A charter school responds to the PPTA

November 20th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A further guest post, responding to the guest post, from the Villa Education Trust:

The Villa Education Trust is one of the 5 organisations given the opportunity to begin a Partnership School to start in Term 1 of 2014. The new school is South Auckland Middle School. http://www.southauckland.school.nz/dir/index.php/ The Trust is not for profit and also runs Mt Hobson Middle School in Newmarket http://www.mthobson.school.nz/dir/index.php and has done so for 11 years. The process to get permission from government to begin a new school has been, rightly, arduous and rigorous.

We have never looked for a confrontation but I am interested in a number of the PPTA comments as they have certainly tried to be obstructive to the new schools and I do not believe all of their points are accurate.

Also of interest is that we are not getting the feeling from teachers that the PPTA are trying to convey. We had 105 applicants for our 8 teaching positions – many of them current PPTA members – and have been able to appoint a very good staff to South Auckland Middle School. 

That’s a good level of applicants. Will the PPTA expel members who take up a job with the South Auckland Middle School? 

In terms of their statements.

1. Yes – the PPTA does represent many secondary teachers within NZ but not all. Given their claim of being democratic (and support of referendum: https://www.facebook.com/NZPPTA/posts/295024260594180) - have they had a members’ referendum on their opposition to Partnership Schools? Maybe the question could be:

Do PPTA members want their subscriptions spent opposing 5 schools and a model designed at improving outcomes for children who are struggling in the current system?

or 

Would members prefer their money was spent investigating methods to help these children?

or 

Would members prefer the money was used to improve their pay and conditions?

 2. Re consultation. The PPTA presented to the Select Committee. One in 18 of their members also felt strongly enough to fill in a PPTA written pro-forma and send it in. We have tried repeatedly to talk to the PPTA. The only response back was to from a previous exec member who said:

“Thank you for your invitation to visit your school which I will need to pass on to the incoming president, Angela Roberts.  I have to be honest and say I am not sure what would be achieved by this visit. I do not doubt that you are doing the best you can for the students in your school so I don’t need to visit to confirm that reality.”

We have never heard from Ms Roberts except when they sent a letter to us which we published here - http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2013/08/union-bullying-target-responds/#axzz2kvgmWrbz

One of the exec, Hazel McIntosh even conceded on the Larry William’s show - http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Knsf0ZwyEG4 that she had not even read the Stanford research – or was remotely interested in it.

3. In Northland the Partnership School operators are clearly willing to co-operate with local schools. How can this be a bad thing? They see the clear good in some areas and then also see how they can make a difference in others. They are clearly passionate people who will not be bullied http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/northland-ppta-members-deny-support-charter-schools and will overcome all manner of hurdles to see the young people there have greater success in their lives.

4. Choice for families is important. At South Auckland Middle School we have only been open for enrollment for 6 weeks and already have 85 children/families applied for places. Education is a massive choice for these parents and if they are not happy with the current pathway their child is on they have every right to look for other options. I am astounded that the PPTA would state that “there was about the right balance prior to charters”. Seriously? Have they researched the comparative results for Maori and Pasifika children in many areas? They are pretty easy to find here: http://schoolreport.stuff.co.nz/2013/index.php How on earth are the current discrepancies between groups “a good balance”? How do you claim to be against poverty, etc, and advocate for the status quo in education – a major determinant of outcomes? The PPTA, and affiliated organisations, want parents of children to accept this level of failure because it is their role as being a part of the greater good; “efficient use of resources, fairness and other good things too”? Was that post really written by someone involved in education? 

Previously some have commented that there was already the opportunity (integrated and special character schools) to set up new schools. Our experience, and that of others, is that both of these were near impossible options and not likely to yield a differentiated opportunity for families. The Partnership Schools option is new and provides an opportunity that most definitely did not exist previously. It is also new funding – the budgets for state education were also increased.

5. We have no necessary problem with our teachers being union members. It is the PPTA constitution that forces those we are employing to resign their membership. Given that our teacher student ratio is 15:1 we will employ a good proportion of teaching staff (and yes – they are all registered). Fail to see anything but benefit here.

All registered teachers!

6. Please note. We are happy to share anything we learn and many of our resources with PPTA members and other teachers. In our case we have, so far, had absolutely nothing but support for families and organisations we have spoken to. We are more than happy for the PPTA to visit either of our schools and talk. In fact we would welcome it – which is why we had sent invitations.

7. Please note airlines do share resources around the world.

For our part: We have permission to begin a Y7-10 school for 120 children and have a location in Mahia Rd, Manurewa. We have employed a staff and are very quickly filling the spaces available for students. The stories these children and their parents are bringing would already make a book worth reading. They are making it massively clear there is a NEED and I would think it is one that will generate a lot more interest than just 5 schools.

We will have a class size of 15:1, teach the NZ Curriculum in formal classes, have opportunity for project based learning and the skills development that goes with it, employ qualified and registered teachers, have a split day with an academic morning and activity based afternoon (including good provision of sport, art, and music). Our teachers will have little admin and will be do what they have been trained to do – prepare, teach, assess and feedback to parents and the children. Our clear focus is on the academic improvement of every child that comes to us. 

Sounds pretty good to me. 

We are very open to visitors and interested people. We are also open to supporters who want to get along side what we are doing.

