The success of US charter schools

June 11th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Philanthropy Roundtable writes:

Twenty-five years ago, hadn’t even been dreamed up. Today they are mushrooming across the country. There are 6,500 operating in 42 states, with more than 600 new ones opening every year. Within a blink there will be 3 million American children attending these freshly invented institutions (and 5 million students in them by the end of this decade).

It is philanthropy that has made all of this possible. Without generous donors, charter school could never have rooted and multiplied in this way. And philanthropists have driven relentless annual improvements—better trained school founders, more prepared teachers, sharper curricula, smarter technology—that have allowed charter schools to churn out impressive results.

Studies show that student performance in charter schools is accelerating every year, as high-performing models replace weaker ones. Charter schools as a whole already exceed conventional schools in results. The top charters that are now growing so fast elevate student outcomes more than any other schools in the U.S.—especially among poor and minority children.

This is what Labour and Greens are vowing to end.

An extract from the report:

Bill Gates explains that after his foundation decided in the mid‑1990s to focus on U.S. schooling, it poured about $2 billion into various education experiments. During their first decade, he reports, “many of the small schools that we invested in did not improve students’ achievement  in any significant way.” There was, however, one fascinating exception. “A few of the schools that we funded achieved something amazing. They replaced schools with low expectations and low results with ones that have high expectations and high results.” And there was a common variable: “Almost all of these schools were charter schools.”

And:

By 2014 there were 2.6 million children attending 6,500 charter schools in the U.S. Every year now, more than 600 new charters open their
doors for the first time, and an additional 300,000 children enroll (while a million kids remain on waiting lists, with millions more hungrily waiting in the wings). Charter school attendance began to particularly accelerate around 2009, and as this is written in 2014 it looks like there may be 5 million children in charters before the end of the decade.

This is the worst nightmare of Labour/Greens and the educational unions. That charter schools in NZ provide successful and popular. Once they do, they’ll never be able to abolish them. They have to kill them off before they have a chance to prove themselves.

And some highlights:

  • The 9,000 students at Uncommon Schools are 78 percent low‑income and 98 percent African‑American or Hispanic, yet all seniors take the SAT, and their average score is 20 points above the college‑readiness benchmark
  • At KIPP charter schools, home to 51,000 pupils in 21 states, 96 percent of eighth graders perform better than their local district counterparts on reading, and 92 percent perform better in math
  • Among charter school students in Washington, D.C. (almost half of that city’s public school population), the on‑time high‑school graduation rate is 21 percentage points higher than that among conventional school students: 77 percent to 56 percent
  • In New Orleans—long an educational disaster zone—the city schools rank first in the state for student growth now that more than eight out of ten students attend charters (some details on the Big Easy’s charter experience will follow in just a few pages)

Wouldn’t it be great if in the next decade we could get some results like that.

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86 Responses to “The success of US charter schools”

  1. johnwellingtonwells (137 comments) says:

    Waiting for Bill Courtney

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  2. Dead Earnest (160 comments) says:

    Yes but poor kids might miss out on there daily dose of socialist indoctrination. They must be stopped!

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  3. nasska (11,530 comments) says:

    Won’t someone think of the teachers!

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  4. Dead Earnest (160 comments) says:

    “This is the worst nightmare of Labour/Greens and the educational unions….They have to kill them off before they have a chance to prove themselves”.

    They support abortion for the same reason!

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  5. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Ah, but our public schools are already like US charter schools, or something.

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  6. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Quite right, RN. US public schools are more like how New Zealand schools were thirty years ago – highly centralised.

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  7. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    RightNow,

    They actually are. I mean as a member of the BOT at my school I just spent a lengthy meeting going over our charter, which has to be renewed. In fact NZ Tomorrow’s Schools are more true to the original vision of charter schooling set out by Albert Shanker in 1988 than American charters. They were meant to be laboratories for educational experimentation to break out of the rigid bureaucratic centralisation of the US system and that’s exactly what has happened here. You can go to an open-plan, student-led liberal school like Albany Senior or Hobson Point, or to a strict Cambridge-exam system school like Auckland Grammar. You can choose a single-sex or co-ed school, or perhaps a special character one, a Maori language school or a Catholic one, all in the public system. Parents stuck in the US public system can’t even dream of such choice or local control.

