Beyond hysterical

September 19th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Government has promised that the first in New Zealand will have publicly released performance targets, a high proportion of registered teachers and will not be able to stray too far from the national curriculum by teaching creationism.

Five organisations in Northland and Auckland successfully applied to run New Zealand’s first state-funded, privately run schools. The organisations had a range of backgrounds including military-based training, bilingual schooling and faith-based teaching, and all but one were established entities that had run educational courses or a school.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said the “partnership schools” would be expected to meet the same NCEA and National Standards targets as public schools, and the targets in their contracts would be made public.

All sounds good. And the quality of the applicants and what they wish to do to help struggling under-privileged (mainly) Maori and Pasifika students should be commented. Even Hone Harawira has noted:

“On the other hand, I know the people involved in the two Tai Tokerau projects and they are genuinely good people, dedicated to doing the best for Maori kids. The Leadership Academy already does a wonderful job and the Whangaruru project, although new, kicks off with the best of intentions. And the kids they’re going to help are going to be young Maori, so I wish them all the best.”

But the wants to treat these schools as some sort of evil regime akin to apartheid South Africa. They said:

The association plans to fight for the abolition of the charter school legislation and the paper will explore a number of options including instructing members to refrain from all professional, sporting and cultural contact with the schools and their sponsors and advising them not to apply for positions in them.

That is a response so far beyond hysterical, it defies belief.

They seem terrified that these charter schools might actually produce some great results, improving the lot of those who voluntarily choose to attend them next year.

Ms Parata said yesterday that in one of the schools – a Mangere primary school targeting Maori and Pacific students – all of the teachers would be registered. In the others, registered teachers would teach core subjects and non-registered teachers would take subjects such as carving, hospitality, and engineering.

Exactly the sort of flexibility you might expect, using an occasional expert in an area who is not a qualified teacher

Government has put aside $19 million for the first charter schools, and Ms Parata said the allocation for each school would be equivalent to similar schools in the same region.

Critics such as the New Zealand Educational Institute said that the funding was wasteful given the small rolls in the five schools – 369 students in total at first, rising to 800 within four years.

One of the new schools, the South Auckland Middle School, promised a teacher-student ratio of 1:15 – a better ratio than state schools.

University of Auckland Associate Professor of Education Peter O’Connor said parents in South Auckland might question why a state-funded public school had larger class sizes than a state-funded charter school in the same area.

Well if the funding is the same, then it is because the charter school has made a decision to spend more of its budget on teachers. I would have thought you’d applaud such a decision, not condemn it.

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53 Responses to “Beyond hysterical”

  1. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    Why would an individual or organisation set up a charter school? They are going to be turfed-out when the government changes.

    The same individual or organisation could set-up a special character school instead, thus securing long-term survival.

    Sometimes the wider-public forget that the extra-curricular activities teachers do are voluntary. If a teacher doesn’t want to coach a sports team playing against a charter school they don’t have to.

    A teachers job is to teach.

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  2. kowtow (8,184 comments) says:

    The PPTA are shit scared of being shown up.

    If they spent as much effort into actually educating their charges as they do into protecting their own interests there’d be no illiteracy in New Zealand.

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  3. Ed Snack (1,836 comments) says:

    Charter schools represent that most utterly dangerous thing for the PPTA, something that challenges the unions dogma and its domination of the education sector. If charter schools ever showed themselves in anyway to be able to assist in educating children that would undermine the PPTA, and that cannot be permitted.

    It is, with the PPTA, never, and I’ll repeat that, NEVER, about the children or the educational outcomes. In all circumstances and at all times the PPTA is concerned solely with the PPTA and its officials wealth, power, and well being. And if you are inclined to doubt that, can I interest you in this bridge I have for sale…

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  4. Ian McK (237 comments) says:

    “A teacher’s job is to teach” . . . not if they are unionised teachers as State sector currently employs. They are only interested in enforcing their socialist agendas into the minds of innocent young children. Thank God we are now getting a choice.

