More advantages of charter schools

November 6th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Walter Read writes:

We’re already seeing a growing body of evidence that improve students’ academic performance, but a new study suggests that the benefits continue even after students leave the classroom. Researchers from Harvard and Princetontracked a group of students from the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Promise Academy and found that, in addition to having higher test scores compared to their peers, these students were also less likely to engage in risky behaviors and enjoyed lower rates of teen pregnancy and incarceration. 

So what is the data:

That focus appears to be yielding results: surveys completed by the students—who were paid between $40 and $200 to participate—show that teenage girls who won the school lottery were 12.1 percentage points less likely to be pregnant; boys who won the lottery to Promise Academy were 4.3 percentage points less likely to be in prison or jail than counterparts who didn’t land spots in the school. Lottery winners scored higher on math and reading exams; they also were more likely to take and pass exams in courses such as chemistry and geometry. They also were 14.1 percentage points more likely to enroll in college.

Charter schools are of course an evil experiment that must be stopped!

As the researchers themselves note, Promise Academy is something of an anomaly in the charter school world. It is extremely successful and makes use of a number of rarely practiced techniques, including performance-based incentives for teachers, long school hours, and data-driven monitoring of students. So it may not be an accurate gauge of the charter world overall.

Maybe not a gauge, but a model!

Then again, one of the key advantages of charter schools is that they give faculty and administrators the chance to experiment with techniques like these without running afoul of the bureaucratic red tape and union regulations that are endemic to many public school systems. Its precisely this flexibility that makes it possible for charter schools to offer better results for students.

All for flexibility, and judging them on results.

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43 Responses to “More advantages of charter schools”

  1. BeaB (2,106 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if our teacher unions, instead of fighting every new education policy, put their efforts into making them work. There have been so many wasted opportunities going right back to Tomorrow’s Schools when David Lange gave up in exasperation at the intransigence of the unions.

    Despite the unions telling us every time that the sky is going to fall in, it never does.

    There are still a few of us left who remember when the PPTA was a professional association that not only was fully involved in educational change but actually initiated some of the best.
    Sadly those days are long gone and teachers’ pay and public image have both suffered as a result.

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

    You’re a guy who knows about stats, right? So you must presumably be aware that these results could tell us at least two things:

    1. Charter schools make kids less likely to do bad stuff.

    or

    2. Kids who are less likely to do bad stuff are more likely to go to charter schools.

    So, given that we know that parents with a stronger interest in their kids’s educational success (and therefore presumably other forms of success) are more likely to try and get their kids into a charter school, and that charter schools weed out the troublemakers and non-performers by sending them back to the public system, which of those two things the results might be telling us do you think is likely to be the correct one?

    [DPF: So you're saying that those parents who care for how their kids do, should not have the choice of charter schools available to them? How appalling]

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  3. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    As I have pointed out before a key problem with these studies is they compare US charter schools to US public schools, when NZ public schools are already more similar to many US charters than publics. The US public system is so incredibly different to the NZ system they cannot be compared. Their teacher unions have actually won much stricter rules than we have in NZ, they have strictly set curricula imposed by a centralised authority driven by standardised tests. They have strict school zones that give each public school an effective monopoly.

    The Tomorrow’s Schools model charters in NZ have the advantages of local control, competition and choice with the benefits of some state regulation like decile funding to ensure low socio-economic level students get proper help (though the current decile funding formula is flawed and will soon be replaced), and a form of school zoning that ensures each child a place in a local school without excluding them from attending other schools. The new partnership model charter schools remove many protections, taking a much higher risk with our students’ futures. The article points out that the Harlem charter school they looked at was an unusually good one. In fact many US charter schools are failures and have to be shut down. The areas where they work tend to be where they have state regulations similar to what we have for Tomorrow’s Schools in NZ.