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  8. Scott (1,801 comments) says:

    Well said DPF :)

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  9. mjw (396 comments) says:

    But aren’t our public schools already performing better than these US charter schools?

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  10. mandk (995 comments) says:

    Here’s the crux: “They replaced schools with low expectations and low results with ones that have high expectations and high results”

    I think the truth is that lefties want to keep poor brown children in their place, so that Labour can cultivate vote fodder.

    Socialism in action is especially cruel to the people it purports to help.

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  11. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    The issue for the left is only union membership numbers. Seriously, that’s all they care about.

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  12. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Our public schools outperform US public schools. Generally US charters are only compared to local US public schools, making comparisons with international schools very difficult. It’s also difficult to compare because charter operate differently in every US state, as do their public schools. That’s why both the left and right have gotten in trouble trying to use stats from the US to back up their case for or against partnership schools here. It is a very complex subject to analyse.

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  13. Huevon (222 comments) says:

    Just goes to show what happens when parents are given real choice about their children’s education. Long may it last and let’s see more of it in NZ.

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  14. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    burt,

    If that’s all the unions cared about they would remove the ban and recruit members from the charter schools. There’s nothing in their contracts prohibiting that and PPTA could alter its Constitution to allow it if the membership wanted to. The PPTA has around 95% of secondary teachers as members, so it’s hardly hurting for numbers.

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  15. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Good luck to the US with their on-going reforms.
    I think the success of “charter” (partnership) schools in NZ has been guaranteed by Labour declaring them to be a crisis.

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  16. David Garrett (7,292 comments) says:

    mandk: Before I went to parliament I would never have believed what you say…but I do now. It slowly dawned on me that either the Labour caucus of the Party I once delivered leaflets for were completely stupid, or they knew exactly what they were doing, and that was to “farm” a nice body of beneficiaries and low paid who would continue to vote for them. And I quickly decided that it wasn’t that they were stupid…

    Right and left: Do you know what you say to be true (the comparisons and assertions you make) or do you also have a vested interest in charter schools failing?

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  17. Bob R (1,375 comments) says:

    ***Our public schools outperform US public schools. Generally US charters are only compared to local US public schools, making comparisons with international schools very difficult.***

    @ Rightandleft,

    US public schools actually do very well once you control for demography:

    “The mean score of Americans with European ancestry is 524, compared to 506 in Europe, when first and second generation immigrants are excluded. So much for the bigoted notions that Americans are dumb and Europeans are smart. This is also opposed to everything I have been taught about the American public school system.

    For Asian-American students (remember this includes Vietnam, Thailand and other less developed countries outside Northeast Asia), the mean PISA score is 534, same as 533 for the average of Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. Here we have two biases going in opposite directions: Asians in the U.S are selected. On the other hand we are comparing the richest and best scoring Asian countries with all Americans with origin in South and East Asia.”

    http://super-economy.blogspot.co.nz/2010/12/amazing-truth-about-pisa-scores-usa.html

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  18. Bill Courtney (161 comments) says:

    Yes, the same drivel comes out relentlessly from the same, tired old sources. This time the Philanthropy Roundtable writing about how the wonderful Bill Gates and the Walton Family Foundation and their ilk have done such wonders for the poor children of the USA. Oh let me reach for my hankie…

    As rightandleft has, on so many occasions, eloquently pointed out, charter schools were originally the vision of the teachers but the idea has been hijacked by the privatisation (i.e. “Choice”) movement, as they could not get the US populace to back vouchers – Milton Friedman’s preferred “pure” means of privatisation.

    Whole forests have been felled on this debate but the CREDO Study does NOT show that charter schools are, on average, better than traditional public schools. On Reading they were 0.01 standard deviations better and on Maths they were 0.005 standard deviations worse. Both of these measurements are trivially small – either way.

    As Andreas Schleicher, the OECD PISA guru, is on record as saying, “Our data doesn’t show much of performance difference between public and charter and private schools ONCE YOU ACCOUNT FOR SOCIAL BACKGROUND.”
    http://news.tes.co.uk/b/news/2013/12/03/uk-shows-great-school-choice-does-not-equal-higher-standards-according-to-pisa.aspx

    I wonder why he made that statement, if David Farrar and his followers are so adamant that charter schools are so superior?

