NZEI misrepresents report

July 8th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

3 News reported:

A US study, which a New Zealand teachers’ union has used to back up its claims that are failing, says they are actually helping struggling students.

A study by Stanford University’s Centre for Research on Educational Outcomes was referenced by the in its argument against charter schools being introduced in New Zealand.

A statement from the union says the 2013 study, which looked at charter schools in 26 states, found that the taxpayer-funded privately run schools do not justify their existence.

“It backs what educationalists in New Zealand have been saying all along – that charter schools are not the answer to improving educational outcomes for children,” said national president Judith Nowotarski.

But 3 News spoke to Stanford University:

It found charter school students had greater learning gains in reading than their peers in traditional public schools while there were equivalent learning gains in mathematics.

“The results reveal that the charter school sector is getting better on average and that charter schools are benefiting low-income, disadvantaged, and special education students,” said Dr Margaret Raymond, director of the centre.

According to the research, students in poverty, black students and those learning English gain most in both reading and maths compared to their traditional public school peers.

This is what Labour and Greens are fighting tooth and nail against!

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24 Responses to “NZEI misrepresents report”

  1. queenstfarmer (770 comments) says:

    Good on TV3 for actually fact-checking the union’s statement and finding it to be BS.

    NZ Herald and Stuff take note.

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  2. Ross12 (1,383 comments) says:

    TV 3 actually remembering what good journalism is about. Maybe the financial issues are forcing them to focus their minds.
    If true that is geat and I’ll look forward to more of it.

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  3. Auberon (873 comments) says:

    But David, good teachers might be recognised and rewarded as good teachers, and teachers who don’t teach so well might be identified and paid less – or fired if they don’t improve. You must understand David, this is the thin of wedge, and it’s all about the children.

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  4. JeffW (325 comments) says:

    It is far better to have a failing education system than to threaten the power of the teachers’ unions.

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  5. davidp (3,576 comments) says:

    FaceBook has been suggesting a number of anti-charter school and anti-national standards groups to me over the past ten days or so. It isn’t suggesting these because of any friend association that I can see. Is it possible that the teacher unions are paying for these groups to be sponsored?

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  6. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    I just wish people would acknowledge that we are comparing apples and oranges here. Our public schools are more similar to US charter schools than to US public schools. Our schools already significantly outperform US public schools on about half the money per student spent by the US. We already have an entire system of highly performing charter schools.

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  7. Bill Courtney (161 comments) says:

    I repeat my original comment on this study, posted last week. The biased support from David Farrar and other charter school supporters miss the point about this particular study, which has been criticised by both sides of the “school choice” debate. See a mainstream media piece here by Stephanie Simon of Reuters:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/25/us-education-charters-idUSBRE95O04U20130625

    You will note the quote from Michael Petrilli, of the conservative think tank Thomas B Fordham Institute:
    “I’m not giving up yet on the idea that charters will outperform district schools in the long run…It’s a mixed bag” for now, though”
    Hardly stunning praise, I would have thought!

    The key point to understand with this, and many other charter v public schools studies, is the huge difficulty in trying to undertake meaningful analysis of different groups of students, who supposedly share the same “demographics”, i.e. black / Hispanic / low income etc. when you cannot control for other variables that really count, such as parental support and motivation.

    It also struggles to cope with what statisticians call “survivorship bias”. When a number of the original schools (in this case) or students (in the case of individual charter schools) drop out of the data during the course of the time period being analysed, the proportion of those who succeed or graduate (or whatever is being measured) should take account of the drop outs, or the numbers are skewed upwards unfairly, i.e. in favour of the survivors.

    What happened to the kids who were enrolled in the charter schools that failed and were closed down? They may have been struggling and receiving a poor education but this negative result does enter the final calculation.

    The same effect is often seen with individual charter schools. Here is a link to a piece by former Teach For America mentor, Gary Rubenstein, that debunks the “miracle” story of the Harlem Village Academy charter school, a darling of the media in New York, another David Farrar favoured city:

    http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2012/06/12/it-takes-a-village/

    The Washington Post has written previously about the high rate of expulsion of students from charter schools compared to traditional public schools.

    The KIPP chain has also been criticised in the past for what appear to be very high attrition rates, especially for African American male students.

    Throw out enough underperforming or poorly behaved students and your pass rates must go up. What does that prove?

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  8. PaulL (6,030 comments) says:

    @rightandleft: there seem to be three positions on the topic, each is mutually exclusive I think:
    1. Charter schools don’t work so no need for a trial
    2. Charter schools do work, but the NZ school system is already charter schools so no need for a trial
    3. Charter schools are different than what NZ has already, and there may be value in trialling it

    I think you’re in the second category. I think NZEI are in the first.

    Where I’m stuck is that if we’ve already got charter schools (option 2) then trialling them would mean just doing what we’re already doing. So there’d be nothing to object to. If there is objection to a charter school trial then logically they must be different than what we’re already doing.

    I’m pretty sure charter schools have been very successful in Scandanavia too – was it Sweden? Again, I think they’re different than the NZ situation. The reality is that every country is unique. Unless we trial it in NZ it’s always easy to say ‘but NZ is different.’ There seems to be a school of thought that believes we should block any trial in NZ that would give us real data and comparison points.

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  9. Shunda barunda (2,977 comments) says:

    I’ve only been to 2 board of trustees meetings and it’s already proving very interesting, this whole “equality of outcomes” ideology is so screwed up it beggars belief!

    It is simply not working, costs a fortune, and justifies the existence of vast numbers of state funded ideologues to preach the mantra.

    We are screwing up the next generations with this vast social experiment that seems to thrive on mediocrity, it’s just amazing that more people can’t seem to see through the charade.

