Good to know

April 18th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

blogs at Red Alert:

I’ve made Labour’s position on the future of very clear – there isn’t one. We will not guarantee on-going funding to any charter school established under the present government, nor will we necessarily offer them integration into the public system. The legislation allowing for their establishment will be repealed.

I’m glad Labour is so clear in stating that regardless of how well charter schools perform, how many under-achieving students they assist, how popular they become, that Labour will close them down regardless.  Parents need to know that Labour will not let any amount of success, stand in the way of appeasing the unions.

Recall these facts on charter schools in New Orleans:

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

One can see how desperate Labour is to stop charter schools at all costs. Imagine what it could do to union membership, if charter schools in New Zealand did as well as they have done in New Orleans!

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38 Responses to “Good to know”

  1. virtualmark (1,474 comments) says:

    Yes, but all the statistics you like out of New Orleans won’t resonate with voters as much as actual “school on the ground” experience here in New Zealand.

    So best the Nats and ACT get the legislation passed and some charter schools in place well before the next election. But given the pace they work at (glacial …) I expect that if Labour/Greens win the next election there won’t have been time for anyone to demonstrate charter school success in NZ before the new Government repeals the legislation.

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  2. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    National doesn’t have a great track record at actually defending their policy over the long term.

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  3. queenstfarmer (746 comments) says:

    Labour has always put ideology before kids. It was the same with bulk funding for schools. Schools had the choice whether to utilise bulk funding. My school used it to expand computer studies and special needs teaching, with great results.

    Then Labour came along and removed the option. Not because it wasn’t working (it was), not because the Board of Trustees didn’t want it (they did), but because Labour was ideologically opposed to it.

    Who lost out? The kids.

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  4. labrator (1,746 comments) says:

    New Zealand is in desperate need of an Opposition Party, not an Oppose-everything party.

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  5. tvb (4,202 comments) says:

    The union paymasters have ordered the Labour Party to stop these schools. In the meantime the Labour Party will create as much political uncertainty as they can for the providers. They have never explained why they don’t like them except the Union does not like them.

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  6. Kimble (4,379 comments) says:

    Its time to stop quoting overseas stats in every charter school post. Its an unnecessary distraction.

    The Key Point© here is that there is no measure of success that will get Labour to keep funding charter schools.

    Quality doesn’t matter to them.
    Evidence doesn’t matter to them.
    Real outcomes for children don’t matter to them.

    They’ve been open about their true position on this issue. They have effectively said, we will close charter schools because that is our ideology. On how many other issues are they equally intransigent, unthinking, and uncaring?

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  7. anonymouse (695 comments) says:

    We will not guarantee on-going funding to any charter school established under the present government, nor will we necessarily offer them integration into the public system. The legislation allowing for their establishment will be repealed.

    I can see that policy going down really well with the Maori Party…….

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  8. phil.stevens (5 comments) says:

    US charter schools are often selective about admissions. If they get to cherry-pick their students, then we can safely disregard any statistical “miracle” of educational performance.

    Amazed at how many market libertarians worship at the altar of private education while at the same time thrusting their hypocritical snouts in the tax trough. If charter schools are so bloody brilliant then they can succeed on their own merits. That means no public funding, and triply so if they aren’t accountable for that funding.

    [DPF: Try some facts. Charter Schools have to do ballots if more people apply than places. No cherry picking at all.

    I believe funding should follow the pupil. If a parent thinks their child will do better at a charter school, then they should have that opportunity.

    Interesting not once did you talk about what is good for the student. That is all that matters to me]

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  9. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    @phil.stevens, I presume you therefore support education vouchers so that all schools will succeed only on their own merits? If so you will be in the company of most libertarians.

    Or do you insist that everyone outside the state system pay twice for their children’s education, thus trapping so many into the system they cannot afford to escape?

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  10. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    @phil.stevens “The Harvard Business School found 19 of the 20 highest performing non-selective schools were charter schools” So that shoots down your first comment! Reading comprehension is one of the skills that is CLEARLY lacking in New Zealand :-)

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  11. Alan Wilkinson (1,816 comments) says:

    I see Dunne will oppose charter schools following on from his triumphs in taxing employee car parks and phones.

    Is his constituency as stupid as he is?

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  12. Jim (398 comments) says:

    “Reading comprehension is one of the skills that is CLEARLY lacking in New Zealand”

    QFT!

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  13. Pete George (22,805 comments) says:

    Dunne says no to charter schools

    Revenue Minister Peter Dunne says he will vote against legislation establishing charter schools.

