. I don’t see them opposing everything but then you obviously deal with them regularly.

    Let me know how Auckland Grammar could do that.

    Because Auckland Grammar is part of the “long-tail” right? Errr, no. And most large scale Auckland schools wouldn’t be, either. Remember what is at debate here. Low decline, country schools – much easy to effect changes to the current system. The right place to do it, and funds would go a long way, especially with, as you rightly pointed out, correct use of technology.

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  120. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    I guess I should also add, if we’re targetting particular sub-sets of pupils (as proposed by charter schools) you don’t have to build 100 new classrooms at Auckland Grammar to get all class sizes down.

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  121. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    I only chose AGS as an example – and probably the least offensive one because their results are good – if you write down the name of 10 large Auckland Schools – go on the NZQA website and research their results over the last 5 years – you will see that the tail is very much alive and well in the big city – large schools.

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  122. itstricky (1,831 comments) says:

    Fair enough. Clearly I do not work for MOE, ERO, or any of these other organisations I don’t know all the facts and figures. But it seems to me to be a large waste of funds (also think of the wages of all those involved to’ing and fro’ing) to set up entirely new schools for things that could otherwise be dealt with by the current system, esp. if the current system works for the majority already, and you’re like to segment groups by going so.

    I am also unconvienced on my original point, being, who defines what is “public good”? I have no problem at present with Wynton but many others might and I sure it will be a contentious point which ever way these sorts of challenges are overcome.

    It’s time for me to leave this thread and get out and enjoy the sunshine.

    Thanks Gentlemen/ladies it has been refreshing to have a couple of people who obviously know the system to discuss this with. Far better than the usual KB fare:

    You’re a commie!
    You’re a global warming fanatic!
    You’re a Stalinist!
    You’re a Bain lover!

    etc etc etc

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