Lies, damn lies and Labour’s stats

February 13th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour has accused the Government of “throwing money” at with new figures showing they cost as much as five times more than state schools.

Labour education spokesman said today that newly established charter schools were receiving up to $40,000 per student per year compared with the average of $7000 for state schools.

“A handful of children are being funded at a much greater rate than the bulk of Kiwi kids,” Hipkins said.

This is beyond misleading. Charter schools get the *exact* same funding as public schools. That funding is dependent on size. A smaller school gets more per pupil than a larger school. So Hipkins is comparing small tiny schools with massive schools. Also new schools get funded for basically one off capital and property expenses.

“There is no doubt every state and integrated school in the country could dramatically improve their students’ results if their funding was increased to match that given to charter schools,” Hipkins said.

Their funding is the same as charter schools.

Education Minister Hekia Parata told Parliament that small schools cost more whether they were charter schools or state ones.

“There is a different range depending on what the size of the school is, what the nature of the achievement level required,” she said.

A brand new public school of 100 students will get the same funding as a brand new charter school of 100 students. Chippie knows this.

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51 Responses to “Lies, damn lies and Labour’s stats”

  1. alex Masterley (1,517 comments) says:

    So Chippie is being deliberately obtuse?
    Nothing changes.

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

    What would be the Minister’s view of the cost-effectiveness of creating a new public school that had an expected roll of 100 students? Care to take a guess?

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  3. MarkF (102 comments) says:

    So a Labour spokesman is handling the truth in a careless manner – quel surprise!

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  4. Reid (16,509 comments) says:

    OK so no surprise Stuff doesn’t do its job and merely repeats the press release, but the point of charter schools receiving precise same funding is the no-brainer response from the Minister, so why did Parata fumble such an obvious comeback by mumbling on about size? Why didn’t she just respond on the same-funding-received line period instead of raising a point she could easily have predicted would be obfuscated by both Liarbore and the media?

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  5. Bill Courtney (161 comments) says:

    Totally agree, Psycho Milt. That is the whole point. These schools would never be created in the state school system if they were of such small size. That is Parata’s (and Farrar’s) deliberate avoidance of the real truth.

    Many of New Zealand’s schools are small by necessity, as we must educate a lot of children in remote regions. But that argument does not apply to South Auckland.

    Contrast this to Treasury’s official advice to the incoming government after the last election. Remember there were two strands: the first was to develop into the class size debacle, and the second was to “rationalise the school network”.

    This makes the decision to deliberately create more small schools even harder to understand. Unless you are blinded by ideology, of course.

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  6. Joanne (177 comments) says:

    They really are ignorant little critters, these Labour MPs. They now need a lesson on basic maths. The education system has definitely failed them.

    Who is advising these twats?

    At least the Cullen/Clark combination were a tad less infuriating.

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  7. lolitasbrother (702 comments) says:

    this is very tricky, its election year and everything is perception. And back to the future, everybody I know with little kids want them to go to a small school.

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  8. Cunningham (844 comments) says:

    Labour telling lies?? Surely not??

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  9. YesWeDid (1,048 comments) says:

    You’re only telling 1/2 the story Farrar. Charter schools receive the same funding per student PLUS they have ‘set-up’ funding on top of this, tThey also receive a base grant and property funding.

    They do not receive the ‘exact same funding as public schools’.

    The details are here:http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/EducationInitiatives/PartnershipSchools/~/media/MinEdu/Files/TheMinistry/FundingForPartnershipSchools.pdf

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  10. srylands (410 comments) says:

    “Totally agree, Psycho Milt. That is the whole point. These schools would never be created in the state school system if they were of such small size. That is Parata’s (and Farrar’s) deliberate avoidance of the real truth.”

    Many of New Zealand’s schools are small by necessity, as we must educate a lot of children in remote regions. But that argument does not apply to South Auckland.”