Alwyn Poole
Villa Education Trust
www.mthobson.school.nz
www.southauckland.school.nz
www.villaeducation.org.nz

Further guest posts on this issue are welcome.

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67 Responses to “A charter school responds to the PPTA”

  1. duggledog (1,340 comments) says:

    PPTA must be shitting themselves.

    Good. They’ve been unassailable for so long they’ve lost their minds. The kids in my child’s year 8 class consistently pull their teacher up for poor spelling

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  2. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    These people have it all wrong focusing on educational outcomes – the key concern here is union membership numbers.

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  3. BeeJay (69 comments) says:

    In my experience very good teachers are heavily outnumbered by the ordinary, the run of the mill, and the sub standard teachers. It is the latter groups who desperately rely on the PPTA to keep them in employment, to get them pay increases that they would never receive if they were employed in a commercial environment. The very good teachers don’t need the PPTA, they get their rewards because they really do deserve them. As a Board Member of a major private school for many years, I was horrified by the uncommercial attitude of many of the teaching staff, even though their employer was charging the clients (parents) significant amounts of money for them (teachers) to provide the services that were being paid for. It was almost like some teachers considered it a “privilege” for the clients to be able to have their children at the school and so should be happy to pay for the privilege irrespective of the outcomes. Unbelievable! If the Commerce Act was applied to schools, many would fail to comply. It’s too easy to blame the kids for failing, rather than the schools accepting responsibility for failing to deliver the goods!

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  4. david (2,535 comments) says:

    Congratulations to Mr Poole for an even-handed and considered response.

    It would have been too easy to denigrate (plenty of ammunition in the PPTA post), inflame and extend the argument. Apart from gently questioning the motive/background of the PPTA author and with good cause, his response nicely highlights the intransigent, ignorant and hypocritical expressions inherent in the PPTA position.

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  5. Allyson (41 comments) says:

    South Auckland state schools are not performing well enough. The entrenched Unions have no interest to improve this situation and are relying on a change of government to kill the hope for improvement. Labour leaders know they need Union support and will hand over control of education policy to the Unions for their “political assistance” in a heartbeat.
    Labour leaders like Cunliffe and Len Brown know they are onto a hiding here and will be silent in public over this issue. They are snivellers and cowards and demonstrate why we must not change our government next year.

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  6. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    The Villa Education Trust makes much of the 15:1 student-teacher ratio.

    Why are charter schools being funded at 15:1 when state schools are funded at approx 23:1?

    [DPF: They're not. They have exactly the same funding formula. They are just using it differently to other schools. One of the benefits of flexibility]

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  7. Anodos (107 comments) says:

    Partnership Schools are not being funded differently than state schools in terms of the amount they are receiving. They are being funded as a decile 3 school. They are choosing to allocate their funds differently. In that case reducing the student:teacher ratio.

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  8. nickb (3,659 comments) says:

    Thanks for a great post Mr Poole.

    I have heard you speak in the media over the past few months. I have listened to the PPTA speak. I listened to the incoherent screeching harridan from the PPTA try to shout and shut down Larry Williams on radio. I have heard the PPTA deny or try and discredit the many studies showing the good charter schools to in the community.

    All I can say is I am damn sure who I would trust my kids with more.

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  9. Rightandleft (629 comments) says:

    duggledog, Your child’s Year 8 teacher would be an NZEI member, not PPTA. They only cover secondary teachers.

    burt, If the concern was membership numbers the PPTA could simply accept teachers from charter schools as members. The track record shows they’d get about 90% of them or higher. The fact PPTA is not accepting them shows that they’re willing to sacrifice membership numbers and a lot of money to stop charter schools.

    Alwyn I’ll try to respond to each of your points.

    1. I agree that PPTA had no place in the asset sales referendum. I refused to sign the petition myself and I know many other members did. However the majority of members did indeed support a paper stating that the PPTA would oppose privatisation at a conference in 2010. The conference papers are only passed after being approved at individual schools and regional levels, so every member has had a chance to voice their feelings. My side lost that debate, that’s democracy.

    2.I know of at least one exec member who is interested in visiting your school, though I wouldn’t expect that to change the PPTA’s position as decision of this size are made by the whole of the membership at conference.

    3. These Northland Partnership schools were created on an argument that the local state schools are failing Maori and then turn around and say they need those same failing state schools to provide their core curriculum teaching is stunning. It also shows us why they couldn’t have been created as special character schools before. They simply aren’t large enough to be economically viable and they will drain resources and now teacher time from local state schools.

    4. Personally I like parental choice and I’m glad that we do have it in the current system. Everyday as I arrive at my school I see kids in three different high school uniforms waiting for the bus across the street, leaving our zone for elsewhere at the same time that kids from other schools’ zones take the bus to our school. The problem with the added choice of partnership schools is that they are essentially being proposed as a competitor to the state system but they won’t be competing in a fair playing field. Only the more motivated parents will be rushing to enrol their kids at your school and others. Hattie’s research and others have found that it is the parents or family that make the biggest difference in children’s educational outcomes. You’ll already be getting the children most likely to succeed, not the ones most likely to be in the ‘long-tail.’

