Espiner on charter schools

September 23rd, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Colin Espiner writes:

I’d thought that centrally-controlled, one-size-fits-all approach to education policy had disappeared with the introduction of Tomorrow’s Schools more than 20 years ago. But I reckoned without the teacher unions.

The vitriol spouted by the Post-Primary Teachers Association () and the Educational Institute () at the Government’s announcement last week that it would fund five privately-run Partnership Schools took me back in a flash to my early days as a reporter covering teacher union rallies and marches.

Back then, it was bulk funding and the devolution of central control to community boards of trustees the teacher unions didn’t like. Oh, and Lockwood Smith.

They went on to oppose NCEA, National Testing, religious schools integration, private school funding . . . in fact pretty much anything that threatened the status quo and the teacher unions’ privileged position within it.

NZEI specially seem incredibly reactionary. They have fought a four year campaign against simply having an extra page in a kid’s report cards that states where they are at compared to a national standard for their age in literacy and numeracy. Incredible.

What’s so wrong with trying something a little different? With offering students failing in the mainstream education system an alternative? A little military training wouldn’t go amiss with some of them. And is a spot of faith-based teaching and some Maori immersion learning really going to do any great harm?

Apparently. According to the PPTA, these schools are so evil the union is considering asking its members to boycott all cultural, sporting, and professional events involving Partnership Schools. Marvellous – that’ll help those kids already alienated from the mainstream feel like they’re wanted.

Matthew Hooton describes how the planned boycotts will work:

In practice, it means that if students from one of the five schools enter a netball team in their local competition, the PPTA will order its members to stop their students from playing against them.

If partnership-school students qualify for the regional swimming sports, the PPTA will prevent other students from entering the pool for fear of political pollution.

The same goes for the local debating, kapa haka or Mathex competition.

Who would have thought that unions would be pushing for effective segregation of students, like the US had in the 1960s.

Espiner concludes:

No one is suggesting the state education system should be dismantled. It provides a mostly adequate, sometimes excellent, service. But even the bureaucrats in Wellington admit they don’t have a monopoly on good ideas. So what are the unions so afraid of?

Possibly more flexible working hours, fewer holidays, a greater range of pay rates, and non-unionised workers. A system outside state control, where commercial success is actually encouraged. A bit like the world the rest of us live in.

At worst, these schools will not live up to their potential and will be shut down, probably by Labour. But what if they succeed? It won’t just be the students who stand to benefit. It’ll be all of us.

And unlike state schools, not one student or parent will be forced to attend a charter school. There are no zones for . Every pupil who attends will be there because they and/or their parents have decided they think they will do better at that school. That choice, is what the unions are trying to prevent.

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32 Responses to “Espiner on charter schools”

  1. Ian McK (237 comments) says:

    About time PPTA, NZEI, were deregistered . . . like most people, I have had a gutsful of hearing these devious, left-wing losers trying to disrupt children’s education to push their own disgusting doctrines. The days of Clark/Lange-type education is over, if they don’t like new formats best they get out . . . they will be no loss.

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  2. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Deregistration, eh? You must have been a Muldoon fan – I haven’t heard that term since the 1970s.

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  3. Akaroa (541 comments) says:

    These left wing liberal educationalists never learn do they!

    They just don’t get it that positions like the one they’re evidently taking up on Charter Schools are redolent of the times when it would be ‘All Out” if the canteen tea was cold or some such ridiculous issue.

    Well, let ‘em run, is what I say. People in 2013 aren’t stupid enough to take any notice of such archaic attitudes and will treat the exponents of same and their ilk with the Electoral disregard and rejection that such hide-bound attitudes warrant.

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  4. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    I agree the education unions should just leave the charter schools alone. The experiment is on such an insignificant scale that it will be relatively harmless and is unlikely to demonstrate strong evidence one way or another for the future of similar schools.

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  5. Exclamation Mark (84 comments) says:

    National could fight the election on this alone: It’s the unions that brought Cunliffe to power and look what a bunch of absolute loonies they are.

    They could put that interview that Larry Williams had with that screeching English woman from the PPTA and the video of Cunliffe putting on his bro-town accent in the streets of south Auckland side by side with the message: “Do you really want these people running your country?”