    If we look at the first 5 schools chosen for the partnership school experiment in NZ there’s not much to be impressed with. They all had serious weaknesses in their applications. One is located on the affluent North Shore and may have been helped by the fact that John Banks’ son attended. Two are Maori-language schools with some serious issues. They need state school teachers to help them with delivery of their core curriculum subjects because they can’t do it on their own. How is that an improvement on the state system? Mt Hobson Middle School is supposed to be targeting Maori and Pasifika children but have no experience with working in those communities in the past. They promote their Christian special character but ignore that many successful Christian schools with much longer experience in that community already exist in South Auckland. Furthermore all 5 could have been created under the previous legislation as special character schools without removing protections like OIA oversight and teacher registration requirements.

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  4. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    I forgot one other key point. Tomorrow’s Schools charters can get private funding and support, but they still have the advantage of having a local board of trustees so the school is answerable to the local community and fits the special character of that community. Partnership schools have no board of trustees to make them locally accountable. That actually eliminates one of the key reasons the charter schooling movement was created. Instead they are controlled only by a private board, one which could potentially put profits ahead of community need.

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  5. dime (9,795 comments) says:

    But but but there is a charter school in alabama that is under performing!

    Therefor, all charter school are bad.

    Parents in NZ have tons of choice! They can either send their kids to a public school or scrape together 15 stacks a year and go private, without receiving a tax break.

    What concerns me the most is how much importance will these doomed to fail charter schools place on the treaty of waitangi?

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  6. Camryn (538 comments) says:

    Psycho Milt – it appears to be a study comparing successful versus unsuccessful applicants. The selection bias you point out does not apply.

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  7. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Do some work R&L – it is school time and all good PPTA members and teachers should be helping kids.

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  8. dime (9,795 comments) says:

    “One is located on the affluent North Shore”

    lol so?

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  9. dime (9,795 comments) says:

    “teacher registration requirements”

    lol again.

    I guess its good all these pedos are registered somewhere?

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

    LeftandRight
    What utter bollocks you are spouting about American schools. The truth is almost the opposite. The US Federal Department of Education is relatively powerless compared to the Min Ed in NZ as curricula are decided by the 14,000 separate school districts. Even State Departments of Education in many states lack the top down curriculum control that exists in NZ. The quality and flavour of school districts can differ even in the same metropolitan area let alone across State lines. Yes they have strict school zones in most areas but so does New Zealand. In many areas charter schools allow choice that never previously existed. If you outside the zone of a popular school in NZ and want your child to attend, you face a lottery. US school districts feature local commissioners that are all elected by the community in which they live – much like the BOT model in NZ.

    If the NZ trial schools are so flawed then it will become immediately apparent and parents can return their child to a state school. No one is forcing anyone to send their child to a charter school.

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  11. Samuel Smith (276 comments) says:

    Act Party Policy – Smell a rat?

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  12. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    Rightandleft

    “If we look at the first 5 schools chosen for the partnership school experiment in NZ there’s not much to be impressed with. They all had serious weaknesses in their applications.”

    I know about one of the first five and think it has some things to be impressed about. What is least impressive about it and a serious weakness in its application is that John Banks (the ex-Minister of Charter Schools?) lied about it and has misrepresented stuff about it to give the scheme a golden glow.

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  13. dime (9,795 comments) says:

    “Act Party Policy – Smell a rat?”

    nup, just a bludger terrified the govt will cut him off one day

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  14. cha (3,935 comments) says:

    When you look at the state of their public schools it’s pretty damn obvious why charter schools are a better option.

    http://www.southerneducation.org/getattachment/0bc70ce1-d375-4ff6-8340-f9b3452ee088/A-New-Majority-Low-Income-Students-in-the-South-an.aspx

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  15. Mark (1,471 comments) says:

    I remain skeptical that that there is any sort of Panacea for the poor performance of the bottom 20% from Charter schools but always have seen these marginal policy ideas put up my minor political parties as the price of MMP. Trying to justify it as anything other than that is a waste of time.