    However, the Government still looks to have the numbers, with the Maori Party giving support at the Bill’s second reading.

    The education and science select committee reported back to Parliament last week on the Education Amendment Bill and it is due to have its second reading in Parliament later this month.

    Associate Education Minister and ACT party leader John Banks wants the first schools up and running next year.

    Dunne says he’s not convinced by the charter schools model and he is particularly concerned at proposals which will allow charter schools to employ teachers who are not registered or nationally certified.

    The United Future leader is also worried the schools will not be compelled to follow the National curriculum.

    “The current system already provides for a significant range of schooling opportunities, and I cannot see there is a need to introduce the partnership schools approach to achieve the level of flexibility the proponents of partnership schools are seeking,” he said.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/8566770/Dunne-says-no-to-charter-schools

    Dunne has close contacts in education, and will have discussed this within the party. I haven’t had anything to do with this decision, this is the first I have heard of it.

    I’ve only thought about Charter Schools superficially, but I’m not yet convinced they shouldn’t be allowed to be tried in some circumstances.

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  14. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    When government ministrs start sending their own kids to these guinea pig schools I’ll be convinced.

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  15. dime (9,424 comments) says:

    Just shows what a cock Dunne is.

    labour are nothing but a bunch of stupid ideologues. is there anything worse?

    that goes for both sides too

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  16. dime (9,424 comments) says:

    “When government ministrs start sending their own kids to these guinea pig schools I’ll be convinced.”

    thats a lie.

    I bet if turia or sharples grandkids go to one youll still be opposed.

    greedy teachers are just disgraceful human beings.

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  17. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    Well, we have the answer don’t we?

    Rename them to state schools, declare “School Equality” and call anyone who opposes a bigot standing against the march of history.

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  18. Pete George (22,805 comments) says:

    And Chris Hipkins demonstrates why Labour have trouble building relationships with other parties:

    Reason trumps charter schools rhetoric

    Chris HIPKINS
    Education Spokesperson
    18 April 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

    If perennial fence-sitter Peter Dunne has pulled support for charter schools there can be no argument that this is bad policy, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

    “Mr Dunne’s announcement this morning that he will vote against legislation to establish Charter Schools is welcome. I am urging the Maori Party to re-think their position too.

    “Peter Dunne is quite right when he argues we don’t need charter schools, that we already have a range of schooling options within existing legislation, and that the risks associated with charter schools are too great.

    “New Zealand already has a world leading curriculum. Labour has always said that the risks of introducing charter schools far outweigh any perceived benefits. It is great to see Mr Dunne has come round to our way of thinking.”

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1304/S00350/reason-trumps-charter-schools-rhetoric.htm

    That sort of pissiness and arrogance will really do well building political bridges, policy support and coalitions, not.

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  19. Viking2 (11,128 comments) says:

    so the prostitute Dunne is bowing to the NZEI for future funding.
    Arsewipe.

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  20. dime (9,424 comments) says:

    lmao @ PG.

    its funny how you think United is a Party. hes an independent MP.

    I guess you thought anderton had a arty at the end as well? lol

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  21. Pete George (22,805 comments) says:

    V2 – how the hell would he get NZEI funding?

    The UF position doesn’t look likke being the deciding factor anyway, it looks like the Maori Party will swing the bill for Act and National.

    Dime – I’m pretty sure I know more about how UF works than you do, and I know that Dunne considers existing party policy and consults others in the party on policy position decisions.

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  22. simian (29 comments) says:

    You keep saying that the only reason labour want to stop charter schools is that it would reduce union numbers, but if labour were in government couldn’t they just allow teachers at charter schools to be members of a union? (not trying to attack I just wanted to know

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  23. dime (9,424 comments) says:

    “Dime – I’m pretty sure I know more about how UF works than you do”

    im sure you do. you probably also know what dunnes dick tastes like.

    its not a real party. its a joke.

    the only reason dunne keeps the facade going is so at election time he can speak as though hes the leader of a big party who can make big changes.

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  24. Rightandleft (636 comments) says:

    I’m very happy to see Dunne will be voting against charter schools. I was impressed with the United Future education policy at the last election. I would have voted for UF if it hadn’t been a clear waste of a vote.