    Why don’t you write to Schleicher and point out that, obviously, he must be wrong?

    Here is Finnish educator Pasi Sahlberg, who christened the term GERM:
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/08/pisa-education-test-scores-meaning

    But then again, when did reasoned analysis make much difference to disciples wearing blinkers? Milton Friedman would be proud of you. But unfortunately, the ideology just doesn’t work in practice, does it, DPF???

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  19. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    DG,

    Do I have a vested interest in them failing? I don’t think so, not anything personal anyway. I’m still going to vote National based on my support for most of their other policies. And Partnership schools aren’t likely to have any effect on my job or finances. I think they’re bad for education in general and bad for students in the so-called long-tail especially, so I oppose them. I don’t make up assertions, I base my statements on the research I’ve done on charter schooling as well as my personal experience of growing up in the US public and private systems and teaching and being a board member in NZ.

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  20. Bob R (1,375 comments) says:

    ***I think they’re bad for education in general and bad for students in the so-called long-tail especially, so I oppose them.***

    If you’re in the long tail, but happen to be a bit more motivated or have a bit more ability, wouldn’t it be of benefit to attend a charter? My understanding is that one of the keys to their relative success is that they have greater scope to get rid of troublemakers. If you’re in the long tail, getting rid of kids who are more interested in showing their gang membership credentials* might benefit the fraction who are motivated?

    * http://www.stuff.co.nz/272619/Cops-to-be-based-at-South-Auck-schools

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  21. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Be honest R&L – you are a major player in the PPTA with a massive vested interest.

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  22. kiwitory (4 comments) says:

    Quite right everyone should have the right of a private education

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  23. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    I’m not making the argument that US charters are necessarily bad for individual students. There are certainly good charters and the research does show that the best ones are those with strict discipline and the ability to easily expel troubled students. But that doesn’t actually solve the long-tail problem. In Washington DC for example, as charters have expanded the gap in test scores between black and white students, latino and whites, and poor vs not in poverty students has shown no improvement and in the case of poor students actually worsened.

    Indeed US charters perform best when there are only a few of them amidst a large public system and they can control either intake or retention. They perform less well when they take over most of the system or, as in NZ, the entire system, and cannot simply move on the troubled students back to public schools. They aren’t a silver bullet and they won’t help the majority of the kids left in struggling public schools. Instead they distract us from tackling the real issues that are causing those schools to fail. As we already have an entirely charter system we’ve already got many of their advantages. Partnership schools just offer more of the pitfalls of the US model of charter schooling and it isn’t worth the significant risk.

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  24. mandk (995 comments) says:

    To those who down-ticked my last comment: In electoral terms, who has the greater interest in removing poverty and under-achievement – the right or the left?
    It’s the right, of course, because reasonably affluent people and achievers are much more likely to vote right.

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  25. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Anodos,

    I’ll take that major player bit as a compliment. But I was talking personally. I have nothing to lose if partnership schools expand. And I wouldn’t just speak out against them because the PPTA is against them. When I disagree with the PPTA or other education unions I’ve said so, as on National Standards. Personally I wouldn’t want to see some of the top Partnership Schools closed, but rather integrated into the Tomorrow’s Schools system as special character schools.

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  26. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    mandk

    The proof of what you say is the shown clearly by the teachers and their unions. The way of the left … Teachers have been complaining (and striking when there is a National government) for decades about being underpaid. It goes on… The unions make the claim that they are helping but nothing ever changes. Keep them fighting the man and keep them poor – it keeps them paying union subs which funds the Labour party who keep the carrot of better pay just out of reach ….

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  27. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Sorry R&L but just one point makes clear that the point you make about current choice in the NZ system is crap. You say that is a child/family wants a good Cambridge education they can “choose” AGS. Poor kids can’t. Their families can’t afford to live in zone and there are no spaces for out of zoners. That is okay from a PPTA perspective though – the kids from places like South and West Auckland, etc, can stay in their zones schools and over 50% (in some cases over 70%) can fail their NCEA Level 1 and the family cycles can be repeated.