    Next the extra funding charters are getting is allowing smaller class sizes, as you have mentioned repeatedly above. State schools would love to have those smaller class sizes. But we were told by the same government that class size did not matter! So when your school gets better results than a local state school they won’t say, ‘ah I guess smaller class sizes and choosing the most motivated students creates better results.’ They’ll say ‘see charter schools get better results, let’s build dozens more of them.’

    5. Again you trumpet the small class sizes. Why give special treatment to 5 charter schools while ignore the oversized classes in the state system? How is that fair? I’ve had multiple classes of 34 just this year. That means they get less one-to-one feedback, something Hattie listed very high up his list of effective teaching strategies.

    6 and 7. I don’t make the argument that your school will hurt kids’ educations. The problem is your school is being given unfair advantages to make the partnership schools look better than the state system so that many more of them can be opened. Only then will their funding fall back and it will become a cost-cutting exercise. That’s what happened with bulk funding in the 90s. Extra funding at the front end to make it look good, then cut-backs in the long-run.

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  10. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    ‘They are being funded as a decile 3 school. They are choosing to allocate their funds differently. In that case reducing the student:teacher ratio.’

    Ok, so why aren’t all South Auckland state schools funded to this level and given the option to use this funding for extra teachers, free school uniforms etc as Villa Education are doing?

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  11. Paulus (2,496 comments) says:

    Right and Left – usual bitter crap – get out of the kitchen.

    I suppose you can see that you are being outflanked by thinking people who are devoted to the teaching of children and not the support of the union executives’, and their lavish lifestyle, not in their member’s interest only their own.

    Well done Mr Poole – you have the support of most thinking people and not the Teacher’s rabble leaders.

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  12. Bill Ted (80 comments) says:

    To be fair to RightandLeft, they’re at least trying to make reasoned arguments, even though I disagree with most of them. The one issue they obviously don’t want to talk about is the boycotting of students and teachers who refuse to buckle to the PPTA’s demands. Ultimately, that is unjustifiable and the PPTA and every single member who doesn’t speak out against it deserve to be roundly condemned. At the end of the day charter schools want to improve education results for kids. Let them.

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  13. Anodos (107 comments) says:

    YesWeDid – same answer. The funding level is the same. It is about structures and choices.

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  14. doggone7 (685 comments) says:

    Paulus “Right and Left – usual bitter crap – get out of the kitchen.”

    Right and Left said, “These Northland Partnership schools were created on an argument that the local state schools are failing Maori and then turn around and say they need those same failing state schools to provide their core curriculum teaching is stunning. It also shows us why they couldn’t have been created as special character schools before. They simply aren’t large enough to be economically viable and they will drain resources and now teacher time from local state schools.”

    Please explain how that is ‘bitter crap.’

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  15. Rightandleft (629 comments) says:

    Paulus,

    “The Union Executives’, and their lavish lifestyle” you say. Our union executives are not paid one cent, they are all full-time teachers who give up their free time to help run the union without any compensation. You fall into the same trap those on the far left and right are prone to. You think ALL unions are the same, all socialist, evil and corrupt, just as those on the far left think ALL businesses are evil. There are good, caring businesses and good, honest unions out there.

    YesWeDid, The reason they can do that while state schools cannot is that they are bulk funded. State schools could choose to do that in the 90s but as I mentioned earlier the result was the Ministry eventually cut back funding and then abrogated any responsibility for the resulting shortfalls by saying the schools were responsible for how they spent the money now.

    Also they are being funded at decile 3 level regardless of where their students actually come from. Vanguard Military School is in an area where every local school is decile 7-10. They also get their $19 million sweetener to set up their schools. Several of these schools are so small that it is a waste of money to run them. The Ministry generally closes schools that fall below 250 students if there are other local schools to take the students. They do that because the schools lose economic viability below that number and the Ministry is supposed to spend money in a way that is best for all the kids in the system, not at individual schools.

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  16. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    Rightandleft

    burt, If the concern was membership numbers the PPTA could simply accept teachers from charter schools as members. The track record shows they’d get about 90% of them or higher. The fact PPTA is not accepting them shows that they’re willing to sacrifice membership numbers and a lot of money to stop charter schools.

    Can the PPTA accept members who are not in the collective ? Do they have that flexibility ? If they can’t then you are just making shit up.

    Question: How many PPTA employees are paid more than teachers ?

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  17. Rightandleft (629 comments) says:

    burt,

    As the Constitution currently stands the PPTA cannot accept members who are not at state or integrated schools, so it would have required a Constitutional change to allow them to join. However that is something that could have been done at our last conference. We’ve passed Constitutional changes at each of the last three conferences in fact. We chose not to go that route, giving up the potential new members and dues they would bring rather than violate our principles.

    I don’t know exactly what PPTA employees are paid. They have their own collective agreement and belong to a different union themselves. My understanding is they are paid the same as teachers who are heads of departments. Many of them are former lawyers and I certainly don’t think they work for PPTA for the salary.

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  18. Anodos (107 comments) says:

    R&L – I think you may find the $19million is over 4 years to set-up and run the schools. It is not a set-up fund of “sweetener”. Pays to check those things. Accuracy is important.

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  19. Rightandleft (629 comments) says:

    $19 million to fund schools that are not economically viable, some of which cannot even provide the full curriculum to their students without the help of local state schools despite their decile 3 funding level and bulk funding flexibility. That’s $19 million that could have been spent on the state system on changes that will benefit all students rather than a handful at 5 privately run schools. That’s also $19 million of our tax money we won’t get back or know how it is spent thanks to the decision to exempt them from the OIA.