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  5. Bill Ted (92 comments) says:

    Nothing pisses me off more than the teachers’ unions. They are the biggest impediment to our global competitiveness hands down. They cheer for mediocrity and protect incompetence. Education is the greatest tool we have to provide opportunities for youth. The unions are responsible for destroying the potential of way too many kids. It’s unbelievable the influence they have.

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  6. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    Oh well, I guess if what you Kiwibloggers want is a UK model where teachers shy away from involvement in extra-curricular activities, that’s what you’ll get why National is prepared to sell this kind of policy for one ACT vote.

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  7. Ross12 (1,388 comments) says:

    Maybe the unions are scared the Govt. may look at the Academies Act 2010 in the UK.

    But I think kowtow has hit the nail on the head with ” The PPTA are shit scared of being shown up.”

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  8. Ross Miller (1,686 comments) says:

    Samuel Smith 12.14 said “A teachers job is to teach”. Just a pity some of them can’t and are protected by a Union that puts ideology ahead of kids for whom Charter Schools could be the answer.

    Never mind that the proof of the pudding may be in the eating. The move to Charter Schools must be opposed because they might be successful …. and then what????

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  9. redeye (628 comments) says:

    Given that it has already gone ahead, I would have thought the best time for the PPTA to mount a campaign against them was next election time when it can be shown that they are a failure. Oh wait…

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  10. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    This article is an excellent example of how to construct an argument for a debate.

    Start with a heading like “Beyond hysterical” then build up that picture. Use Hone Harawira, usually loathed on the site by all and sundry, as being on your side. Immediately after quoting his sensible, moderate comments (which anyone knowing the people he mentions would not argue against,) throw in some inflammatory language, “evil regime akin to apartheid South Africa” and try to associate nastiness to those whose views you’re attacking as being to linked to Harawira’s observations. .

    Using words like terrified and hysterical after yesterdays word, ‘petrified’ adds to building a sense of mayhem. Of course the great John Banks, Hekia Parata and Catherine Isaac word “flexibility” to justify the new schools has to be in there to condemn the inflexibility of regimented state schools.

    Ms Parata, being the leader of schools more bound by regulation and compliance than ever before and flexibility denied, by being seen as the fantastic friend of flexibility has a triumph she could hardly repeat.

    Past talking about the form though and on to reality. There is contempt for the PPTA. It is clear though that their lack of grasp of the real issues and ideology induced myopia, is equalled by the writer here. The title of the post “Beyond hysterical” is certainly apt.

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  11. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    To repeat what I said the other day: If the charter schools are really about helping the 1 in 5 who are supposedly failing in the current sytem, never mind that the 1 in 5 figure has been proved false by research, then there should be a mechanism ensuring it is those students who attend the charters. Students identified as failing in current state schools should be automatically enrolled in the nearest charter school unless their parents choose to opt out. That would eliminate the problem of self-selection filtering out the least motivated families automatically. Then the charters should have no more ability to expel or suspend students than any other state school. That way we can ensure they are helping the long tail students they are supposedly aimed at, and we can ensure that any improvements they show in results are due to their teaching methods and not simply weeding out the less capable students.

    Since they are not following this model currently there is no way to fairly compare them to any other state schools. Any improvements could be attributed to their weeding out tougher students or enrolling only those with more motivated and supportive parents to begin with. Washington DC charter schools for example, have an expulsion rate 28 times that of local public schools.

    DPF says that in one charter school they plan to spend more money on teachers, but a Michigan State study found on average charter schools spend $774 less per student on teachers and $1140 more per student on administration when compared to local public schools.

    PPTA is right to be worried about the spread of charter schools. While these first few have been specifically chosen as the least likely to offend and most likely to succeed, they open the floodgates for more charters of lesser quality to open in the future. In Philadelphia just last summer 10% of public schools were closed and replaced by charters, despite their shoddy track-record. Similar steps have taken place in the UK, so I don’t think the PPTA is being hysterical or unreasonable at all.