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  6. OneTrack (2,618 comments) says:

    Mikenmild – ” You must have been a Muldoon fan – I haven’t heard that term since the 1970s.”

    Yes, and now the unions and Labour Party are pining for those good old days.

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  7. bc (1,334 comments) says:

    Espiner’s and Hooten’s articles can only be described as hysterical, not to mention factually incorrect. You can almost see them frothing at the mouth when they wrote them.

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  8. Lance (2,454 comments) says:

    @bc
    And the PPTA isn’t illogically screeching hysterically over Charter Schools?

    Bra ha ha ah ah

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  9. Ashley Schaeffer (410 comments) says:

    How are they going to explain those boycotts to their students in a constructive apolitical way?
    Oh, that’s right, they can’t.

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  10. duggledog (1,361 comments) says:

    What’s worse is that they all simply accept as a fact that about one in seven will fail the school system, and there’s nothing to be done about it. I’ve heard top educators say this. So why is it any skin off their noses if someone else has a go with them?

    And as to their issue with unqualified teachers, going on some of the touchy feely rubbish qualified teachers fill the kids’ heads with these days I’d almost say that would be an advantage.

    I taught all my kids basic maths, reading and writing before the went through the school gates and I’m not a teacher.

    The unions are shit scared

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  11. Dennis Horne (2,059 comments) says:

    I suspect most teachers are completely indifferent. It is the control freaks who worry.

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  12. James Stephenson (2,037 comments) says:

    Deregistration, eh? You must have been a Muldoon fan – I haven’t heard that term since the 1970s.

    Haven’t you? You must have been reading in the wrong places then. Deregistration is what the Teachers Council don’t do to teachers if they can sweep their offending under a handy carpet.

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  13. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    I was thinking of deregistration as applied to unions. I think Muldoon had the Boilermakers deregistered, for example. I may be wrong, but I believe there is no longer any formal tripartite process where the government legally recognises unions for the purposes of collective bargaining.

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  14. nasska (10,689 comments) says:

    ….”Deregistration is what the Teachers Council don’t do to teachers “….

    Agreed, although I’ll allow that they finally gave the paedo in Northland the push the other day. Mind you he’d admitted to bumming half the school & been through the court system by the time they got around to it.

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  15. doggone7 (705 comments) says:

    All this stuff about deregistering the nasty teacher unions! Why? because people like DPF say “they have fought a four year campaign against simply having an extra page in a kid’s report cards that states where they are at compared to a national standard for their age in literacy and numeracy. Incredible.”

    This is either the most stupifyingly simplistic description of National Standards or more deliberate stoking of the fires of discontent among the malcontents and ignorant.

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  16. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    The Teachers Council is a government body and needs any problems to be fixed by the government. It is not run by teachers.

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  17. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Tomorrow’s schools was code for yesterday’s schools.

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  18. nasska (10,689 comments) says:

    mikenmild

    If its not run directly by teachers they still have a good say in what goes on.

    ….”The Governing Council consists of 11 people who are elected or appointed. One member is nominated by each of the following groups: the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) and the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA).

    The Minister of Education appoints four members, including the chair.

    Registered teachers elect four members, one from each of the following sectors: early childhood, primary, secondary and principals.”….

    Ref: http://www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz/content/governance

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  19. Sector 7g (236 comments) says:

    What are they scared of? Simple.
    Kids getting such a good education that in the future they won’t need to join a union to keep their job.

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  20. Fentex (867 comments) says:

    the PPTA will order its members to stop their students from playing against them.

    A way to achieve nothing but alienating children and their parents from teachers cause.

    And were I a sporting body over-seeing such competitions I should respond by excluding teachers and schools who would dare such from participation at all.

    The idea that teachers think they own pupils time and activities outside of studies offends me greatly. If they don’t want to be personally involved, fine, stop coaching. See how far that get’s them when pupils reflect on how it looks against lessons of good sporting behaviour.

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  21. Ed Snack (1,738 comments) says:

    I think it is a simple exercise in finding a target to work up the base in order to continue to look relevant. The PPTA leaders are industrial dinosaurs who still live in the class struggle paradigm who’s greatest fear is that they will lose their hold on power and position. Children, excuse me, what do they have to do with the PPTA except to act as pawns ?