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  16. Bob (496 comments) says:

    It seems like the same arguments are going on in America over charter schools with the same intransigent teacher unions. The following YouTube video is quite interesting –

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  17. E. Campbell (90 comments) says:

    Sigh. US charter schools are set up to break away from controlling educational districts. If the school district sucks, which many do, charter schools often appear. The entire NZ public school system is a charter school system in US terms. Each NZ public school is responsible to its own community via the BoT. The Tomorrow’s Schools reforms of 1989 radically reduced centralised control over public schools, so comparing the systems is not like for like at all.

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  18. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    The only person that tries to make the comparison is R&L. The NZ Partnership Schools are not set up to solve the US problem but to deal with specifics in NZ.

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  19. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    dime,

    The location on the affluent North Shore is very relevant. The schools are specifically meant to help in low-income areas with a focus on Maori and Pasifika students. The Ministry itself raised concerns over Vanguard Military School being located in North Shore, an affluent area. Hekia Parata ruled out opening any charter schools in West Auckland because she didn’t think they needed any, yet allowed one on the Shore that just happened to have been John Banks’ son’s school. Teacher registration is a requirement the vast majority of the public want to see. You really think removing registration would protect our students more? If a few slip through the registration net how many more will get through without it?

    kiwi in America,

    I never said they were federally controlled, I said centrally controlled, as in not at a school by school level but at a state or district level. I grew up in the US, I know how that system works. Every state is different, with some, like Texas, setting state-wide curricula with a high level of detail in what can and can’t be taught. Others do indeed leave it up to districts with elected school boards. But these boards control all the schools in the district, different from having a BOT running each individual school and interpreting the curriculum to suit their particular needs. While the NZ Curriculum is set nationally it is far more broad and open to interpretation in how it is applied than most US curricula. NZ also lacks the standardised testing regime which really drives teaching in the US. Those exams, per No Child Left Behind, are driven by state-set exams which force all schools in the state to teach very similar content if they want to keep their funding. I remember weeks of preparing for the MCAS exam which had just come in when I was a kid. It was entirely multiple guess and they had to change our whole curriculum to fit it. The new Common Core Standards adopted by 48 of the 50 states may lead to further standardisation.

    NZ school zones are not the same as US zones by any means. NZ schools can have overlapping zones and parents could have a choice between a religious school, a co-ed school or a single-sex school, maybe even a Maori-language school or other special character school all for free as part of the public system. In the US your choice is between a secular co-ed school or a charter school, or paying for private schools.

    Anodos,

    Sorry it took so long to respond, as my seniors have now left I was just doing a 2 hour tutoring session with my scholarship students.

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  20. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    Anodos either you are not reading anything I write or you are being deliberately ignorant. My argument above is exactly the same argument that E.Campbell is making, that US charter schools are a solution for US public system problems and we already have those reforms through our Tomorrow’s Schools system which means we should not be saying the solution to US problems will be the answer to ours too.

    DPF is the one who keeps citing American data and examples to claim charter schools will therefore work in NZ, not me.

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  21. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    No. What DPF is using the data for is to show the nonsense of the PPTA position that there is no evidence from anywhere that state-private provision options can improve educational achievements (and flow on outcomes). You keep prattling that we already have options, choice and “charter schools.” If there is no demand no one will go to these schools. If there is no need for choice and parents are happy with current schools they will stay there. As to the PPTA outlook that nothing needs changing… please explain these stats.

    Otahuhu College – Level 1 failure – 59.7%

    Southern Cross Campus – Level 1 failure – 39.6%

    Aorere College – Level 1 failure – 41.5%

    Papatoetoe High School – level 1 failure – 48.6%

    Mangere College – level 1 failure – 47.5%

    Tangaroa College – level 1 failure – 45.2%

    One Tree Hill – level 1 failure – 46%

    Onehunga High School – level 1 failure – 48.7%

    Tamaki College – level 1 failure – 73.6%

    James Cook High School – level 1 failure – 52.8%

    Annual state spending on those schools $87.5million

    You don’t think the parents in these areas mightn’t be looking for better for their children and other options.