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  12. Nukuleka (300 comments) says:

    History is simply repeating itself. The education unions’ opposition to Charter Schools is reminiscent of their hysteria in the late 70s towards the establishment of integrated schools. These days integrated schools regularly feature among the top- performing schools irrespective of their decile rankings and have waiting lists as long as your arm. I anticipate that Charter Schools will be similarly successful.

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  13. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    I would also add that the school promising smaller classes, South Auckland Middle School, is not the one promising to hire only registered teachers. They may be boosting their teacher numbers by hiring unregistered, under-qualified people to teach the non-core classes at discount rates. I’m sure I could get three local guys to look at my car and guess at what’s wrong for less than I’d pay for a professional mechanic, but would the savings be worth it?

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  14. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    I am not surprised some integrated schools outperform their state counterparts. They are allowed to cherry-pick students through specialised enrollment schemes derived from their integration agreements. On top of this, the more motivated parents work hard to get their children into them.

    You will get success stories if you take 100 Christian Pakeha students out of West Auckland and stick them in a special character school in Mount Eden.

    The craziest political move in this melting pot is the schools that have been selected. I can’t see a military academy on the North Shore outperforming Rangitoto College, Westlake Boy’s and Long Bay College. I can’t see a new Kura in the North outperforming Whangarei Boys’ or Girls’. And I can’t see a new age church called ‘Rise Up’ doing much good – what are they going to teach them? How many goats Moses owned? As for the Villa Maria trust – I see they have opted for a Year 7 – 10 school to avoid both NCEA and National Standards.

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  15. alloytoo (526 comments) says:

    The “Three Local Guys” might included a retired Master Mechanic, or an automotive engineer, or even Motor sports mechanic……

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  16. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    Whale posted a radio interview the other day and yea, hysterical is exactly the word. The woman almost had a fit when the interviewer described the charter schools as “non-profit” – even though all the approved ones are.

    It was also really amusing for her to claim that the research showed conclusively that Charter Schools were bad, only to have several studies quoted which she’d “never heard of”.

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  17. dime (9,789 comments) says:

    “They are allowed to cherry-pick students through specialised enrollment schemes derived from their integration agreements. On top of this, the more motivated parents work hard to get their children into them.”

    oh thats terrible. putting all the smart kids who try in the one place! thats not fair. they should be put with the shit and dragged down a few levels.

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  18. Psycho Milt (2,405 comments) says:

    I know the people involved in the two Tai Tokerau projects and they are genuinely good people, dedicated to doing the best for Maori kids.

    No doubt they are. There’s no contradiction between recognising the government’s malign intent for its charter school legislation, and recognising that the people setting up charter schools might well be excellent teachers working from the highest motives. Would be nice if the PPTA could recognise the distinction.

    But the PPTA wants to treat these schools as some sort of evil regime akin to apartheid South Africa.

    Nice job demonstrating how not to offer “hysterical” responses.

    They seem terrified that these charter schools might actually produce some great results…

    Yep – no hysterical reactions going on here, no sir…

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  19. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    The horse has bolted. The vested interests have failed to stop the charter schools and their only recourse now is to sabotage them and shout abuse. Let them show their true character, it should ensure a National majority government.

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  20. Ross12 (1,388 comments) says:

    Samuel Smith

    I’m not interested in how these schools compare to those you have listed or any others.

    I’m more interested in how many individual students who may have been struggling in previous education areas improve when given an alternative.

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  21. Psycho Milt (2,405 comments) says:

    oh thats terrible. putting all the smart kids who try in the one place! thats not fair.

    Oh, it’s fair. It’s entirely reasonable. What would not be reasonable would be taking the fact that these cherry-picked achievers do better than the ordinary types left back in the public school and declaring it a demonstration of how charter schools are “better” than public schools.

    A more appropriate demonstration would be to let the public schools cherry-pick the achievers, foist all the dumbest, most disruptive kids onto the charter schools and then see if they really do “perform” better than public schools against National Standards…

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  22. dime (9,789 comments) says:

    psycho – the 5 charter schools announced hardly sound like they are catering for geniuses.