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  28. tom hunter (4,863 comments) says:

    Oh let me reach for my hankie…

    Or a barf bag perhaps. It certainly is the line “ ONCE YOU ACCOUNT FOR SOCIAL BACKGROUND.” that is meaningful, but not necessarily in a way that’s helpful.:

    Recently, Daniel Hertz made news by graphically showing how Chicago’s middle class has being largely eliminated since 1970. The new Chicago is still a one-party town, but is now a coalition of rich and poor with a residual government worker middle class.

    Demographics certainly are a problem, especially when they feed on themselves. In this case the fact that Chicago’s Public School System is only 9.2% white, while being 39.7% African-American., which led to the following:

    In an attempt to keep white families from fleeing Chicago, the second Mayor Daley came up with a plan: test-admittance-only public high schools. This was a reasonable solution for gentry liberals who pay high property taxes but didn’t want to leave the city or couldn’t afford to send their children to private schools. These select public high schools produce college bound students while “limiting” gentry liberal’s children from being exposed to children from “troubled backgrounds”.

    Troubled backgrounds in this context means non-white, just as it usually does in NZ. But the real story here is the desperate desire of Chicago’s Democrats to keep everybody together: you may want to run away from a violent, failing school but you won’t be allowed to – or more precisely your “choices” will be so limited that there is no choice. Of course this leaves a problem for the “gentry liberals” of the city who, for all their high-minded talk, don’t want their little darlings education to be screwed up in the name of lifting all boats together. Sounds familiar.

    The “test-admittance-only” public schools are a sop to such people to try and get them to stay within the Chicago city limits rather than fleeing to suburban public schools. It does not appear to have worked and will likely aggravate existing racial tensions. Those won’t effect everybody though:

    Gentry liberals leaders have told us with enormous conviction that public education is an “investment”. Yet, President Barack Obama and Mayor Rahm Emanuel send their children to elite private schools. What’s interesting in Rahm Emanuel’s case is he couldn’t find one public school in all of Chicago good enough to send his children. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is so committed to public education that he sends his children to a private school 15 miles away from where his children live.

    Can’t wait to see my friend Maggie, at Christmas: Chicago public school teacher, urban dweller – and sends her only child to a private school on the fringes of the city.

    Choice is the key and if you don’t give people genuine choice they’ll create it themselves by moving. In the NZ context the overwhelming message from the likes of Courtney is that such people deserve everything they get. Don’t like our school? Then buy a new property elsewhere. Can’t afford to do that? Diddums.

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  29. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Got any actual evidence about the value of choice? Thought not. Here’s a crazy idea, how about we try to make every school a decent one?

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  30. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    The first step mikenmild would be to allow every Principal the choice of how to best use their funds. It is called Bulk Funding. Couple that with much more freedom to hire and fire based on the Principals perception of performance and the needs of the children. The PPTA are squealing now – it would ne deafening of those proposals got the traction they deserve.

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  31. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    But they won’t becasue those notions were quite rightly rejected many years ago.

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  32. OneTrack (3,109 comments) says:

    “Here’s a crazy idea, how about we try to make every school a decent one?”

    We already tried that, but the teachers union wouldn’t allow anything outside their narrow ideology. It was their way or the highway. The teachers shouldnt be too surprised that someone tried the highway option.

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  33. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Would that be the same union cooperating with the government over the plans for a massive investment in teacher development?

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  34. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    They were not rejected mikeandmild – the PPTA put themselves ahead of the success of students and packed such a sad that they held children and their families to ransom to protect their own dominant position. When it became obvious that some of the new Partnership Schools are doing well the first defense that Angela Roberts, head of PPTA went to was – “it is because they are bulk funded.”

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  35. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    Got any actual evidence about the value of choice? Thought not. Here’s a crazy idea, how about we try to make every school a decent one?

    The way to do that is to put performance metrics in place. Give administrators the power to direct, hire and fire in order to achieve the desired performance metrics. This is how businesses work. Those that fail free up resources for those who can do a better job.

    It’s time education got a massive kick up the arse, many non-performing troughers were fired, and it is dragged kicking and screaming into this century.

    For the good of children.

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  36. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Anodos,

    You must remember that I am in favour of school choice, a place I have pretty significant differences from the PPTA line. I would never accept a move to create school zones which forced children to attend only their local school, as exists in much of the US. Currently only one third of state schools have a zone and they have to prove they are oversubscribed. The zones don’t lock kids in, but lock others out. It’s unfair and a distortion of the market, but the alternative, eliminating all zones, failed to be a silver bullet when trialled in the 90s.

