Choice bad in Hamilton

January 28th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Hundreds of students are on waiting lists for Hamilton’s most popular high schools while others are struggling to fill their rolls before the start of term.

Competition for positions at the city’s most in-demand schools has seen some families move house to skip the queue.

However, the blatant preference for some schools over others has renewed calls for parents to send their children to the school closest to home.

“There are unfortunate consequences from school choice and I think you’re seeing that potentially play out in the Waikato,” Post Primary Teachers’ Association president Angela Roberts said.

Flight from one school – “which isn’t necessarily because the school is any worse than the school they’re flying to” – is often based on perception, rather than reality, she said.

But often it isn’t. There is a reason parents want Hamilton Boys’ High School over Fairfield College.

Zoning is stupid, because it still preserves choice – it just restricts it to wealthy people who can buy or rent in the right zone.

I’m all for choice. But for those against choice, I have a solution they should promote.

All students in a city get randomly assigned to a school within say 10 kms of them. No choice at all.

If choice is such a bad thing, with parents making decisions based on perception, this policy would stop it. I look forward to it being Labour or Green party policy!

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26 Responses to “Choice bad in Hamilton”

  1. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    OMG – This parental choice must be stopped !!!!!!

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  2. Simon (727 comments) says:

    Story up and down the country.

    Good families will do anything to get their kids into schools away from the children of single mother welfare boguns.

    Angela Roberts lies.

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  3. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    I still think that removing school zoning could be an answer to the inflated housing market in some areas. Houses in the right zone can attract a premium of 50 to 100k for simply being on the right side of an imaginary line…..

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  4. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    Again, within a week, the zoning discussion. Maybe some genuine, sensible ideas for solutions for the problems will get put forward, acknowledging the situations likely to arise with straight up getting rid of zoning.

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  5. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    I was an out of zone student in Auckland.

    Why not just let these schools expand and let the other schools die. If HBHS is popular it means parents want discipline. Hair can’t be below the collar etc. Why not let the Board and Management of these desirable schools take over the undesirable ones.

    Three schools stand out as being undesirable – Melville, Fraser and Fairfield and Hamilton Girls is iffy.

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  6. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    But often it isn’t. There is a reason parents want Hamilton Boys’ High School over Fairfield College.

    Too right DPF! It’s a big thing moving your kid from one school to another, people aren’t idiots and they don’t do it for no reason.

    Note to the PPTA person:

    Some schools really really are just shit at what they do, and parents notice this.

    Address that and maybe “flight” will stop..?

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  7. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    However I think zoning is a good thing, it maintains a link between a schools and a community.

    The right to attend local schools must be maintained, without it you’ll find pupils with special needs or slightly higher costs being bumped. Without zoning a school can decide that it doesn’t want to deal with problems.

    Remove zoning and given the choice between a local kid with dyslexia versus academic superstar fee paying student from china who are the school going to take ?

    Schools need to be firmly rooted in their local communities. Impacts on the housing market aren’t the schools problem.

    Once they’ve taken their local kids, then sure expand as much as you want with out of zone and international kids.

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  8. ToyDivision (1 comment) says:

    Why is zoning stupid, David?

    I agree that it does not end choice, but Labour won’t admit that choice is inevitable, and National won’t admit that it is illusory for many parents. Put simply, once the top performing school has been filled, by whatever criteria, those who have missed out have no real choice. And inevitably people will move into the zones of the best schools, whether that is due to unjustified perception or justified by the school’s results. All things considered then, at least allow students to go to their nearest school, on the grounds of simplicity.

    Your impish suggestion is actually policy in Brighton & Hove Council in the UK, I believe, which is a Labour-controlled council. Having said that, I don’t support it as an obvious unintended consequence is poor children being forced to travel for miles to school, all in the name of ‘fairness’. I think the only answer is to keep zoning and look at the problem from the other angle. If other schools in proximity to a popular school can be improved, and not at the popular school’s expense, then parents may be less concerned with joining the stampede to the ‘good’ school.

    Anyway, Labour would never abolish zoning for ideological reasons, and National wouldn’t for pragmatic reasons, as there is a risk it would play havoc with the house prices of those aspirational voters who have spent large to get into the right zone, most of whom are right-leaning voters, I would guess.

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  9. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    “…..Zoning is stupid, because it still preserves choice – it just restricts it to wealthy people who can buy or rent in the right zone….”

    Hardly.

    If they were wealthy DPF and went to the trouble of moving house – then wouldn’t it be more simpler just to pay private school fees instead?

    It’s more a case of them being smart and investing in property in an area with ‘much needed amenities’ in this case a school.

    People do it all the time, usually with both work and school distance in mind – or the beach. It’s the property market working efficently – as it should.

    But yes zoning is stupid, but then so too is the whole public school system.

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  10. Scott Chris (6,149 comments) says:

    Allow successful schools to expand more easily to cope with demand. Build high-rise classrooms if you have to.

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  11. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Decent people don’t want their children mixing with decadent trash being bred for income, which will only get a damn sight worse if Cunliffe and his Green mates ever get near Treasury benches. It is also a disgrace when kids have two mothers or two fathers masquerading as parents, imparting their disgusting doctrine on anyone who comes in contact with them.