    DPF, the use of a ballot or any lottery system does not guarantee charter schools don’t cherrypick their students. The fact that parents must enter the lottery means the students with the least committed parents are already weeded out. KIPP schools and others have then been found to use selective retention policies which encourage the more difficult students to withdraw from the school. If they have more freedom to punish or exclude difficult students than normal state schools it isn’t a fair comparison. There’s also the likelihood they will have a funding advantage and smaller class sizes than state schools. That isn’t a level playing field.

    Furthermore, all your statistics show comparisons between the abyssmal US public system and charters. The NZ system already consistently outperforms the US system now. It also already has many of the elements of charters that succeed in the US. We already have school choice and special character schools. We already have community control over education and a broad and flexible curriculum.

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  25. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    New Orleans has got some of the worst schools in America. It’s in Louisianna which ranks 49th of 51 states/districts on eighth grade reading scores and 47th of 51 states/districts on eighth grade math scores. Most of the schools in New Orleans are rated as failing. Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisianna, who put all the charter/vouchers/zero-accountability in place is at 30% satisifaction in the polls.

    Look at another state – Ohio.
    Charters don’t deserve state windfall
    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2013/04/06/charters-dont-deserve-state-windfall.html

    While 77 percent of Ohio’s public schools were successful last year (rated Excellent with Distinction, Achieving or Effective), only 23 percent of Ohio’s charters were successful (rated Effective or Achieving), … 77 percent of Ohio’s charter schools are receiving D’s and F’s. And the bottom 111 performing schools last year? All were charter schools.

    Charter schools also are permitted to close their doors and shut down operations when cited for multiple violations, only to re-open the next day under a different sponsor, in a different building under a different name and continue to receive our tax dollars.

    As charters close, oftentimes at mid-year, hundreds of children are shuffled back to their public schools without adequate records and a significant loss of instructional time.

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  26. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    The fact that parents must enter the lottery means the students with the least committed parents are already weeded out.

    Yes, how dare we give motivated kids the tools they need to succeed.

    When will people stop making these absolutely sick arguments which basically say we should hold back kids, lest they do better? It’s obscene. The state school system exists to facilitate education, not as an end in itself.

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  27. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    The NZ system already consistently outperforms the US system now. It also already has many of the elements of charters that succeed in the US.

    Funny how you guys argue both sides of the coin, seeing as how this law won’t change much but will also allow so much change!!!

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  28. Kimble (4,379 comments) says:

    The fact that parents must enter the lottery means the students with the least committed parents are already weeded out.

    Huh? That’s self selection, not cherry-picking.

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  29. labrator (1,746 comments) says:

    That means no public funding, and triply so if they aren’t accountable for that funding.

    So you support education vouchers too? Fantastic.

    It’s amazing how when people discuss private vs public they think that the money for public schools comes from the Government, not from tax paid to the Government. The only fair system is education vouchers: here’s $10k a year for each of your children that you can only spend at an educational facility, you choose which one, after all, it’s your child.

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  30. Rightandleft (636 comments) says:

    The cherry-picking is something done by some but not all charter schools. The ones that use lotteries are not themselves cherrypicking, but the use of selective retention policies can have the same overall effect for them.

    Scrubone,

    I am not arguing both sides of the coin. I like that we have adopted some charter policies like school choice and local control. I think those elements should be introduced to the US public system as well. I am objecting to the co-called partnership schools because they have less accountability for how they use tax dollars, they may use a less flexible, less proven curriculum and they will drain funding from local state schools, harming the students still attending them.

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  31. scrubone (3,048 comments) says:

    Rightandleft I was referring more specifically to those who use this debate as an opportunity to bash christian schools.

    But right after saying you’re not, you then immediately proceed to do so.
    they may use a less flexible, less proven curriculum
    Less proven than what? The state curriculum? Private school curriculum? Home school?

    and they will drain funding from local state schools, harming the students still attending them.

    Schools have students leave for all sorts of reasons. Students leaving because they are moving away will no more “harm” the school than leaving for any other reason.

    And of course, I repeat my above point:
    The state school system exists to facilitate education, not as an end in itself. If a charter school results in a state school being completely closed, so what? So long as the education being received is improving, society is better off.

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  32. Rightandleft (636 comments) says:

    State schools have zones, charter schools do not. If a state school closes that does not mean the charter has to take all the students left behind. As state schools grow smaller certain bills remain the same, utilitites and such. At a certain point this begins to result in less funding being spent per pupil. This leads to a drop in quality, which makes more parents pull kids out, which makes the problem worse and so on.