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  20. Anodos (107 comments) says:

    The $19million over 4 years equates to $19,000 per annum for all state schools – what extraordinary changes could they make with that. It is a well targeted change to make a difference to some groups. The contracts are subject to OIA and the schools have to report to the Minister quarterly. You are misinformed (or deliberately deceiving using the PPTA talking points/soundbites) R&L. These schools will clearly have very high accountability. There are schools in NZ that have received over $50million on their own in the last 5 years – with atrocious results – will the PPTA please ask them and their staff to be accountable for the outcomes of the children.

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  21. Cunningham (811 comments) says:

    Rightandleft what is your organisation doing to address all those failing students?

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  22. dime (9,392 comments) says:

    “That’s also $19 million of our tax money we won’t get back or know how it is spent thanks to the decision to exempt them from the OIA.”

    WOW! 19 million? such a HUGE number? that must be a huge percentage of the money govt spend on education every year.

    19 million extra would be life changing!!!!!!!!

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  23. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    ‘Rightandleft what is your organisation doing to address all those failing students?’

    How about; teach them about God and put them in a uniform and march them up and down the playground.

    Now is that the answer to ‘all those failing kids’?

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  24. dime (9,392 comments) says:

    “How about; teach them about God and put them in a uniform and march them up and down the playground.

    Now is that the answer to ‘all those failing kids’?”

    I suspect that would probably help. a bit of discipline, self worth, respect.

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  25. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    Just like those really successful boot camps Paula Bennett was in favour of a few years back.

    Funny we don’t hear about those anymore.

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  26. dime (9,392 comments) says:

    “Just like those really successful boot camps Paula Bennett was in favour of a few years back.”

    um no, not JUST like boot camps.

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  27. Kimble (4,377 comments) says:

    Ok, so why aren’t all South Auckland state schools … given the option to use funding … as Villa Education are doing?

    Good question. Where DO the current restrictions come from? What entrenched interest has stood in the way of change for decades? Its a mystery.

    Maybe they shouldnt be called Partnership Schools. Maybe they should be called Freedom Schools, or Liberty Schools.

    Maybe if these charter schools are successful more will appear, and the old defunct structure would eventually disappear?

    You know what would help with that? Shutting down all charter schools, scrapping the trial, voting Labour.

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  28. Cunningham (811 comments) says:

    YesWeDid (961) Says:

    “Now is that the answer to ‘all those failing kids’?”

    Mate I asked a question and your response was just a bullshit question back that answered nothing. Once again what are the unions doing to address the large number of failing students?

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  29. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    ‘Maybe if these charter schools are successful more will appear, and the old defunct structure would eventually disappear?’

    Of course Charter school will be a success, they get more funding, they will have shiny new facilities and they will be full of pupils with motivated parents, just like private schools who also get great results.

    But as a model that replaces the ‘old defunct (state school) structure’ how does that work? With lots more funding? Lots of nice new buildings?

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  30. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    ‘Once again what are the unions doing to address the large number of failing students?’

    Making sure that teachers are treated as professionals, that they are well paid and motivated. Better teachers equals better outcomes. There’s your answer.

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  31. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    “Making sure that teachers are treated as professionals, that they are well paid and motivated. Better teachers equals better outcomes. There’s your answer.”

    YWD has just admitted that the teachers and their unions have been telling us lies. For some time now we have heard that our education system is “world class” when clearly that is not true. What YWD tells us is that teachers don’t do their job properly because they are not paid enough (In their minds only, the rest of us know full well that they are very well paid given the short hours and huge annual leave they receive)

    So, it is just as we thought. This is not about our kids, this is all about teachers and their greedy demands. All the more reason to welcome charter schools and the fantastic results they will bring.

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  32. OneTrack (2,581 comments) says:

    “Of course Charter school will be a success”

    Don’t tell the union that or they will cancel your membership. Don’t quite see why your focus is on bright shiny buildings – I’m not a teacher but its hard to see how a new coat of paint is going to make any educational difference.

    But here’s the rub “.. they will be full of pupils with motivated parents …”. Yes, parents who are motivated to do what is best for their children’s education. And their chosen action to achieve that is to get their kids out of the public school system, which they must think is failing them.

    And instead of doing something to help those parents address the problem, the teachers do all they can to stand in the way of any change or progress, including declaring pupils attending those schools as “unclean” and outcasts – very mature. Are they “enemies of the people” by any chance?

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  33. Cunningham (811 comments) says:

    YesWeDid (963) Says:

    “Making sure that teachers are treated as professionals, that they are well paid and motivated. Better teachers equals better outcomes. There’s your answer.”

    So your answer all comes down to pay them more? No mention of innovation? So what you are saying is that those teachers actually care more about money then the success of their students.

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  34. YesWeDid (1,029 comments) says:

    If you pay teachers more then you attract and keep good people in the profession, even DPF gets that.

    You motivate people with more than money, professional development, opportunities for advancement, creating an environment in which people are listened to and respected and yes, innovation, are all part of the mix.

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  35. Rightandleft (629 comments) says:

    Big Bruv,

    The average secondary school teacher works 48 hours a week, the average head of department 54 hours a week. I wouldn’t call those short hours.