    Keep up your good work with the scholarship students – but spare a thought for the massive percentage in these cohorts who have not got options and the PPTA’s only intervention is to oppose everything.

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  22. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    First of all I don’t just blindly agree with the PPTA all the time. I’m fine with national standards for example, though I think they certainly need improvements like being moderated properly. I don’t have any problem with league tables, parent choice and competition. I don’t like these partnership schools for reasons I have detailed many times before. I don’t see any reason these schools will help improve the stats you listed above. I think we should instead be looking at the South Auckland schools which have better stats and learning how they do it. There are state schools using registered, unionised teachers following the national curriculum and succeeding in impoverished areas of this country. What programmes are they running? We should replicate them, not try to reinvent the wheel and pour money into an experiment that was designed to fix public systems that are not like ours and rank significantly below ours. The fact that all five of the first partnership schools, the ones that were chosen from dozens of applicants, look very questionable, is even more concerning. If these were the best of the bunch what will the next set look like?

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

    Rightandleft
    Your more recent comparison is more accurate and nuanced than your first effort. The NZ partnership schools are not blindly following an American script. There are excellent British and Swedish models to draw on – charter schools succeed in both countries with education systems markedly different from the US. At the end of the day this is a trial and if they are so bad and so mismatched to the NZ environment as you claim then they’ll flop. Credit at least some of the owners/founders with the ability to learn from the best of overseas models and adapt them to the unique kiwi situation. If so then why is a trial such a threat?

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  24. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    R&L – You haven’t answered the question. The PPTA has been around a long time and those results are now at that level. There has always been the opportunity for the PPTA to do what you suggest. Can you explain the results please – your organisation must take a significant level of responsibility.

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  25. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    Honestly Anodos I want to give you an answer right now, but I don’t have the time to write a proper response as I take the boys volleyball team and I have take them to their match now. So don’t go complaining I’m running away from the argument, I’ll write you an answer later tonight.

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  26. dime (9,795 comments) says:

    “The location on the affluent North Shore is very relevant. The schools are specifically meant to help in low-income areas with a focus on Maori and Pasifika students”

    ever driven past the place youre talking about? what they currently do.

    not a lot of rich whities in there.

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  27. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    E. Campbell: “…. The entire NZ public school system is a charter school system in US terms. Each NZ public school is responsible to its own community via the BoT. The Tomorrow’s Schools reforms of 1989 radically reduced centralised control over public schools, so comparing the systems is not like for like at all.”

    In recent years has there been “radically reduced centralised control over public schools” from Wellington? I think the opposite is the case. Get onto you local BOT and see. The massive contradiction in what John Banks has continually spouted about charter schools is around the importance of them having the freedom and power to make their own decisions as they see fit.

    This is the freedom he has not been willing to give to community boards of trustees. He has been in a position to put his money where his mouth is and has proven to be a hypocrite. His mouth is in privatising schools and so he has put his money into Charter Schools.

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  28. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    dime,

    I’m not denying that there are pockets of poverty on the North Shore, I live just outside the boundaries of an area called Northcote Central, one of the poorest sections of Auckland right in the middle of the Shore. But these schools are supposed to go in areas where there are large areas of low-decile communities not just pockets. Northcote Central is still served by decile 9 Northcote College. The only high school below decile 6 on the Shore is Hato Petera because it take in boarders from rural areas. There are no failing schools on the Shore. There are significant areas of poverty in West Auckland yet Parata would not allow charter schools to be established there. The Ministry themselves questioned opening one on the North Shore.

    Anodos,

    First of all the results across the country have been showing improvement for the last decade for all ethnicities. With the new targets set by National for 85% of all students to get Level 2 there has been a major push to get those pass rates up. Programmes like Gateway have been helping. There has had to be a shift in thinking in the education world from the days when exams ensured a certain percentage always failed, to the NCEA system where we want everyone to pass. That change is now fully complete and the results are going up.