    I didn’t say anything about religious schools. We already have religious state integrated schools now. I said the curriculum could be inferior, compared to the NZ Curriculum. I don’t know what curricula private schools follow. It would concern me if taxpayer money was used to fund the teaching of say Destiny Church doctrine, but I should hope the body giving charter schools contracts wouldn’t hand one to a group like that.

    My biggest concerns are over the lack of accountability for tax money, the replacement of parent boards of trustees with less acountable private entities and the use of unregistered teachers.

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  33. Steve (North Shore) (4,499 comments) says:

    Good boy Chris.
    Red Alert need more posts, like more than one every two days/daze

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  34. Kimble (4,379 comments) says:

    The ones that use lotteries are not themselves cherrypicking, but the use of selective retention policies can have the same overall effect for them.

    Are you kidding me?

    By “selective retention policies” you obviously mean minimum standards of work required for re-enrollment. So again, self selection.

    You are taking one of the mechanisms by which the system works and claiming that it is proof that the system doesn’t actually work.

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  35. Rightandleft (636 comments) says:

    No I don’t mean minimum work, but even if that were the case it still would not be fair to state schools. If any state school could easily exclude every student not doing their work, coming late or being regularly truant they could easily improve all their stats. You cannot compare a charter school that is allowed to exclude such students to a state school required to take everyone in their zone no matter how seldom they actually attend school and then declare the charter is superior and must have better teaching methods or that this proves privatised, de-unionised education is the silver bullet. You won’t be comparing apples to apples. The mandate of a state school is not to teach only those who want to learn, those who have supportive families and motivation. It is to teach everyone, to do their best to counter the negative influences like poverty.

    Selective retention policies by the way, are ones that go beyond requiring students to do their work. They are policies aimed at annoying disengaged parents to the point that they pull their kids out of the school. A key example of this is fining students for misbehaviour. These are kids coming from some of the poorest communities but the schools use fines to put pressure on kids and parents to either shape up or get out. Small infractions can earn $5 fines and those can add up pretty quickly. I’m all for personal responsibility but the effect of these policies is usually to drive the kid out of the school, something the local state school cannot do and thus when the exam results come out, it looks inferior. The only way a fair comparison can be made is if they play by the same rule book.

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  36. labrator (1,746 comments) says:

    The only way a fair comparison can be made is if they play by the same rule book.

    So aiming for the lowest common denominator then. State schools aren’t forced to take anyone, you can get expelled from school and then you get thrown from school to school until you end up at the “special” schools where there’s no uniforms, no exams and no standards until you’re old enough to collect the dole. So all you’re arguing for against charter schools is a lowering of the bar. Much like NCEA where everyone gets to “achieve”. If you’re so frustrated by how these terrible kids are holding back state schools why don’t you do something about it? Kind of like what Māori want to do with charter schools which you want to prevent them from doing.

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  37. Rightandleft (636 comments) says:

    First of all NCEA doesn’t let everyone Achieve in the way that little kids get participation medals just for showing up. Kids have to earn those grades and if everyone did Achieve we wouldn’t be talking about the long-tail of students failing. NCEA is not a perfect system but it’s not the PC cop-out that many uninformed commentators make it out to be either.

    State schools are forced to accept all the children in their zone. If those students seriously misbehave they can be suspended and excluded but that takes a lot to happen. Simply being truant from school or failing to turn in work are not grounds to exclude a student in a state school. Making it easier to exclude students would be great for the schools but terrible for the communities. Where would those kids go? We aren’t going to suddenly increase the much more expensive places in alternative schools so that means kids will just be on the streets causing trouble. At least if they’re in school they have a chance to earn some credits and gain some skills.

    The charters can’t be compared to state schools unless they play by the same rules on student selection and exclusions. That’s not to say charters can’t have higher standards, the KIPP schools do. But it isn’t fair to compare them to state schools and claim their success if due to anything other than their ability to manipulate their student body and have smaller class sizes thanks to better funding.

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  38. Kimble (4,379 comments) says:

    No I don’t mean minimum work, but even if that were the case it still would not be fair to state schools.

    And that might be relevant if there was any talk about eliminating state schools.

    Charter schools only have to be at least as good as state schools. The only people demanding that they be vastly better are people who object to charter schools for other reasons; ideology mostly but also political spite and fear their power would be eroded.

    Charter schools don’t get to cherry pick their students. If good parents want their kids to go to a Charter School, then where is the sense in ignoring the reasons why THEY think charter schools are better, and where is the justice in denying their children access to those better opportunities?

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