    This is what gets me about the Left. They “believe” something so it is true. Like the “rich” are all tax avoiders. Or efficient markets and competition screw electricity consumers, and a state owned monopoly would be great.

    There are 514 schools in the main urban areas (Auck, Well, Hamilton, Tauranga, ChCh, Dunedin) with rolls of less than 200. These are classified as “small” schools.

    Do you want to try again?

    http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/directories/list-of-nz-schools

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  11. flipper (4,083 comments) says:

    Psycho & Bill…….

    Not dumb. Not silly, just plain, every-day, serial liars.

    Their thought processes must be so screwed that there is more brain capacity in their dirty old cloth caps, than inside their thick skulls.

    Just sick !

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  12. srylands (410 comments) says:

    “You’re only telling 1/2 the story Farrar. Charter schools receive the same funding per student PLUS they have ‘set-up’ funding on top of this, tThey also receive a base grant and property funding.”

    Yes.. exactly like new State schools.

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  13. chrisdiack (19 comments) says:

    The Labour and PPTA spin is even worse. Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua (PSKH) don’t get all the capital that state schools get i.e. provided with land and buildings.

    Many a large capacity state school is opened brand new but without enrolling its full capacity in the first year.

    If you look at the total cost including capital of the same sized PSKH and the same sized state school it is mathematically impossible of the PSKH to cost more.

    What Labour is doing to folding in what is called the “establishment costs” which is a one-off payment for the establishment of the school – the same amount is paid to state schools of the same type as PSKH. In secondary it roughly equates to the salary of five teachers, a principal and an office person plus some for stationery.

    As Hekia Parata says best to look at the establishment funding cost over the life of the PSKH (potentially 18yrs) and the number of students successfully educated.

    Also PSKH can get roll growth if they are performing. In successive years the establishment costs would be divided over a greater number of students.

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  14. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    “At least the Cullen/Clark combination were a tad less infuriating” – Yes, we knew they were following their plan for world domination, even if we didn’t like it. But with these current Labour numpties, we cant even give them that. No plan, no nothing. Just incompetent shysters.

    We need a better Opposition. And we need it now.

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

    Not dumb. Not silly, just plain, every-day, serial liars.

    Coming from such a towering intellect as yourself, that really hurts flipper.

    There are 514 schools in the main urban areas (Auck, Well, Hamilton, Tauranga, ChCh, Dunedin) with rolls of less than 200. These are classified as “small” schools.

    Do you want to try again?

    You’re supposedly the genius economist, so do you want to try again? Specifically: does the fact that there are existing small schools have any bearing on what advice the Minister would receive and what decision she would make were a proposal to set up a brand new 100-pupil state school in an urban area to be received today? You know damn well what the answer would be.

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  16. Duxton (654 comments) says:

    Shouldn’t the article refer to Hipkins as a ‘spokes-boy’?

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  17. chrisdiack (19 comments) says:

    YesWeDid:

    You are wrong. The operational funding of PSKH is broadly similar to state schools. It assumes that PSKH will be leasing. As you can imagine not two state schools are the same in terms of operational costs maintenance and repairs.

    The key point is new state schools get the capital + establishment funding + operational funding + all the other funding.

    PSKH get establishment funding (as as same state school) + operational funding (broadly similar in value to same state school) + per child funding (broadly equal to the value of the funding at the same state school).

    In addition to the point about the operational funding for state schools above, the “broadly” qualifier is because the Ministry of Education have a great many funding programmes for state schools, they have had to approximate the value of these to produce the more simplified cashed up funding model for PSKH.

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  18. chrisdiack (19 comments) says:

    Psycho

    Actually the evidence on school size isn’t clear. It really gets back to school leadership and teacher quality, rather then school size or class size.

    Consider a very small school with 6 teachers half of which are not up to the task can do more damage to the learning potential of students than three poor teachers in a 2000 student school and a staff of 180.