    PPTA isn’t just fighting for the status quo, there have been constant calls for changes they think will make a difference. Smaller class sizes, more professional development for teachers, better teach appraisal systems, differentiated learning, senior subject advisors, specialist classroom teachers, the PB4L (Positive Behaviour for Learning) and Te Kotahitanga programmes are all steps the PPTA has actively supported even when many of them mean more workload for teachers without higher pay, because they improve education.

    The schools that still have high fail rates are all located in areas of real need. Many PPTA members think the problem is best addressed by reducing the inequality in the community itself, as the poverty is the real problem and teachers can’t fix the damage dysfunctional families do when they only see their students a few hours a week. Some feel Tomorrow’s Schools has made the problem much worse because competition has discouraged schools from working together and sharing successful strategies with their neighbours. More motivated parents take their kids out of the failing schools and move them out of zone, compounding the problem. If all children had to go to their local school it would force parents to lobby for improvements in the local schools, in all schools, rather than ignoring it as someone else’s problem. To most PPTA members partnership schools will only worsen that problem, making inequalities even greater.

    My personal view though, is that competition is good because monopoly is pretty much always bad. We must continue to having zoning not to prevent competition but as a safety net to ensure every child has a school that must accept them. The Ministry needs to step in, as they have by giving more funding to PB4L, to make sure best practice is being recognised and bringing those practices to similar schools that are struggling. I also think better support for learning disabled kids, ESOL kids and special education is key. The school I teach at has an awful time getting funding for the teacher aides we need, and I know as a member of our BOT that it is a constant battle to keep our Learning and Behaviour Support unit funded and the kids who need reader/writers for exams covered. There is also a major problem with parents viewing the ‘donation’ as something providing for extras when in fact without it we cannot fund core services, and this is common at many schools. I’m not saying more money alone is the answer. Spending what we get smarter is part of it, but more funding isn’t going to hurt.

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  29. OneTrack (2,981 comments) says:

    “DPF: So you’re saying that those parents who care for how their kids do, should not have the choice of charter schools available to them?”

    Yes, that is what he is saying. Choice is anathema to the left and, hence, the teaching unions.

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  30. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Frankly not good enough R&L. Schools are set up to break people out of holes – not accept that they, and the teachers in them, are help-less through socio-economics. If they teacher at those schools are simply accepting that level of failure the PPTA should be telling them to look for another career. PPTA are asking Charter Schools to be accountable for their funding….the schools listed average $9 million per year – $45 million each over 5 years. How accountable are they for change and improvement. Their budgets make CS budgets look like chump change.

    Your only real proposal there is to force families to attend failing schools.

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  31. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    Promise Academy is something of an anomaly in the charter school world. It is extremely successful and makes use of a number of rarely practiced techniques, including performance-based incentives for teachers, long school hours, and data-driven monitoring of students.

    Oh cra* I forgot schools were *actually* companies. Just like NZ Inc. A company, not a country.

    Hey Joe, can you come out and play today? Nup, sorry mate, haven’t met my KPIs this week, got a spend a couple of extra hours on the 11 times tables and then Mr Big ‘ll flick me an apple next week.

    They are kids FGS. Kids. Give them some semblance of good character, wisdom, imagination, williness, confidence and hard working attitude. Don’t treat them like factory workers from day one. Think of the kids! (and the whales, of course).

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  32. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    itstricky; “Don’t treat them like factory workers from day one. Think of the kids! ”

    Think of it as a factory. The kids are malleable material to be made into the perfect product ready to be stamped with “Passed” as they leave the production line. The teachers are the factory workers who will be paid on the number who gain the treasured “Passed.”