    It is unfair that some students are stuck in failing schools, but the solution to that is fixing those schools, not letting a lucky few attend AGS or a successful Partnership school. I see the IES initiative as the best chance yet to improve those failing schools, coordinate work between schools in those communities and spread best practice from the low decile schools which are succeeding. The government’s collaboration with the sector on setting this new system up gives it an even better chance of succeeding.

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  37. Dead Earnest (160 comments) says:

    One reason the left are so bitterly opposed to Charter Schools is they fear the long term poltical effect of kids being educated in an environment they can’t control.
    It frightens thm to think that poor kids could succeed and even become wealthy as a result. Imagine if the Pacifika kids of South Auckland – whose future voting intentions the left take for granted – actually grew up with a more expansive world view and (perish the thought) voted National.

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  38. Crusader (314 comments) says:

    Rightandleft (599 comments) says:
    June 11th, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    You can go to an open-plan, student-led liberal school like Albany Senior or Hobson Point, or to a strict Cambridge-exam system school like Auckland Grammar. You can choose a single-sex or co-ed school, or perhaps a special character one, a Maori language school or a Catholic one, all in the public system.

    No you can’t choose. You are zoned. Or you pay for private schooling. That’s about the choice you have. “Grammar zone” adds a high premium to a house price, so it’s stratification-by-mortgage.

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

    This is the worst nightmare of Labour/Greens and the educational unions. That…

    …dumbasses with no expertise in the field start thinking that NZ schools are the same as US public schools, and carry out a dubious experiment on the children of parents dumb enough to imagine these self-appointed experts have some idea what they’re doing.

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

    No you can’t choose. You are zoned.

    Either idiocy or a lie – which is it?

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

    The first step mikenmild would be to allow every Principal the choice of how to best use their funds. It is called Bulk Funding. Couple that with much more freedom to hire and fire based on the Principals perception of performance…

    As usual, DPF’s commenters are way more honest than he is when it comes to describing what this charter schools bullshit is really all about.

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  42. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Crusader,

    You clearly missed my later comments. Only 1/3 of NZ schools have zones and those don’t force the kids within them to attend that school. The school I work at and the closest two high schools and all the primaries are zone free.

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  43. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    How about you left wingers stick to your state schools, and leave charter schools to people who want their children to achieve in life.

    Everyone’s happy.

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  44. ShawnLH (5,128 comments) says:

    “Got any actual evidence about the value of choice? Thought not. Here’s a crazy idea, how about we try to make every school a decent one?”

    God that’s a stupid argument. I mean, seriously, seriously, stupid. Let alone that you didn’t have the guts to even let him answer, but instead pretended he couldn’t.

    Of course there is value in choice. That’s not arguable. Imagine if we were only allowed to buy one model of car, or one model of TV, or any number of other things. Choice does not only expand our options, it encourages competition that improves quality.

    The State cannot just “make” all schools good ones, anymore than it can make everyone equal, or make every restaurant a five star success.

    Mikey is indulging in the irrational Lefty belief that the State is a magic wand that if we just wave about the right way will make everything perfect. It’s a Cargo Cult mentality.

    Every school in NZ should be a Charter school. There is no reason for total state control, no reason nor need for allowing union monopolies over teachers, and no reason for the irrational Lefty fear of choice and diversity in education.

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  45. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    You can go to an open-plan, student-led liberal school like Albany Senior or Hobson Point, or to a strict Cambridge-exam system school like Auckland Grammar.

    If you are fortunate to be zoned in the right area.