    One Track,

    The union has been saying charter schools are ‘doomed to succeed’ for quite some time. That means the government will ensure through preferential treatment and better resourcing that the charter schools appear to have better results than nearby state schools. They won’t acknowledge that this is because of their structural advantages and soon we’ll have legislation to close ‘failing’ state schools and convert them into charter schools. If they do this with enough we will then start to have failing charter schools because it will become very difficult to weed out the poorer students if the only school around is a charter. Then once the charter school is failing we must pursue the simple remedy the Ministry tells us is available in such a situation, closing the charter school. Of course now that means there is no local school and all the kids have to be transported to more distant state or charter schools. That is just what has happened in some US school districts.

    The whole purpose of charter schooling in other countries was to provide more local input into the school, free it from strict central control and introduce some competition in the system. Since we already have all those elements in our current state system why do we need these partnership schools? We do have a world class education system, recently ranked 1st in the world in a study covered on this blog. There are schools with high fail rates but it is no coincidence that they are in areas of high poverty. The problem is with family dysfunction, poverty and poor early childhood education. Every study has found that factors outside the classroom have more effect on educational outcomes than those inside.

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  36. Anodos (107 comments) says:

    So…the PPTA response is simply to let the South Auckland schools wallow because the rest of the system is worldclass? Blame the families and not see education as a change agent? Is there a race based outlook involved in that thinking?

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  37. E. Campbell (89 comments) says:

    “Our teachers will have little admin and will be do what they have been trained to do – prepare, teach, assess and feedback to parents and the children.” Many state teachers would love this ethos! There is a massive amount of pointless paperwork teachers have to complete. Shouldn’t the teachers teach and the administrators do the paperwork?

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  38. Rightandleft (629 comments) says:

    Anodos, No my point is that people are blaming the schools but the problem lies outside the schools, with society at large. Teachers cannot work miracles in the few hours they have with their classes, especially when there are over 30 kids in those classes. The schools are not failing them, they can only do so much without support systems at home. Where did you see me mention race? You’re very quick to jump to that conclusion. It’s very leftist of you to cry racism to shut down your opponents. Funny, given the number of overtly racist comments that pop up here on Kiwiblog, that I haven’t seen you jumping in to condemn them. My point here was the entire argument for charter schools seems to be that state schools are failing the long-tail because of incompetence or indifference and I completely reject that argument.

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  39. dime (9,392 comments) says:

    “You motivate people with more than money, professional development, opportunities for advancement, creating an environment in which people are listened to and respected and yes, innovation, are all part of the mix.”

    correct. to balance that out, you need to be able to weed out the shit.

    how soul destroying it must be to see loser teachers get ahead at the same time, or earn more because they have been their longer.

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  40. Kimble (4,377 comments) says:

    Of course Charter school will be a success, they get more funding, they will have shiny new facilities and they will be full of pupils with motivated parents, just like private schools who also get great results.

    “they get more funding” – no they dont.

    “they will have shiny new facilities” – which are merely superficial.

    “they will be full of pupils with motivated parents” – then why would those kids improve at a charter school?

    At school, teacher quality matters more than anything else. But that is trumped by the home life. Are the parents becoming MORE motivated by putting their kids in a Charter School? No. So that particular factor hasnt changed at all.

    So all that matters would be that the measurement of success is based on tracking individual student improvement and not the difference in aggregates.

    Lets sum it up; you have one fallacy, one irrelevance, and one unchanging factor common to both situations.

    Perhaps you should let someone competent take over your side of the argument.

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  41. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    I think the challenge here is that sometimes it’s not about good/bad, it’s about different. Kids respond differently to different environments, we all know that – we see our friends with kids that react completely differently in a situation than another friends kids.

    So, if we accept that it’s possible that a kid in one system might fail, and putting that same kind in a different system might work, just because the learning environment suits that particular kids needs, then it’s not necessarily the case that the same kids in any school would be successful. In fact, it may be the case that some (many) parents know that their kids won’t go well in particular environments. And those parents line up to move their kids to a different environment. Does that make them motivated parents? Or just parents who were lacking choice before?

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  42. Monique Angel (251 comments) says:

    Totally agree with many of your points R&L. It’s huge groups of schmuck parents that cause the sad and not waggy tail of kids that have been failed by ‘the system’.

    Have to say though that if some kids are moved from slumming it with the losers by motivated parents who can afford more in time or money than public but not as much as private then that’s a win for those families. I’m all for it.

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  43. doggone7 (685 comments) says:

    Kimble
    “At school, teacher quality matters more than anything else. But that is trumped by the home life. Are the parents becoming MORE motivated by putting their kids in a Charter School? No. So that particular factor hasnt changed at all.”

    So the parents living with their children in a positive, caring home life who are motivated, put their kids in a Charter School. Monique Angel understands them doing that to escape. So the ‘losers’, the ‘sad tail’ will be left. Whoops, those are the kids that charter schools were said to be the reason for the development of the charter schools!

    The socio-economic situation again. And in saying that of course there will be the usual cries of teachers dooming children to failure because of the neighbourhood they live in.

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  44. artemisia (207 comments) says:

    Rightandleft 12:10 pm “The average secondary school teacher works 48 hours a week, the average head of department 54 hours a week. I wouldn’t call those short hours.”