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  12. ex-golfer (165 comments) says:

    @igm
    Your daily dose of bitterness cracks me up.
    Are you ever happy with your lot?
    I picture you as someone who when not commenting here wanders up and down Lambton Quay in a faded raincoat muttering to yourself and spitting at those less fortunate than your great self when they dare to walk in your footsteps.

    Yes the left are bad.
    Yes we get it you hate them.

    Why don’t you enjoy your life?

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  13. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    All students in a city get randomly assigned to a school within say 10 kms of them.

    I have always described children who attend school as ‘pupils’.  As far as I am aware, students attend university or polytech.

    I know in Australia they call the lot of them ‘students’, but I do find the standard of English in Australia to be appalling so I have never taken that to be any real authority.  I think they are still called pupils in the UK.

    Of course, I was unaware that the term ‘profession’ now applies to every occupation, meaning that the people working at McDonalds are ‘professionals’, so what do I know?

    On topic, why don’t we just allow acquisitions and mergers among schools?

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  14. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    The Governments changes will mitigate this problem but getting the best talent in education spread around. That benefits all parents not a few having a baby.

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  15. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Schools need to be firmly rooted in their local communities.

    Why?

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  16. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    The right to attend local schools must be maintained, without it you’ll find pupils with special needs or slightly higher costs being bumped. Without zoning a school can decide that it doesn’t want to deal with problems.

    So forcing schools to take a student they don’t want is going to give better results… how exactly?

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  17. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    I have no issue with choice but there needs to be safeguards of some sort for children who live within the normal catchment of a state school being able to go to that school as of right. It would be absurd if for example a state school refused to take a local resident because their family could not afford the annual donation set by the Board of Trustees. Take Auckland Grammar by way of example. It has reportedly set its annual donation at $1,000. Should a child where AG is their local college miss out because a child from 10 km away with wealthy parents can afford the freight.

    As long as their are safeguards against these sorts of issues then going to a school of choice is fine even if not that efficient from the governments perspective.

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  18. Bad__Cat (140 comments) says:

    “Flight from one school – “which isn’t necessarily because the school is any worse than the school they’re flying to” – is often based on perception, rather than reality, she said.”

    Without ever having been to Fairfield, I would bet this comment is bullshit. I would also bet that Fairfield College places emphasis on social and Maori subjects, as opposed to the other school placing emphasis on subjects that will lead to actual jobs.

    This scenario is repeated regularly throughout NZ, and the situation will not change until the senior staff are given the heave ho, and a new broom introduces useful education. If this was private enterprise, it would either change or go bust.

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  19. Mark (1,488 comments) says:

    A lot of posters are working from the premise that the NZ education system is broken. The system for a majority of students works well. For a section of the student population is does not work well and needs to be improved. What is not clear however is whether this is a fault of the schooling system or whether the issues are as much related to what goes or doesn’t go on at home. Perhaps it is a bit of both.

    The system is not perfect and it is good to see the politicians understand that it needs to be improved but a number of posters on this blog would try to have us believe that it is fucked beyond salvage. If that is the case then our genius children are making their way despite their useless unionist teachers who are apparently a waste of valuable oxygen.

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  20. gravedodger (1,566 comments) says:

    “Schools must be rooted firmly in their communities.”

    Sadly too many schools are rooted, hence Key’s policy announcement last week.

    Consumers and the market tend to make good decisions when they are allowed to.

    Also a bit conflicted with the presumed intent of the quote above when considered in the light of the New Lynn MP slumming it in Herne Bay, now that is community involvement, Yeah Right

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  21. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    If they were wealthy DPF and went to the trouble of moving house – then wouldn’t it be more simpler just to pay private school fees instead?

    You’d think, but in reality it doesn’t work that way.

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  22. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Get rid of zoning and it’s the schools that do the choosing, not the parents. National wouldn’t get rid of zoning for that simple reason. Imagine you’re an idiot social climber who’s forked out half a mil over the odds for a house in the Auckland Grammar zone, so that your thicko kid can go there. Suddenly, a National government ditches zoning, Auckland Grammar can pick and choose its students from anywhere it likes, there’s no way it’ll be picking your dumbass offspring thank you very much, and you forked out half a mil for this! Tarred and feathered Nat MPs in wealthy electorates around the country….

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  23. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    ToyDivision; “Anyway, Labour would never abolish zoning for ideological reasons, and National wouldn’t for pragmatic reasons, as there is a risk it would play havoc with the house prices of those aspirational voters who have spent large to get into the right zone, most of whom are right-leaning voters, I would guess.”

    Are you sure that National wouldn’t get rid of school zoning for ‘pragmatic’ reasons which have nothing to do with schooling, education and doing the best for kids? Surely not!!!

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  24. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Tarred and feathered Nat MPs in wealthy electorates around the country

    Because it’s well known that social climbers have no problem admitting their kid is too dumb to get into a good school.

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  25. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    FE Smith: I enjoy my life, just upsetting a rainbow like you makes my day.

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  26. ex-golfer (165 comments) says:

    @igm
    You may want to put your bi-focals back on.
    It was not FES who made the comment you related to.
    And given I am from the same political persuasion as your fine self it is strange you consider me a rainbow.
    Far from upsetting me, you crack me up……..as I first said.

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