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  46. freemark (580 comments) says:

    In this subject, and a few others, we see the the desperation of the Left. People shouldn’t have choices, parents & families are a social construct that threaten (Socialist) State Control & indoctrination. There is absolutely no doubt that NZ is being targeted as the last bastion of the failed Socialists..internally via Greens, Liabour, Forest & Bird etc, externally via Greenpeace, IPCC, WWF etc. We are seen as the perfect host, and the last chance, and it’s not random that Norman etc show up here. Their goal is a compliant & addicted population feeding a small political elite. As the number of promises & lies they feed the plebs increases the confusion & back tracking increases ala Cunliffe. The Greens are more committed, organised & disciplined…hence more dangerous. Think about who has a biological imperative to create/sustain a better Society for themselves & their offspring..compare that to those who won’t reproduce, and their short term troughing desires. Almost hilarious is the cuddling up to the (mainly Muslim) Terrorists…and the assumption that with some Doctrine & anti America rhetoric they will control this charming bunch. In the meantime some on this blog, and most on The Standard, will continue to metaphorically (or physically) fellate their Sociology Lecturers & Tutors, and spread the “caring” meme. Do right thinking people stand back and watch it happen (and approve the destruction of our gene pool) or do we “organise” to stamp it out?

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

    Every school in NZ should be a Charter school.

    The state ones are. Did you sleep through the last 30 years, Rip van Winkle?

    People shouldn’t have choices, parents & families are a social construct that threaten (Socialist) State Control & indoctrination. There is absolutely no doubt that NZ is being targeted as the last bastion of the failed Socialists..

    Wibble, yibber, socialists, yip yip yip, Muslims, gnash, wail…

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  48. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ‘Every school in NZ should be a Charter school. There is no reason for total state control, no reason nor need for allowing union monopolies over teachers, and no reason for the irrational Lefty fear of choice and diversity in education.’
    Wow, you sure chucked a lot of ignorance into two sentences. Every New Zealand school is a charter school, you fuckwit. Just go to your local school and ask to read its charter. There is not total state control: most schools are controlled by boards elected by the local community. There are no union monopolies over teachers: the teaching unions are voluntary associations. We have plenty of chooice and diversity.
    Even your addled mind should be able to better than that.

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  49. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    freemark
    Wow, I didn’t realise that the Royal New Zealand Forest & Bird Society was such an existential threat. Thanks for the warning.

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  50. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    Losing battle Milt!

    You’ll just have to pray that enough fuckwits give a vote to Cunners/Russel/Hone/Dotty to get your side back in this time. :)

    Hekia will have totally fucked your union by 2017 otherwise! :)

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  51. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Hekia’s actually doing her best to work with the unions, in a half-hearted sort of way.

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  52. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    “We have plenty of chooice and diversity.”

    milkey ruins his whole speech ……..and shows in one word why we really need charter schools! :)

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  53. wat dabney (3,769 comments) says:

    Got any actual evidence about the value of choice? Thought not.

    Perhaps you should read the item at the top of this very thread for starters?

    And then there’s the famous Swedish model.

    In fact, once you start investigating the subject you find the case is overwhelming.

    Here’s a crazy idea, how about we try to make every school a decent one?

    Here’s a crazy idea, how about you stop with the fake concern? How about you and your fellow state-sector cronies stop running the education system as a lucrative monopoly, extracting your corrupt rent-seeking benefits at the expense of the country’s poorest children who you callously throw under the bus?

    The expensive education system which you crooks have hijacked is intended to give even the poorest kids a good chance of a full and happy life. The left’s betrayal of the poorest children is perhaps their most sickening crime.

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  54. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    wat has something against New Zealand’s education system, which is the envy of most nations.

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  55. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    Marist Brothers ran some pretty good schools once milkey! :)

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  56. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    Some folk of course seem to be in denial of the good Marist name and try to leave it off titles, even when it is perfectly entitled to be included! :)

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  57. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    The Marist Brothers all died out, I think Johnboy. None left at St Bernard’s, that’s for sure.

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  58. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    Must be a few old Alzheimers suffering ones pop round to the HOB club rooms now and again, searching for their lost “M” surely milkey? :)

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  59. wat dabney (3,769 comments) says:

    What a surprise, milky the corrupt big-labour thug is all in favour of him and his corrupt mates continuing to line their own pockets from their current lucrative monopoly, and fuck all the kids from poor families who get left behind (and fuck all the taxpayers who could be getting better results for less money, eh milky?)

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  60. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    I know mikenmild and psychomilt know this (or maybe they don’t – I am not sure what is worse in this case – ignorance or dishonesty, abusing people to cover it and assuming others are stupid)….yes…state schools in NZ have “charters” they are pieces of paper that explain their intent. That is a world away from them being “Charter Schools” – a different administration model of state funded education. So people – either do the research (reading is not that hard) or be honest. What they are saying is a bit like saying we have Capital punishment in NZ because some people have to live in Wellington.