    Is that 48 hours a week all year round or just in term time? If that’s the average hours, must be plenty working fewer hours. Whose numbers are they – independent or partisan?

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  45. Maggy Wassilieff (242 comments) says:

    Sorry folks, I don’t buy the average secondary teacher working 48hrs/week. Yr 7-13 teachers are permitted to work a maximum of 20hrs in classroom teaching. I don’t believe most of them spend another 28 hrs/week on lesson prep, and marking. After a few years teaching you should have mastered the curriculum and be able to organise your lessons for the week with just a couple of hours prep.
    (I usually did this on Sun afternoons). As a science, physics and horticulture teacher, I had labs to organise, glasshouses and gardens to supervise etc and a full complement of teaching contact hours. I don’t recall maths, social studies, and language teachers having as much prep work. I know when I returned to work in the public service I put in damn longer days than I did with teaching (but felt much compensated by no longer having to endure morning school briefings, school assemblies and other mindless trivia).

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  46. Kimble (4,377 comments) says:

    Whoops, those are the kids that charter schools were said to be the reason for the development of the charter schools!

    I want you to re-read that sentence. If you dont feel shame for having written it, then don’t bother reading any further because you obviously wont be able to comprehend what follows.

    Besides, your issue is with the guy who said that the Charter Schools would definitely succeed because they will be full of kids with the most motivated parents. And that isnt me.

    I was the one who said that motivated parents of a Charter Schooled child are the same motivated parents of the current State Schooled child. So the only problem is if the aggregated performance of the schools are compared to the State schools.

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  47. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    I find it horrific that people use the phrase “average teacher” – all teachers are the same you know, I know this because the union insists it’s true.

    There is no average as that implies some form of distribution between good/average/bad – impossible when they are all the same.

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  48. doggone7 (685 comments) says:

    Kimble

    Undoubtedly I feel the same shame for not checking that sentence as you do for your missed apostrophes. My rush to get out and mow lawns is my excuse.

    Performance of schools will be able to be compared in places like the Stuff website. It is not likely that direct comparisons will be able to be made from the outset but the experience elsewhere in the world might be instructive as systems develop. It could be possible to say that when, for example, three year five kids well above the National Standards leave a school and go to the local charter school because the parents exercise their choice, their school’s published results might show the school’s year six levels as lower.
    Morons will say the state school is not doing a good job because their results are down and say look at the great job the charter school is doing for its year six pupils.

    I don’t have an issue with anyone especially some guy who suggests that charter schools would have more chance of success because they would be full of kids with the most motivated parents. I know that is the truth. John Banks is the one who has used misinformation and lies about the importance of motivated parents and pupils in his depiction of the situation of charter schools in Whangarei.

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  49. Kimble (4,377 comments) says:

    as you do for your missed apostrophes

    Oh no, I missed an apostrophe? Thats unpossible because I check for apostrophes in every sentence that I check diligently for apostrophes of.

    You think the performance of the trial Charter Schools will be solely based (or based at all) on the published national standards?

    If three year five kids leave a school they take their history with them. Obviously.

    The real performance of a school is how well they ADVANCE a kid, not how smart their kids are. Obviously.

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  50. PaulL (5,872 comments) says:

    @Kimble: I’d hope it was a bit more nuanced than that. A smart kid might both have a higher starting point, but also faster progression. So if I improve kids in one class by 6 units of learning, and kids in another class by 4 units of learning, it’s possible that the capacity of the children in the second class to learn is lower.

    Having said that, I’m pretty sure the difficulties of measurement of many service industries are well documented, and there aren’t any businesses that I’m aware of that decide the difficulty of measuring something means they won’t try, and they’ll just assume that their employees are all good.

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  51. Johnboy (14,911 comments) says:

    I cant really see that charter schools are a good idea.

    I went to the 1960′s equivalent of a charter school and look at the prick that I turned out to be! :)

    Still none of my teachers were union bastards! :)

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  52. doggone7 (685 comments) says:

    When the discussion turns to judgements being based on ‘value added’ with kids you know things are going to get interesting.

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  53. chrisdiack (18 comments) says:

    Wow I hope Rightandleft & doggone7 are not teachers because they don’t understand the Partnership Schools (PSKH) model they seeks to damn. But they are soooo smooth in misleading so methinks they are.

    First it is NOT possible for a PSKH to cost more than a state school in the same position. PSKH don’t get the land and building supplied unlike state schools. Other than not getting the land and buildings supplied they are funded to the same level as a state school in the same position.

    Both new PSKH and a new State Schools are funded more generously to begin with in recognition of of higher establishment costs.

    The PSKH funding formula focuses on attributing an approximate value for child. With roll growth if they are successful the per capita cost will drop.

    It is true that most newly opened state schools are bigger. But that’s because the biggest cost is the land and buildings. The Ministry of Education is very focused on network issues – the land and buildings – because this stuff is relatively illiquid and extremely expensive.

    PSKH measure the process of each child – where they were and where they get to educationally. The policy is less interested in comparing them to state schools. Most/many/some of the students at PSKH are unwanted or dissatisfied in other schools or will be at PSKH as part of a second chance at education.

    It is not possible for a failing PSKH to limp on like failing state schools do. Most of the issue with failing state schools are network ones (the land and buildings again). This is not a consideration with any failing PSKH – they will simply be closed.