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  10. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    There is a pertinent article in City Journal about it that came through in this morning’s feed.  I found this statement to be quite interesting:

    A study by economist Caroline Hoxby using a gold-standard random-assignment methodology found that students in the city’s charter schools made substantially better academic progress than they would have in a traditional public school. Margaret Raymond, the director of Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes, conducted a separate analysis and confirmed Hoxby’s study. (It’s notable that other research of Raymond’s found far more mixed results in other states’ charters.)

    which suggest that implentation is an important factor in the success or otherwise, while

    [u]sing data on individual students over time, I found that the more students a public school lost to charters, the better its remaining students performed—probably because the school now faced competition from charters for enrollment. Though that finding contradicts the narrative, propagated by the teachers’ unions, that charters threaten traditional public schools, it’s consistent with a wide body of research evaluating school-choice programs across the nation.

    More choice is always good, and as you can guarantee that these schools will be rigorously observed and measured, one must think that bringing in charter schools can only be a good thing.

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  11. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    Paul L,

    Here is the difference. Charter schools is a very broad category which has many different models. What they all have in common is that they have local control, freedom to interpret a curriculum for their local community, full public funding and the ability to have a special character. NZ schools are a form of charter schools already. What is now being proposed in partnership schools is a more extreme version of charters with less state supervision, fewer safeguards and more private control of education. I like the version of charters we have. I think Tomorrow’s Schools, while imperfect, work very well. I don’t like the rigid, choice eliminating, bureaucracy driven US public schools. But the new system being proposed here is too extreme. It brings far greater risks for no new benefits I can see.

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  12. holysheet (338 comments) says:

    We wouldn’t need this discussion if we bulk funded the schools and gave them the right to hire and fire the useless teachers hiding amongst the many good ones. Charter schools are the start to eventually get bulk funding and more local community say into the running of schools.

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  13. PaulL (6,030 comments) says:

    @Rightandleft: so your view is that because you personally don’t see benefits, others shouldn’t be allowed to have them? That’s my underlying problem here, this isn’t a suggestion that every kid or every teacher will be forced into a charter school, just that those who wish to should be allowed the choice.

    In short, any time there’s a decision between giving people choice and not giving people choice, coming down on the side of choice is a good first pass decision. Sure, there are exceptions, but you’d be in the right more often than not.

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  14. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Isn’t it great to see National fighting tooth and nail on behalf of its core constituents – impoverished Maori. LMAO

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  15. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    Paul L,

    I am in favour of choice. I like that our schools compete and I like that parents have many choices in what type of school their child can go to. I don’t like these new charter schools because I believe they will do exactly the opposite of what holysheet suggests, removing control from the local community and then competing against them but with an unfair advantage. These new charters will not have local boards elected from the community, they will be controlled by private entities with less accountability. Their ability to completely ignore the NZ Curriculum altogether makes me worry my tax dollars will be used to teach creationism or other pseudo-science in these schools if certain groups are given them.

    I have no problem with parents choosing to send their children to such private schools. I object to my tax dollars paying for it without more accountability.

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  16. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    you can guarantee that these schools will be rigorously observed and measured

    I’ll smoke whatever he’s smoking. :)

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  17. Redbaiter (8,314 comments) says:

    “Their ability to completely ignore the NZ Curriculum altogether makes me worry my tax dollars will be used to teach creationism or other pseudo-science in these schools if certain groups are given them.”

    You have no problems though if your tax dollars are used to teach socialism, communism, so called environmentalism and other anti-capitalist concepts. I guess that makes you just another commie hypocrite.

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  18. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    Shunda barunda

    You’ve been to 2 board of trustees meetings and say “this whole “equality of outcomes” ideology is so screwed up it beggars belief!”

    How did that issue come up at the meeting? How did you counter the notion? How does the school put into their charter that “equality of outcomes” means that they want all children to achieve at the same level and none to be superior to others? If it’s a school which follows the National Standards do they want all kids to reach the standards? If all kids reach the standards is that equality of outcomes?

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  19. nasska (11,147 comments) says:

    It is true that religious groups will use Charter Schools to ensure that the unfortunate children are fed their indoctrination on a 24/7 basis….I confidently predict that those of the loopier Christian sects & Muslim fanatics will be the first to appear.

    These poor kids will be denied anything resembling normal lives all because the intransigent, militant NZEI will not accept that people other than themselves have a valid opinion on how kids should be educated.

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  20. F E Smith (3,324 comments) says:

    you can guarantee that these schools will be rigorously observed and measured

    I’ll smoke whatever he’s smoking.

    Are you suggesting that the teachers unions will not be rigorously observing these schools?  Are you also suggesting that the ERO will not be undertaking inspections, or will be instructed not to criticise any failings? 

    Or are you just making things up?

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  21. wat dabney (3,758 comments) says:

    Labour’s rent-seeking operators – the teachers’ unions – are clearly happy to lie if it means they can continue to line their own pockets by throwing children under the bus.

    you can guarantee that these schools will be rigorously observed and measured

    One of the benefits of private schools is that, thanks to market discipline, they don’t have to be monitored and measured, because consumers – parents – finally have the chance to vote with their feet.

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  22. adze (2,088 comments) says:

    Teachers Union:

    1. criticises National Standards because it wasn’t trialled first
    2. criticises Charter schools trial because trials in education are like “treating children like guinea pigs”

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  23. dime (9,806 comments) says:

    “Isn’t it great to see National fighting tooth and nail on behalf of its core constituents – impoverished Maori. LMAO”

    why ya laughing? less stone agers on the bludge is good for national voters.

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  24. HB (303 comments) says:

    @wat dabney

    actually private schools do get ERO reviewed – they also received $ from taxpayers

    and what about Wanganui Collegiate?

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