    However a small school with 6 great teachers succeeding with vulnerable learners might be better value for money than if those learners where in a bigger school where they did not succeed.

    The Ministry of Education have some rough rules of thumb about school size but educational outcomes are only a small consideration. Its primarily a property matter. This isn’t a big issue with PSKH.

    The key thing to understand about PSKH is that unlike failing small state schools that often linger on, PSKH can be closed quickly. As a result of not providing the capital, the all important property considerations don’t get in the way of the real issue: the quality of the education provided.

    In terms of economics what is the cost of educational failure to the lives of the student and the potential of the country. PSKH take on the most vulnerable learners and their families. They only survive if they are able to achieve educational success with these learners.

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  19. Bill Courtney (161 comments) says:

    “There are 514 schools in the main urban areas (Auck, Well, Hamilton, Tauranga, ChCh, Dunedin) with rolls of less than 200. These are classified as “small” schools.

    Do you want to try again?”

    I agree again with my colleague, Psycho Milt. The question is whether you would build a NEW school of that size in an urban area with existing capacity. Over time some schools do experience falling rolls, particularly as employment and industry changes over time. At some stage these might be rationalised (ask Trevor Mallard) but that doesn’t change the fact that NEW schools don’t get built unless they have a compelling roll growth case.

    Another point is that any new state school is an asset belonging to the Crown. It will usually retain its value for later re-use (although there has been a lot written about that in the press in recent times!)

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  20. srylands (410 comments) says:

    “You’re supposedly the genius economist, so do you want to try again? ”

    Where did you get the idea I was a genius economist? I think I have claimed to be an economist, but I am far from genius. I am not reptilian either.

    But to give you a basic lesson in economics:

    It does not matter whether they are existing or new schools.

    Those 514 “small” urban schools reflect society’s preference around school choice. If Labour thinks that the higher unit costs in those schools are not worth paying for, they should pledge to close or amalgamate them all if they win office. At that point I wil take seriously any criticism of “small” charter schools on the basis of cost.

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  21. chrisdiack (19 comments) says:

    Bill Courtney

    The Government isn’t building a new school with a PSKH – that’s the point. They don’t get given this capital.

    As to the value of the State’s property holding in education – there is billions in liability for old worn out 1950’s buildings and leaky buildings. Plus much of the this capital is in the wrong place for new population demands.

    Try again.

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

    PSKH take on the most vulnerable learners and their families.

    They do? How do they do it? The most ‘vulnerable’ learners are the ones with families who don’t give a rat’s ass about their education.

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

    But to give you a basic lesson in economics:

    It does not matter whether they are existing or new schools.

    Gee, thanks. Now, to give you a basic lesson in politics:

    It matters a shitload whether the Minister is just saying no to a new school or trying to close an existing one.

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  24. srylands (410 comments) says:

    Look this whole criticism of these schools on the basis of costs is stupid. They are small schools. That is because they are experimental. If they work great there will be more. Hopefully they will become larger in future. By 2017 it would be good to see 200 or so.

    Now Psycho think about the counter factual – the outcry that we would be getting in if the Government had established charter schools now with rolls of 2,000. Such would have been “cost effective”. Would that have made you happy psycho? No I didn’t think so.

    We know you hate charter schools. However, to repeat, leading with the cost argument is stupid.

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  25. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    Bill Courtney – You can’t complain about the government trailing Charter Schools with small rolls when the left would’ve had an absolute conniption if the government had started with 2000 roll schools instead!

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  26. Camryn (543 comments) says:

    srylands – Jinx!

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  27. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Where did you get the idea I was a genius economist?

    True, you’re a defunct economist who used to work for Treasury.

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  28. Bill Courtney (161 comments) says:

    chrisdiack,
    But they are getting paid one-off “Establish Payments” aren’t they? And these amount to $6.5 million for the first 5 schools alone.

    What rights of recovery does the Crown have on these payments if the schools do not continue?