    Actually best evidence is that teacher to pupil ratio is not a big influence on educational success – it’s the quality of the teacher and the educational leadership in the school that has more influence.

    Yes we do have a system that has the mirage of local school autonomy but its regulated and bureaucrat but yes there is autonomy except for the most important issue: the pay. There we have 14? collective agreements and over 10,000 pay and conditions variations over the100k of teachers – no wonder there are problems with the pay system. Only collective bargaining with a Government agency could produce such a tangled mess.

    Good teachers have to go into management and/or move to a bigger school management role to get a decent pay rise – or shift into the MoE. It is a disgrace and a disservice to great teachers who should be rewarded for really doing the business for the kids.

    Interestingly the teacher unions initially opposed Tomorrows Schools which introduced local school autonomy as a retrograde step in public education. Now on Kiwiblog they are the biggest boosters of local school autonomy – for them we don’t need even freer but more accountable PSKH because we already have autonomous local schools.

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  54. burt (7,797 comments) says:

    I don’t get why the National government hasn’t offered teachers a steep pay hike to abandon the union. Oh that’s right… Public service on pay bonuses to join (and stay in) a union, not to leave it.

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  55. thor42 (907 comments) says:

    I have a huge amount of respect for Alwyn Poole. He is one of the real treasures of NZ education (along with the late Doris Ferry of the Kapiti Coast with her phonics reading classes). Two wonderful and energetic people with a real passion for education and not at all afraid to “swim against the tide”.

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  56. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    rightandleft

    48 or 54 hours a week you say…..I note you did not mention the 12 weeks paid holiday a year they get.

    There are plenty, and I do mean plenty of people who would love to only work 48 or 54 hours a week, they would also love 12 weeks paid leave, and no weekend work at all.

    Nah, teaching is a breeze, you only have to look at the number of bludging left wing losers it attracts to see that.

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  57. doggone7 (685 comments) says:

    chrisdiack

    I am not a teacher but I’ll take smooth. I wish I could be as sell a line as smooth as the con about charter schools being established to deal with the ‘long tail of underachievement.’ Nice how you gently refer to that with “Most/many/some of the students at PSKH are unwanted or dissatisfied in other schools or will be at PSKH as part of a second chance at education.” Which particular of the schools do you have knowledge of? Either of the Whangarei ones? But I suppose a generic comment like that is made true by just one pupil enrolling because they are dissatisfied with their present school.

    Have I made comments about the resourcing of the new schools?

    The best indicator of educational success is inextricably tied to socio-economic factors. In a recent discussion someone listed NCEA results of secondary schools in southern Auckland. Two of the schools rubbished (well their teachers) were One Tree Hill College and Onehunga High School. Do the teachers there work as hard as the teachers at the (relatively) nearby Epsom Girls and Auckland Grammar Schools? Why are the results do different?

    Thank you for using the word ‘mirage’ in talking about school autonomy. Saying that the local school is “regulated and bureaucrat but yes there is autonomy except for the most important issue: the pay” is wrong on two counts. We might have autonomous local schools in the sense of ‘stand alone’ or ‘individual’ but do not in terms of the definition of “having the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs.” Being able to pay your own power bill and cleaners doesn’t amount to that definition.The most important thing is learning and teaching not pay. The most important need for autonomy is in those things. Autonomy is a mirage.

    If you doubt that get onto your local school Board of Trustees and see how self-determining you get to be. Autonomy is one of those sacred things ex-Minister Banks talks of in lauding the possibilities of charter schools. He wallows in the munificence of bestowing independence and the ability to be innovative on charter schools but wouldn’t do it for ordinary state schools. Thank you for the comments

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  58. itstricky (1,543 comments) says:

    Oh no, I missed an apostrophe? Thats unpossible because

    Kimble, Kimble, give me your answer do
    I’m half crazy, all for the love of trying to understand you
    It won’t be a styly argument…

    La de da.

    (a) What is ACT’s hypothesis on addressing the long tail?
    (b) What are the Government’s stats. on how much more efficient it is to spend money on setting up new schools, with new processes, over putting new programs into existing schools?
    (c) Please describe to me, in intimate detail, how a charter school is different from a state school. Please include details about where teachers come from, how the cirriculum is different and the students that are being targeted.

    Waiting…

    Waiting…

    Waiting…

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  59. kiwi in america (2,433 comments) says:

    No one is denying that the home environment makes the most contribution to success in educational outcomes. Lower socio-economic cohorts tend to struggle with issues of poor income, crime, fewer educational supports and learning traditions in the home and lower income areas struggle with drug/alcohol abuse, poorer transportation infrastructure etc etc. And yet the recent Standford University study on Charter Schools in the US http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/25/charter-schools-benefit-minorities-poor-families-study_n_3495332.html showed that the good schools in the US were not only doing better than they did vis a vis state schools 4 years ago but also that they clearly benefit low income/minority families. Low income/minority families that send their kids to charter schools face the exact same disadvantages listed above and yet they perform better.

    There is no reason to assume that Partnership Schools in New Zealand won’t perform just as well.