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  23. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    I actually think the PPTA and other have made some good points at times in this debate. Our state schools *are* flexible, and there is a risk the schools may actually do the pupils a disservice.

    However:
    1) They refuse to acknowledge that the state system doesn’t work for some kids
    2) They argue that to remove those kids would hurt other kids – that’s just offensive
    3) They talk about “undermining the state education system”. Er, what?!? Since when is state education an end in itself?
    4) They talk as though only registered teachers have knowledge that is worth imparting.
    5) They talk as though teaching 5 year olds is akin to rocket science, when in fact teaching is the one public profession where professionals are consistently shown up by non-professionals.

    And so on.

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  24. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    PM, perhaps a combination of charter and public schools can work better together. A charter school specifically for the “dumbest, most disruptive” might be set up and allow the public school to get on with teaching the rest. The charter school might even take a boot camp style approach. It should be funded at least as well as decile 1 and would probably benefit hugely by being able to select non-registered teachers, choose it’s own hours, and set it’s own curriculum.

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  25. Ian McK (237 comments) says:

    Sam Smith: Are you an affected teacher? How any sane person can attempt to defend the disgusting unionised rabble called PPTA, that not long ago was openly demonstrating in the streets, is beyond comprehension. By the way, does your union still harbour paedophiles under the guise of teachers?

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  26. RRM (9,782 comments) says:

    All these elaborate theories about how charter schools are malign and sneaky, and any success stories are probably dodgy behind the scenes.

    If anyone were apply the same cynical blowtorch to the state school scheme, what would it look/sound like?

    There is only one school for kids in your area. This one.

    You don’t get a say in who the teachers are, they are employees of the almighty government. (All hail the government.)

    You don’t get a say in what is taught, the curriculum is set by the almighty government. (All hail the government.)

    You don’t get any independent review of how good your kids’ school is, compared to the other schools. Just be happy with the standard of school your government has provided you with. (All hail the government.)

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  27. Alan Wilkinson (1,868 comments) says:

    “PPTA is right to be worried about the spread of charter schools.”

    No business worries about inferior competition. They only worry about superior competitors. That the PPTA is worried speaks volumes.

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  28. wreck1080 (3,857 comments) says:

    Jeez, if Hone is in support I may have to rethink my support just on the basis I detest everything about the man.

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  29. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    Ian McK – I’m not a registered teacher, check the on-line register if you want to.

    I am a deeply concerned member of the public.

    I don’t want my taxes going towards:

    1. An ACT experiment, especially when special character and integrated schools already exist in NZ.
    2. Profit making off public education and young people.
    3. Unregistered, unqualified and untrained teachers in front of classes.
    4. Children taught by evangelicals.
    5. Further cherry-picking of students.
    6. Politicians driving a sense of crisis when NZ’s education system is already a top-performing one.

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  30. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    “I don’t want my taxes going towards:”

    My list is bigger than yours and it’s all shit Greens and Labour would do.

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  31. Alan Wilkinson (1,868 comments) says:

    @Samuel Smith, the essence of freedom is that you allow other people to do things you don’t like so that you can do things they don’t like.

    Businesses only make a profit when they provide good services or have a monopoly. The PPTA is a business whose monopoly is evidently feeling very threatened. Private charter schools will have no such monopoly. We should hope for the development of some making an excellent profit since they will have had to provide an outstanding and innovative service to do so.

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  32. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    >I don’t want my taxes going towards:
    >1. An ACT experiment, especially when special character and integrated schools already exist in NZ.
    Luckily, these schools have existed for years in America, and the approved ones in this country are institutions that have been running for several years. So there’s no problem there.

    >2. Profit making off public education and young people.
    Not really an objection either. Pleny of people profit off education, starting with teachers themselves. None of the schools approved are for-profit.

    >3. Unregistered, unqualified and untrained teachers in front of classes.
    Again, it appears that for classes that are normally taught by registered teachers, these schools will use registered teachers.