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  29. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Who owns the land and buildings for charter schools?
    If the establishment costs paid by the taxpayer include property then either it should be as a loan or the property should be taxpayer owned, surely?

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  30. srylands (410 comments) says:

    Ross, you are simply engaging in tactics all too common at The Standard. You run out of logical arguments so you engage in infantile, ill-infomed personal attacks, behind the cover of anonymity. It does you no credit.

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  31. chrisdiack (19 comments) says:

    Bill Courtney:

    The same establishment grant is paid to new state schools of the same amount for the same school type. See my above post. The key point is that in addition, a new state school is given its capital.

    The Crown has a full range of contractual remedies if a PSKH does not perform.

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  32. chrisdiack (19 comments) says:

    RightNow:

    The PSKH owns any property it purchases. But it also carries the risk of this. The Crown has no property risk with PSKH.

    Most PSKH are leasing not purchasing. I think only one is purchasing.

    Why are you so focused on the property rather than educational outcomes.

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  33. Paulus (2,632 comments) says:

    Silly Lying little Hip Boy – nothing new here.

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  34. Huevon (222 comments) says:

    Don’t take the bait from PsychoMilt et al on this debate about charter schools. The truth is that if a Charter school could be built for $100 the Left would still oppose them, and we all know that.

    You can’t argue about statistics, economics and real world results with the Left. Their views aren’t based on reality. They’re based on *feelings* – and one of those feelings is that support for state and union controlled secular education makes you a “good” person. Any threat to that must be opposed and destroyed. This is the only way to understand the hysterical nature of the Left’s opposition to charter schools. It isn’t about facts or reason, the Right must understand that.

    And we all know that when we are talking about Charter Schools we are, in most cases, talking about state funding of Christian education. I have no problem with that, but the Right should be upfront about it.

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  35. chrisdiack (19 comments) says:

    Huevon:

    The State already funds most Christian education in New Zealand they are called state integrated schools.

    No. The purpose of PSKH is not to fund Christian education.

    The purpose is to fund an education for vulnerable learners – PSKH may or may not be Christian in character in achieving that objective.

    Interestingly, take the Catholic Schools. Their purpose is the propagation of the faith first. And a good education second. That’s why Catholic Bishops are thus far not interested in PSKH because the focus of the model is not why Catholic Bishops run schools.

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

    Don’t take the bait from PsychoMilt et al on this debate about charter schools. The truth is that if a Charter school could be built for $100 the Left would still oppose them, and we all know that.

    The irrationalism of commenters on this blog never ceases to amaze me.

    The post claims Labour is wrong to say that charter schools are being funded at a higher level than a state school would be, because a state school of such a small size as these charter schools would be funded at the same level.

    My counter-argument is that the government would never agree to fund such a small new school if it was a state one, so yes these schools are getting more funding.

    The response to that from commenters is that I wouldn’t like charter schools even if they were big or if they were cheap. Well, duh – I think they’re a right-wing exercise in union-busting and in undermining the public education system, so yes indeed I wouldn’t. The fact remains, Labour is right to point out these charter schools are being set up at an expense that would never be regarded as justified for a state school.

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  37. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    There is an additional problem here with DPF’s argument that these schools are getting equal funding and thus are competing on equal footing with the state sector. The Secondary Schools Staffing Group (SSSG) found that problems with the staffing formula mean that smaller schools benefit from much smaller average class sizes than average or larger schools.

    Many of the wonderful things the new partnership schools are promising are only possible because of their smaller class sizes, which are only possible because the schools are so small. If the government agreed that this is a good thing they should be opening more small schools in urban areas, or breaking up big ones to create multiple small schools. Of course they won’t do this because the cost is prohibitive.

    Several of the organisations opening these partnership schools had previously applied to open special character schools under the state system. They were repeatedly denied because the small size of their schools would have made them too expensive. Treasury after all was arguing for the closure of small schools, not the creation of more. But that wasn’t going to stand in the way of an ideological experiment.