    Alwyn Poole was interviewed by Larry Williams on Newstalk ZB and came across, as he does in this post, as eloquent and well versed in the facts surrounding successful charter schools overseas. The harridan from the PPTA that followed him on Williams’ show conformed to every cliché of a bullying unionist complete with admitting she was not interested in reading any literature that didn’t conform to her prejudices about charter schools.

    For decades the left touted Sweden as their nirvana. Sweden still has a world ranked education system like NZ and yet charter schools have become very popular and successful there.

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  60. Kimble (4,377 comments) says:

    isttricky,

    You think I wrote that mangled sentence by accident?

    1) Ask ACT.
    2) Ask the government, but you may want to first find out how Charter Schools are being set up and funded. Or perhaps ask Chris Diack what he meant by “PSKH don’t get the land and building supplied unlike state schools.” The marginal costs of setting up a new school without paying for those things is trivial.
    3) Ask the schools themselves. Or why dont you go and see? I will just say that if the Charter Schools are no different, then there can be no question of their quality. Was it you complaining about their 15:1 ratio?

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  61. itstricky (1,543 comments) says:

    1. Wouldn’t you like to know how the money spent was going to benefit the long tail?
    2. I am sure salaries do not rank up there as ‘trivial’. Nor any of the associated costs of putting this experiment in place.
    3. Now we are saying they are no different to state schools. So..we set up a handful of state school clones, do not dictate which students go and… … … Remind me again – what was the answer to question 1? It looks to me like we’re just creating more schools for the fun of it. No rhyme no reason. There must be a reason in there somewhere…

    I have not complained about ratios. I would like to know how they get to have such a small ratio when state schools do not. Which takes me back to question 1. Again. You get the picture.

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  62. Anodos (107 comments) says:

    itstricky – ask them – took me 2 seconds to find – a.poole@mthobson.school.nz

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  63. Kimble (4,377 comments) says:

    1. You asked about ACT. I’m not ACT. Go ask ACT.
    2. Charter School are paid per child. It doesnt matter how it is split. They want a 15:1 ratio, they pay for it. It sounds like you would be OK with Charter Schools if the funding for State Schools was cut when the students go elsewhere.
    3. You asked what the differences were. Why dont you ask the schools like Anodos suggests. I reckon you wont because you dont think the real world facts matter.

    Charter Schools have the freedom to spend the money how they like in the efforts to achieve the goal of teaching kids. They could pay teachers less and focus on materials more. Or maybe they could have performance based pay for teachers. Why don’t State Schools have those options?

    Freedom doesn’t have to be justified.

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  64. itstricky (1,543 comments) says:

    1. So you don’t care how the money is being spent and if it is to address existing education problems or just peed up against a wall.
    2. And so are state schools. Primary part of their funding, paid per child. No idea what you’re going on about here but perhaps I’ve missed something.
    3. Missed the point. It is clear from everything that is said that it’s a case of just “setting up more schools for the sake of it” – they are busy convincing us that the schools are the same as state schools (because they don’t want to scare any potential students away) thereby trumpeting the registered teachers and standard cirriculum but then don’t have any clear propositions on how they are actually fixing things for just disadvantaged students.

    Charter Schools have the freedom to spend the money how they like…Why don’t State Schools have those options?

    Because they don’t want Donna Awatere Huata Mark II hanging around?

    Seriously – you’re suggesting the Government funded orgs. can do whatever the * they like with the money, with no OIA obligations to disclose what’s going on? What a bannana-republic recipe for disaster.

    Incidentally, if I was to email Alwyn I think the only question I would ask would be:

    Why did you post to Whale? You want people to take your work seriously? Dude…

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  65. Kimble (4,377 comments) says:

    1. You asked about ACT. I am not ACT.
    2. The only problem with the Charter Schools paying salaries to teachers, is that the funding isnt taken directly from the State Schools budget? If it was, then it would be a zero sum. It is the maintenance of State School funding (effectively an increase in their budget) that results in more money going on salaries.
    3.

    Incidentally, if I was to email Alwyn I think the only question I would ask would be:

    Why did you post to Whale? You want people to take your work seriously? Dude…

    If that was your only question then you have shown you dont really want an answer to 3.

    Seriously – you’re suggesting the Government funded orgs. can do whatever the * they like with the money,

    Nope. Noone is. There are strict requirements for Charter Schools. But you dont know what those requirements are, and you don’t care to find out.

    Because they don’t want Donna Awatere Huata Mark II hanging around?

    So if the State School system had freedom, they would exploit it to commit fraud? Even more reason to remove their monopoly.

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  66. Kimble (4,377 comments) says:

    To clarify 2, by making an issue of the ‘extra’ salaries you have implied that your objection would disappear if the State Schools budgets were cut to reflect the students they ‘lost’.

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  67. Kimble (4,377 comments) says:

    Damn, one more thing I thought I had said, but I suppose this gives the opportunity to expand upon it:

    The point of Charter Schools is that there is no central planning of how they will all be set up and work. Charter Schools have an limited, inherent degree of freedom, so that the people running them can decide how they would work best in their area. As opposed to some bureaucrat in Wellington.

    If the politicians had said, “you guys can set up Charter Schools, but you have to defer all funding, enrollment decisions, etc to us” then they would merely be State Schools.

    So your demand effectively translates into “Charter Schools are pointless because they aren’t State Schools.”

    And of course you refuse to ask the people who are actually deciding how these schools will be run. Because you dont care to know.

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