    >4. Children taught by evangelicals.
    So you’re a bigot. Thanks for sharing.

    >5. Further cherry-picking of students.
    In an move that can only be described as idiotic, schools are not allowed to chose which students are to attend. So no problem there either.

    >6. Politicians driving a sense of crisis when NZ’s education system is already a top-performing one.
    In other words, you would rather not address the problem of the bottom 20% of students, prefering to just point to our “top-performing” system as proof that no change is needed.

    Perhaps you could try to argue your case from facts instead.

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  33. Nookin (3,267 comments) says:

    Psycho

    The “right” do not engage in hysterical reaction. The facility for shrill squawking while running around like headless chooks is one with which the left are uniquely endowed. The right engage in deep contemplation and then propound doom in tones of suitably foreboding gravitas.

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  34. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    It should be funded at least as well as decile 1

    It was reported on National Radio’s Checkpoint the other night that the funding for these schools is set at decile 3 level.

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  35. scrubone (3,091 comments) says:

    Found the video I mentioned earlier. It’s a shame Larry didn’t take the time to really tease out the crazyness to see how far it would go.
    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/09/ppta-ranter-hurls-ill-informed-vitriol-charter-schools/#axzz2fIf69Rlf

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  36. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    The PPTA is not afraid of competition, after all you don’t hear massive campaigns against the very existence of private schools. The concern is that these schools remove many of the protections students and parents have in the existing system. By removing boards of trustees they are actually taking away local control and accountability to parents. By removing the need to hire registered teachers they are gambling that the schools will choose wisely. Of course some will, but not all. There’s no advantage to removing that protection. Schools who wanted to hire an expert who was unregistered could already apply to get that person an LAT (Limited Authority to Teach). That way there’s at least some oversight.

    All of the schools chosen could have already been created under the special character schools provision of earlier legislation. There are already many bilingual public schools around the country. There are many integrated Christian schools.

    The concern is that if the charter experiment is allowed to continue much worse charters will soon follow. There are now some online charter schools in the US, like K12 Online charter school where the CEO got a $5 million salary in 2011 despite 60% of its students being below grade level in Maths. That’s not a 1 in 5 failure rate, that’s 3 in 5! But hey, that’s performance pay for you. Of course his salary is based on enrolment numbers, not student outcomes.

    The only thing these charters really accomplish is completely removing teachers’ unions from the equation. If you think that’s a good thing, then you either don’t understand what they do or you are blinded by pathological hatred of all things union. Many commenters here seem to fall into the latter category.

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  37. bagelmuncher (8 comments) says:

    Mr and Mrs Bagelmuncher lived and worked in Northland for 3 years in the 1990s, including regular clinics in the Hokianga, we are still regular visitors to Northland to this day. We finally chose to take our family and leave the district as we saw a region and a people going nowhere fast and nothing much has changed in 20 years. Drug use/dealing /solo parent hood and domestic violence is widely tolerated and binge drinking a must, education is viewed as a way to pass the time till WINZ is a near permanent fixture in their lives. We still see those that want to head off to university or commit to any tertiary study treated as outcasts who think they are better than the rest and they leave the region never to return and thus further deprive an area of motivated, tax paying role models. We personally know of three Maori lads who made it to Auckland uni andtold us it was common to tell your mates you were heading off to jail in Auckland rather than admit you were ‘smart’.

    It is near impossible to get the PPTA, other education Wellington based bureaucrats, and whiny Liberal-Lefties and Right-On soy latte types to fully appreciate what a deprived and depraved area Northland is so the two new Charter schools under Maori guidance looks like a good start to me.It is so hard to believe they can do worse than what is on offer in the region now.

    I also notice all the pearl-clutching about the Charter Evangelical Christian school to service South Auckland which has a high number of failing PI and Maori who ascribe to these values. The same detractors will gladly nod their head and murmur a loud ‘kia ora’ at any govt or state school powhiri event when Maori are asked to do a karakia which invokes and implores Maori gods to intervene. Naturally, they will say they endorse Maori ‘culture’ but woe betide anything Judaeo-Christian. Hyprocrites the lot of ‘em!