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  38. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    The little rainbow loving Hipkins should stick to mincing down Main St in Upper Hutt, he is out of his depth trying to foot it with the “Men”.

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

    …he is out of his depth trying to foot it with the “Men”.

    Er, the Minister is Hekia Parata, a “Woman.”

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  40. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Well, duh – I think they’re a right-wing exercise in union-busting and in undermining the public education system

    Split out your claim. There is merit in union busting, and the public education system will benefit from it.
    I look forward to rebutting your rebuttal, I’m in the mood to barbecue some of your sacred cows.

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  41. doggone7 (808 comments) says:

    Bill Courtney: “What rights of recovery does the Crown have on these payments if the schools do not continue?”

    The Minister couldn’t give a straight answer to that awkward question. A trust gets the money, the school doesn’t continue but the funds are tied up by the trust. “The usual commercial remedies apply,” she said. For some reason that sort of answer from a politician was greeted with some skepticism. Can’t think why!

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  42. The Vanguard (1 comment) says:

    I might be able to assist people in making up their minds on this debate. As far as I am aware all PSKH schools are funded as a decile 3 school. The figures used an average state school receiving 7k per student, it would be fair to say a decile 3 school would be funded above the average. The second point to note is that at present the state pays on top of that 7k all the teacher salaries, all the property costs and all the extra funding which is something like an additional 200m that schools can tap into. PSKH are different, our per student amount must include the salaries, property and any other extra funding, effectively we are cashed up but must provide everything, this allows a school to choose what it wants to do and provide the flexibility it needs to work with the priority students.

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

    There is merit in union busting, and the public education system will benefit from it.

    So, we’re in agreement that this is an exercise in union-busting, and the disagreement is over whether it constitutes undermining of the public education system. I didn’t expect to find such ready agreement from Kiwiblog commenters, so that’s quite heartening.

    As regards undermining of the public education system, the thesis is fairly straightforward:
    1. The government introduces publicly-funded private schools (partnership schools).
    2. The partnership schools are better-funded than public schools, teach an intake of pupils whose parents by definition care a lot about their children’s educational success, draw on public schools for the difficult-to-teach stuff and send disruptive troublemakers back to the public system.
    3. Thanks to number 2, partnerships schools ‘perform’ better according to measures of pupil achievement.
    4. The government finds that private schooling is better and starts expanding public funding of private schools. The public system gets to keep the expensive and troublesome kids.

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  44. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    “So, we’re in agreement that this is an exercise in union-busting”

    I wish. I’d love for the unions to get the gang mentality kicked out of them. Unfortunately I don’t believe National is actually acting along those lines. Strange as it may seem they could actually be trying something new to help the children. Oh my God… National are thinking of the children. Fuck those evil Tory motherfuckers!

    “the disagreement is over whether it constitutes undermining of the public education system”

    Sure, let’s put that forward as a proposition: removing the monopoly of the education unions to dictate the direction of public education will be beneficial (to the children, not the unions).

    Let’s address your thesis first. My first question (because it’s the most egregious claim by you) is at what point can you call a charter school a private school? How much money do the parents have to pay to have their kids educated at a school before it is deemed a private school?
    The charter schools are still public schools by legal definitions don’t you agree?

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

    Strange as it may seem they could actually be trying something new to help the children.

    Well, it could be that they are merely trying something new to help the children and are merely incompetent at it (having failed to consult with the people who actually know anything about the subject and just adopted wholesale an ignorance-based ACT policy), but for my part, when I see an anti-union government implementing a policy that will reduce union membership and divide union members, it’s fairly clear what the reason for the policy is..

    …at what point can you call a charter school a private school? How much money do the parents have to pay to have their kids educated at a school before it is deemed a private school?