    Anodos asked for the explanation of the stats Otahuhu College – Level 1 failure – 59.7%, One Tree Hill – level 1 failure – 46%, etc. The answer obviously is that compared to schools close to them, Kings College and St Cuthberts College respectively, whose percentages of success are much higher, the factory workers at Otahuhu and One Tree Hill are not doing a very good job.
    There you go, quite simple! That’s why the simpletons find it so easy to understand. Fortunately they must’ve been edumicated when the factory workers done good ’cause they came out real bright like.

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  33. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Thanks d7 – now I understand. From your diagnosis – what is the solution – more of the same? Same results for those schools in ten years time?

    And – itstricky – of course they are kids and I don’t see any factory models in the NZ proposals. But don’t you think kids might like hope of what the call success as well as the things you mention. Don’t you think they might like to be taught by people who think they have ability regardless of background and who see the 6 hours a day as an opportunity.

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  34. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    Okay dokey. I can’t tell if Anodos is being sarcastic or not…

    Don’t you think they might like to be taught by people who think they have ability regardless of background and who see the 6 hours a day as an opportunity.

    An opportunity, or an extra commission on their paycheck?

    An opportunity would be the public school method, of where I personally know of many teachers who act, feel and live this every day.

    An extra commission would appear to be the Promise Academy FactoryCharter School way. Here Joe (whoops, nope that was the previous example). Here Bob, the factory worker, you’ve pumped out 50 units that have passed this year and you made them all alike, perfectly uniform and ready for serious money making. Please accept this pittance as our debt of gratitude for your obvious contribution to society. Sorry, the money’s actually printed by Amatil – you have to trade it in for Coke. What’s that? NO! Not the drug, the fizzy drink. What do you mean it’s been banned?

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  35. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Bit of both. The genuine question was about the cause of the results for the 10 schools listed – you gave your view on the cause. I genuinely want to know your solution – because long terms public schooling and 10s of millions of dollars going in year after year does not seem to be having the desired effect – despite the best efforts of the many teachers you know personally.

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  36. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    doggone7, very simple, very simple indeed.

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  37. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    I mean – in terms of accountability ERO go in every three years and check they are following their equity policies and EEO plan…but no one goes – WTF? Where did $50 million go? And why are the vast majority of your Year 11 students not even getting Level 1 NCEA – the easiest qualification in the world?

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  38. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    I didn’t give you a view on the cause. Socioeconomics, my friend. I thought doggone7 sorted that one out for you.

    As per above, and as per every other charter school discussion:

    To which you will say: You are dooming them to failure

    To which I will say: But, in very simple terms, why don’t they put the millions of dollars into existing ideas, proven experience, schemes and support structures? Why create whole new entities for the sake of it?

    To which you will say: So parents have choice

    To which I will say: But they already have choice. In fact, too much choice. So much choice they loose days of sleep trying to decide where to send their kids, half afraid that if they don’t choose the “right” school their kids will be abject failures for the rest of their lives.

    And so we loop back to the beginning. The system is not a company. It’s not a factory. You don’t choose a school because it gives you the best range of sunhat colours at the best price for your kid, all made from the best fabric, in Taiwan.
    You support your child and give them the willingness, inquisitiveness and confidence. They take care of the rest and teachers aide them in those skills. Those not meeting the grade can be supported with programmes to give them those basic skills that makes the rest of it a breeze.

    Or, you could give all your money to factory to pump them out spouting 12 times tables, and hey presto we’ve met the numbers, we’re in the black, the auditors give the big tick, we all get bonuses and everybody is happy.

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  39. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    Clearly I am getting tired…

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  40. doggone7 (769 comments) says:

    Anodos

    (I recall the old saying ‘don’t answer a question with a question’ as I write this.)

    What are the common factors about the listed schools besides their perceived lack of success?
    Otahuhu College, Southern Cross Campus, Aorere College, Papatoetoe High School, Mangere College,Tangaroa College,One Tree Hill
    Onehunga High School, Tamaki College, James Cook High School.