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  38. Nukuleka (300 comments) says:

    “I am not surprised some integrated schools outperform their state counterparts. They are allowed to cherry-pick students through specialised enrollment schemes derived from their integration agreements. On top of this, the more motivated parents work hard to get their children into them.”

    Quite how Samuel Smith comes to this startling conclusion is a mystery and shows the extent of his ignorance. The bulk of integrated schools in NZ are Catholic and have a state-imposed regulation that at least 95% of entrants must be baptised Catholics. He may know more than I do but I fail to see how taking children into a school based on their Catholic faith is a ‘specialised enrollment scheme’? Is he suggesting that Catholic children are brighter than non-Catholic children and have more motivated parents? What crap.

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  39. kiwi in america (2,428 comments) says:

    Critics of the Charter Schools forget this is only a trial. For crying out loud its 5 small schools and guess what – no one has to send their kids there. I live in a state where there are a lot of charter schools – there’s excellent ones, mediocre ones and useless ones and the useless ones tend to fail and the good state schools continue to thrive. The NZ trial gets the advantage of learning from the mistakes made and the great successes here in the US but also Sweden and the UK where there are also examples of well run charter schools. If you don’t like the military academy style then don’t send your kids there – ditto the one with evangelical teachers. There are excellent schools on the North Shore in Auckland, my brother teaches at one of them, but Rangitito or Westlake Girls/Boys may not be as good a fit for an academically struggling Tongan boy as a charter school.

    Its one thing to philosophically oppose even the concept of Charter Schools; its a whole other thing to block teacher support, to selectively cite the literature and to use such nasty over the top language. Because there are bad charter schools in the US that the teacher unions in the US have published studies about, these are the studies that are the ones quoted by the PPTA, academics and other status quo defenders. They deliberately ignore the studies of the good charter schools and assume that they are all equally bad. The notion of learning from overseas examples and cherry picking the best aspects seems to be lost on the unions.

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  40. Psycho Milt (2,405 comments) says:

    A charter school specifically for the “dumbest, most disruptive” might be set up and allow the public school to get on with teaching the rest.

    Thing is, we already allow for this – special-character schools, alternative schools, call ‘em what you like. The problem with the kind of schools the government’s enabling is aptly described in RightandLeft’s comment above.

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  41. Psycho Milt (2,405 comments) says:

    I fail to see how taking children into a school based on their Catholic faith is a ‘specialised enrollment scheme’?

    Don’t have a dog in this race, but that sounds to me exactly like a ‘specialised enrolment scheme.’

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  42. PaulL (5,943 comments) says:

    So, as always on these threads. If this were a process that said all parents must send their children to a charter school, I’d be concerned, as that’s removing choice. But so long as it remains a process that increases choice – those that choose to do so may send their children to a charter school – then I don’t see any downside. In my opinion, in any contest between compulsion and choice, we should usually come down on the side of choice.

    I can see the people that are arguing “I don’t want _my_ taxpayer dollars spent on charter schools.” But I don’t get why that makes any difference if it’s legitimate policy of the government of the day. I’d rather _my_ taxes weren’t spent on symphony orchestras, Ministries of Women’s Affairs, or owning airlines. Sure, I used to bitch about that too, so I’m not saying people don’t have a right to bitch. But I’m not clear why bitching about policies of the duly elected govt now gets any more weight than bitching about the policies of the duly elected govt did in the past.

    And, frankly, if we’re not actually paying any more taxpayer dollars to teach these kids than we were before, then I’m not sure it’s really OK to bitch at all. Again, nobody is making people send their kids to these schools. And if nobody does send their kids there, then they’ll close. So…..what you’re arguing for is your right to tell other people what school they’re allowed to send their kids to, because of your ideological view. I’m not sure how anyone can argue that’s OK.