    At the point where it’s run by private interests. Whether the parents pay anything or not is irrelevant. In the case of so-called ‘state integrated’ schools, the state funds the bulk of it, and in the case of ‘partnership’ schools the state funds just about all of it, same as in public schools. It really doesn’t matter either way – what counts is who’s running the school. If it’s the parents, with the help of the principal and the Min of Ed, it’s a public school – if it’s a church or some other private organisation, it’s a private school.

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  46. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    ” If it’s the parents, with the help of the principal and the Min of Ed, it’s a public school ”

    Are the charter schools the ones that parents who don’t give a shit about their kids choose to enroll them in, or is that the public schools?

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  47. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    “New Zealand’s largest secondary school lost five teachers after a charter school was established nearby which could offer better salaries.

    The Labour Party says the situation shows the Government has created a playing field that’s not level between the new schools and state counterparts, to ensure the controversial charter or “partnership” schools succeed.”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11200998

    Oh shit, a school with 180 teachers lost 5 of them to a new school opening nearby. Those evil charter schools who are allowed to employ non-registered teachers.

    I’m only surprised the number was so low, and I think that shows Rangitoto is probably a good employer. Not surprising, since every public school has as it’s first priority to be a good employer. Before any commitment to educating the kids, they strive first and foremost to be a good employer. I guess that’s why union meetings at my kids’ school are always scheduled for Friday afternoons, so I have to leave work early to pick up the kids, while the teachers fuck off to the pub. So much for free education.

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

    So, if I understand this correctly, you don’t have any arguments, but you do have a bunch of anecdotes you’re going to present as though they were arguments.

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  49. OneTrack (3,114 comments) says:

    pyscho – “having failed to consult with the people who actually know anything about the subject”

    i assume you mean the teachers – who have already proven that they are unwilling/unable to contenance any chance from the prevailing educational dogma and that they are happy with 15% of the children apparently falling through the cracks and failing.

    The teachers who basically say it is their way or the highway. The teachers who basically say that educational achievement is nothing to do with teaching and all about how much money is given to their parents.

    Maybe, just maybe, the teachers have now marginalised themselves as ideological wonks, who are part of the problem, not the solution, that nobody sees the point in taking much notice of them anymore.

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  50. Bill Courtney (161 comments) says:

    “Rightnow: The charter schools are still public schools by legal definitions don’t you agree?”

    Wrong! If you look back at the development of the charter school model, you can clearly see the change in rhetoric regarding the status of NZ charter schools:

    In the National / ACT Party Confidence and Supply Agreement, at page 8, paragraph 3 is the following comment:
    “As at other state schools, tuition fees would not be charged.”

    The Terms of Reference of the NZ Model of Charter School Working Group, chaired by Catherine Isaac, former president of the ACT Party, stated:
    “The New Zealand model of charter school is designed to provide a class of state school that has…”

    Catherine Isaac then published an op-ed piece in the Dominion Post, dated 13 July 2012. It contained the following statements:
    “…is designed to provide more parents with local state school options that might be more effective in…” and “There is no reason for teachers and parents to oppose new ways of enabling students to succeed within the state system.”

    But within a month, by the time the Working Group published a list of FAQs in August 2012, its tune had changed:
    “Partnership Schools / Kura Hourua are fully-funded schools outside the state system…”

    Why the dramatic late change? Because to leave them inside the state system would make them subject to the OIA and many of the other regulations that govern state and state-integrated schools.

    Given how secretive charter schools are overseas, this has also been a bone of contention in the USA. Ultimately, Courts have held them to be private organisations that receive significant public funding.

    But that will never make them “public schools”.

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

    Maybe, just maybe, the teachers have now marginalised themselves as ideological wonks, who are part of the problem, not the solution, that nobody sees the point in taking much notice of them anymore.

    Maybe. Or, maybe it’s just really stupid to come up with changes to the school system by deliberately ignoring professional teachers, education academics, Ministry of Education policy advisers and anyone else who might claim to have some expertise in the field, and going with the views of people with no expertise but some very strong opinions.

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