    In their own minds however, the occupy that great moral high ground that comes from an endless array of moral posturing about issues that really only relate to their own aggrandizement.

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  22. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,798 comments) says:

    It’s just as well the PPTA doesn’t issue its members Kalashnikovs. Not that much difference really between Islamafacists and Edufacists.

    The only cure for the malaise is to legislate for voluntary membership of the PPTA and that’s what these idiots are inviting upon themselves.

    BTW, best not to go shopping at Westgate if the PPTA is around.

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  23. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    I don’t see what the problem is here.

    Why are you Right Wingers so worked-up?

    ACT through their confidence and supply agreement with National obtained a charter schools policy. Neither party campaigned on this, but I guess politics is politics.

    The PPTA doesn’t want any contact with charter schools and its members will vote on this.

    Sounds like varying degrees of democracy to me.

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  24. doggone7 (705 comments) says:

    Adolf Fiinkensein

    Nothing has really changed over the years with the PPTA. If you were schooled in NZ you too are a product of their influence. One of the good things in NZ is that extravagant, extremist attitudes are usually given voice by words, (these days on blog sites). In other places guns and bombs are the way. Your posting shows though that if you are a product of the PPTA’s system they have a lot to answer for.

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  25. RightNow (6,676 comments) says:

    Well said (for once) Samuel Smith. Let the charter schools go ahead and let the PPTA do what they will. It’s democracy in action.

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  26. nasska (10,689 comments) says:

    Adolf Fiinkensein

    I’m fairly sure that you are safe at your local mall. Even if the members of the PPTA & the NZEI are barking mad they are still just a bunch of menopausal harpies interspersed with a few sandal wearing metrosexuals.

    About the only things they are capable of assaulting are the kids’ minds.

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  27. Redbaiter (7,640 comments) says:

    “About the only things they are capable of assaulting are the kids’ minds.”

    Which they’ve been doing for forty years or more and what the fuck have you and the National Party done to stop it? Nothing but talk.

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  28. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Adolf
    Considering that the PPTA has always had voluntary membership, I can’t quite see what you are on about.

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  29. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    The charter schools thing is interesting, but pointless in that it’s just another attempt to try to make education cover up for the rest of society’s failings.

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  30. Komata (1,111 comments) says:

    TJ

    Re ‘… Just another attempt to try to make education cover up for the rest of society’s failings’.

    In answer to you comment:

    If ‘society’ is a reflection of the quality of the education that its children have received, then from whence has that education been sourced?

    Answer: The NZ Ministry of Education.

    The Min of Ed has long been a bastion of socialist teaching and indoctrination.

    And what did the liberals and socialists in the Min Of Ed introduce into NZ in the late 1980′s under a Labour administration?

    Answer: A document called ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ which was intended to destroy the Christian values then in place in NZ (and taught in ALL schools BTW), and replace it with a ‘modern perspective’ – a socialist code for ‘anything goes, if you want to, do it, deviancy is normal’ agenda which has been followed since that time.

    ‘Society’s failings’ can be laid squarely at the feet of such individuals (aided and abetted by Clarke and her cohorts) since if you haven’t noticed those who are now ‘morally bereft’ are all products of that education policy.

    The kids who were new entrants in 1988 are of course now parents/grandparents and their moral compass (and those who have followed them of course) shows a distinct lack of ethics, values and moral training; a lack which contributes directly to the ‘society’s failing’ you have mentioned.

    The unions are I believe. scared that these new schools will set examples for others to follow, especially as they (the charter schools) actually seem prepared to ‘teach’ morality.

    Doing-so definitely doesn’t fit in with the socialist agenda which is determined to destroy such values and replace them with a ‘freedom for all under our conditions’ socialist utopia (a scary thought, BTW).

    Thought you might care to know…

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  31. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    That’s the first time I’ve seen Tomorrow’s Schools described as a socialist conspiracy. Perhaps the unions were just faking when they opposed the Picot reforms.

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  32. rg (197 comments) says:

    No mention of the ACT Party in all this. Is this an example of a weak kneed Natoinal party and its blogger stealing the credit

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