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  43. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    “what you’re arguing for is your right to tell other people what school they’re allowed to send their kids to”

    Strange isn’t it? It reminds me of some failed political systems throughout history.

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  44. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    “The only thing these charters really accomplish is completely removing teachers’ unions from the equation. If you think that’s a good thing, then you either don’t understand what they do”
    No, we understand. They create a closed club that protects their membership and keeps out competition.

    ” or you are blinded by pathological hatred of all things union.”
    What unions mean to me is that if I was to start a business I’d make sure I could automate it so I didn’t have to deal with the thugs.

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  45. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    If Key had any balls he would have sacked all the public school teachers in 2008 and told the shits to re-apply for their jobs under a new contract that he had already drawn up. Key is just another socialist poser.

    Tony Abbot, on his first day in power, has the balls to at least start sacking the leftie scum that are posioning Australia. I hope he carries on with it. :)

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  46. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    bagelmuncher:

    ” Drug use/dealing /solo parent hood and domestic violence is widely tolerated and binge drinking a must, education is viewed as a way to pass the time till WINZ is a near permanent fixture in their lives…”

    So those problems are down to the “PPTA, other education Wellington based bureaucrats, and whiny Liberal-Lefties and Right-On soy latte types not appreciating what a deprived and depraved area Northland is ?”

    Wellington based politicians have done lots of good things for the underachieving kids in schools in Northland. They built Ngawha prison and rave on about prisoners being illiterate. How much relevant, effective support have they into schools commensurate with the sort of problems you’ve witnessed first hand?

    But the tide has changed! After generations of having wall to wall National Party MPs, Northland is now their priority area to be saved. Saved by a charter school in a remote area where the choice will be easy and a city based one where the pupils do not fit the sad profile of the picture you paint of the average Hokianga boy. Oh, and don’t forget the holiday highway!

    (I respect the fact you at least recognise some of the problems. Thank you.)

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  47. Psycho Milt (2,405 comments) says:

    So…..what you’re arguing for is your right to tell other people what school they’re allowed to send their kids to, because of your ideological view.

    Er, no. What we’re arguing about is the best use of taxpayers’ money – about which, as you’ve noted, there is no end of room for argument.

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  48. RightNow (6,973 comments) says:

    “What we’re arguing about is the best use of taxpayers’ money”

    So private schools are good then, since they provide more in GST from the fees than they get in subsidies.

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  49. transmogrifier (522 comments) says:

    I don’t get it; as a teacher, I love the idea of charter schools. Anything that gives me more variety in employment opportunities is fine by me.

    I also find it unlikely teachers will refuse to put out teams against charter schools; I was involved in league, and those kids just wanted to play. It would be the height of arrogance to refuse them the chance over ideological differences about education.

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  50. Duxton (633 comments) says:

    “On the other hand, I know the people involved in the two Tai Tokerau projects and they are genuinely good people, dedicated to doing the best for Maori kids. The Leadership Academy already does a wonderful job and the Whangaruru project, although new, kicks off with the best of intentions. And the kids they’re going to help are going to be young Maori, so I wish them all the best.”

    That’s absolute bullshit: Hone would never have said that. He would have said something like:

    “Dose homies are my cuzzies, and they’s choice, ok? Safe, bro.”

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  51. BlairM (2,314 comments) says:

    The only argument you should ever need on this issue is: “Fuck you, give me choice”.

    As for bitching about taxes, I utterly resent having to pay them to fund schools run by the PPTA and government bureaucrats, who will fill children’s heads with all the PC crap in the world, but won’t teach them the difference between “your” and “you’re”, or where to put an apostrophe. I mean, look at these schools! Look at the end product! They are producing morons!

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  52. bc (1,365 comments) says:

    Where do you get that idea Blair, my eight year old has learnt about punctuation when writing.
    Oh that’s right – you’re talking crap.

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  53. BlairM (2,314 comments) says:

    I am sure your eight year old is a genius who is well served by the Soviet education system. But you can’t seriously think that they average product of our education system is equipped for intelligent conversation, let alone full participation in society.

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