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  61. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    No wat, I am in favour of our present socialised education system that produces high quality at low cost. Don’t know where you got the idea that schooling is lucrative, either.

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  62. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    What you don’t know Anodos (or maybe you do and are just pretending otherwise) is that the much vaunted US ‘charter’ schools are in fact pretty similar to the standard NZ model that has prevailed for thirty years.

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  63. Johnboy (16,597 comments) says:

    Milkey old boy just be honest. The thing that really gets your goat up is the thought that the indoctrination of our children will finally be ripped out of the hands of the leftist teacher unions and given over to folks with viewpoints other than socialism.

    That’s what really drives this whole bitter debate really! :)

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  64. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Nope mikenmild – been in education for 20ish years. Also visited plenty of schools overseas – including Charters. There is plenty of difference. Things must change here for the kids that are having cyclical failure perpetuated through them- funnily enough in the “Labour strongholds”. The NZ system is not vaunted overseas – particularly for those that know that we have individual secondary schools that receive in excess of $10million per annum and still have well over 50% of their students failing our most basic national qualification.

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  65. cha (4,026 comments) says:

    And then there’s the famous Swedish model.

    Yeah, the Swedish model where the largest private school operator has gone bust, questions are being asked about school quality and there’s a re-thinking of the privatization experiment.

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  66. cha (4,026 comments) says:

    New Orleans huh.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/in-new-orleans-traditional-public-schools-close-for-good/2014/05/28/ae4f5724-e5de-11e3-8f90-73e071f3d637_story.html

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

    That is a world away from them being “Charter Schools” – a different administration model of state funded education.

    Meh. You prefer ‘charter schools’ to mean ‘private schools funded by the state.’ I prefer to call those ones ‘private schools funded by the state’ – it’s more accurate.

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  68. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    wat has something against New Zealand’s education system, which is the envy of most nations.

    a) your comment implies one single system, which is false. We are a free country where people have multiple options under 3 different broad headings. Charter schools allow the poorer citizens to access the other two.

    b) our *state* education system may be the envy, or it may not, but it routinely fails a large chunk of the children that are presented to it. It’s not good enough to say “it’s petty good overall and besides, it’s someone else’s kids, I don’t care”.

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  69. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Yeah, the Swedish model where the largest private school operator has gone bust, questions are being asked about school quality and there’s a re-thinking of the privatization experiment.

    a) Schools actually failing is a feature, not a bug. A bad school should fail, it’s schools that are bad that don’t fail that are the problem.
    b) Questions should always be asked about school quality. Yet strangely, we’re not supposed to be asking such questions of our state education system, are we?
    c) Privatization is not an experiment, because private enterprise is not an experiment – it’s the default setting in free countries. Trying to paint free enterprise as “not normal”, *that’s* the experiment (and a bizarre one at that!).

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  70. scrubone (3,099 comments) says:

    Wow, you sure chucked a lot of ignorance into two sentences. Every New Zealand school is a charter school, you fuckwit. Just go to your local school and ask to read its charter. There is not total state control: most schools are controlled by boards elected by the local community.

    All true enough. But here’s the funny thing: I’ve seen people – probably you – argue that the reason that charter schools shouldn’t be allowed because kids will leave the local state school and it’ll lose funding and be damaged.

    (Just clicked Cha’s link – which seems to be making that very point. Great.)

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  71. polemic (460 comments) says:

    The situation is quite simple really – like most things in life the freemarket when given enough scope delivers because it is accountable.

    Unfortunately PPTA and unions will always fight accountability because it embarrasses non performers.

    There in lies the success of charter schools – make them accountable to their stakeholders and look what happens – better outcomes from better schools = better students.

    but its ‘not fair ‘ they will cry out!!

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  72. cha (4,026 comments) says:

    Great.

    Cheering the elimination of choice. Nice.