    Which are other schools in the country with similar success rates? Are characteristics of those schools common to those of the Auckland ones besides their lack of success? Is it that the accumulation of the poorest teachers work in those schools to achieve those results? Is it that the accumulation of the best teachers work in the highest achieving schools? What are the common characteristics of the highest achieving schools?

    After those non-partisan questions one in a contentious vein (not addressed to sensible points of view you pose) as a general pondering to some of the rabid stuff about schooling seen here regularly; How come dirty low-down, scumbag, lefty, socialist, communist cloth-cap unionist teachers do so poorly for the kids in the listed schools when the same sort of dirty low-down, scumbag, lefty, socialist, communist cloth-cap unionist teachers do so well in so many other schools geographically so close?

    And the final thought to sleep on for the night: What if John Banks had really exercised his power as an Associate Minister of Education and closed down and sold off the One Tree Hill and Onehunga campuses and used the money on the schools those kids could have been sent to, Epsom Girls and Auckland Grammar? The schools would have grown a lot bigger, but showing the entrepreneurship he often mentions, the challenges could be met. And think, there’d be no need to scour the district to award sports scholarships!

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  41. Rightandleft (662 comments) says:

    Anodos,

    You have again ignored all my real points. You have clearly already arrived at your conclusions, that these schools fail students because unionist teachers blame the kids’ failure on their ethnicity or poverty and wash their hands of it, and nothing I say is going to change your mind. Instead you repeatedly put words in my mouth. Where did I say these kids can’t be helped because they are poor? I pointed out several programmes PPTA has supported that would help increase their pass rates and I listed several ways I thought the Ministry could help raise their achievement rates. Do you consider it a sin just to acknowledge the fact that students from low socio-economic backgrounds have lower achievement rates in general? That’s a fact acknowledged by all the research and by ERO and the Ministry. You keep making out like PPTA just doesn’t care, wants only to protect lazy, indifferent teachers who let their kids fail because they are from the wrong suburb or ethnicity. I can only assume you have a personal grudge colouring your views on this.

    If you’re asking me what the magic formula for success is, I don’t have the answer. My school gets excellent results, well above national averages in every category and we’re a mid-decile school catering to a sizable number of kids from very low socio-economic level families, over 80 nationalities and range of other issues. How do we excel? I have no idea. ERO says it is our sense of community that sets us apart. But would our methods work in a low-decile area of South Auckland? Maybe, but maybe not. Working individually, seeing only the experience of our own schools makes it hard to come up with new solutions. We need the Ministry to do a better job of educating the educators on what is working for mid-decile and low-decile schools.

    I don’t believe for a second that schools like Onehunga are failing because of they have a concentration of incompetent or prejudiced teachers because I know incredibly committed, nearly workaholic teachers at Onehunga, at Southern Cross, at One Tree Hill and others. People who give up their holidays to take students on character building tramping trips, who open their classrooms to tutor sessions at tea and lunch every day. There’s no way you can tell me the teachers or their union membership is the problem. If they are failing because they don’t have the right methods that is something proper professional development will solve, something the PPTA has been begging for year after year, but which has been cut back again and again to save money.

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  42. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    R&L. To put my point to you directly. With their fight against Charter Schools the PPTA are doing themselves, teachers and children no good what-so-ever. It is simply too easy to see through. It is no point arguing for accountability for $19m over 4 years (and approx 800 kids) while not publicly being seen to be even more worried about accountability for schools getting the types of results above (and every child in them), and very visibly being seen to be working to change things powerfully for teacher and staff in those schools.

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  43. itstricky (1,772 comments) says:

    With their fight for charter schools ACT is simply too easy to see through. It is simply no good to be seen to be pushing the creation of new schools for poor achievers whilst simultaneously not having a way to specifically target said poor acheivers and demanding less qualified teachers and less regulation. Good thing they are about as dustbin bound as this thread. No evidence for any of that BTW just a generic biased rant. Hope DPF relegates it all to a ‘failed minor party policy’ in a year’s time.

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