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  73. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    To say there is one definition of charter schools, and it is the current US model, is incorrect. The original proponent of charter schooling, as noted by DPF in the past, was Albert Shanker, the Prsident of America’s biggest teachers union. He wanted charter schools which cooperated with local state schools, allowed collective agreements and unionised teaching staff, had local control over curriculum and teaching methods and would be laboratories for educational change that could then be rolled out across the public system if they worked. He was concerned that despite massive increases in funding the US was suffering from stagnant and even falling test scores. The system he imagined in 1988 was not adopted in the US but was put in place across the whole system in NZ the following year. The purpose of the charters is to focus the school’s goals and make sure they are serving the needs of the local community. Tomorrow’s Schools are therefore a version of charter schooling that is actually more true to the original concept than what happened in the US and the Partnership charter model based off that US version.

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  74. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    I guess though – society and schooling have moved on since 1988 R&L (there is – like – computers and the interwebs and everything now) so schooling should have too (easier I know if unions are not holding that process back).So …..Partnership Schools should reflect the needs of kids in 2014 not a 1988 model.

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  75. Peter (1,712 comments) says:

    If option X works well for children, do it. And keep doing it. End of story.

    Only a truly sick, twisted, sociopathic **** would deny children option X simply because it conflicts with their ideology.

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  76. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    Which is why Tomorrow’s Schools is getting an update to improve them, in the IES programme. A reform affecting the entire system, rather than setting up a handful of alternatives, is a better way to direct money and help those in the poorly performing South Auckland schools. They shouldn’t have to win a lottery to get a good school. Nor do I think bulk funding is a magic bullet to save them. A collaborative strategy and sharing of best practice is the way to go and for once I’ve been impressed by Parata in realising this and moving to implement such a change. I also think better wrap around social services provided at schools in low decile areas and more funding to alternative ed, esol and special education would make a positive impact.

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  77. itstricky (1,836 comments) says:

    c) Privatization is not an experiment, because private enterprise is not an experiment – it’s the default setting in free countries. Trying to paint free enterprise as “not normal”, *that’s* the experiment (and a bizarre one at that!).

    etc

    The situation is quite simple really – like most things in life the freemarket when given enough scope delivers because it is accountable.

    etc

    Quite right – the free market delivers profit because that’s what it’s designed to do. One doesn’t have to be a genius to realise that profit isn’t compatible with children

    And before you go on about private schools… Where are they? How much do they cost the parents who send kids there? Any pointers on why that might be?

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  78. Anodos (116 comments) says:

    Good R&L – can team PPTA pop over to team NZEI and tell them to get with their IES plan rather than protecting their patch. Would be good to note that the Partnership schools are also likely to prepared to work within the collaborative IES structure (or will PPTA do the bat and ball and go home trick again). Might even learn a trick or two from teachers in private schools.

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  79. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Meanwhile taxpayers pay another $9m to the current charter schools over the next four years. How many schools again? How many children? HOW MUCH!

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  80. itstricky (1,836 comments) says:

    Cheering the elimination of choice. Nice.

    You know the goose is cooked on this one when the conversation goes like this:

    “Charter schools are different. They offer choice”
    “You mean they don’t teach reading, writing and arithmetic? What sort of hokey ramshakle is that?”
    “Oh no no no, they’re the same, but they’re different”
    “You mean they’ve got different teachers?”
    “Yeah”
    “Says here they’re unregistered”
    “Oh no no no, they’re the same teachers, but they’re different. They will deliver far better results for all children”
    “So they’ll scale up then?”
    “Yeah, yeah, solve all the problems. And they’ll be a success and open everywhere”
    “So then there will be just charter schools and no choice anymore?”
    “Oh no no no, they are different. They offer choice.” – Back to step (1). Rinse and repeat.

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  81. itstricky (1,836 comments) says:

    Only a truly sick, twisted, sociopathic **** would deny children option X simply because it conflicts with their ideology.

    Quite right – does seem wrong to move the same children, the same teachers, put them in (sometimes the same) classroom with the same cirriculum – all in the name of ideology.

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  82. Rightandleft (663 comments) says:

    I cannot understand the logic of NZEI in opposing the IES reforms. But as their supporters have been basically calling the PPTA immoral traitors for supporting it I doubt there will be much collaboration between the unions on it. NZEI could vote to refuse to take part. I have no idea how partnership schools would fit in it. The proposed communities of schools are self-selecting so could be geography based or network based. But as the positions are being bargained into the collective agreements, which partnership schools sit outside of, I don’t know what role they will have.

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  83. UpandComer (537 comments) says:

    Our state schools aren’t too bad actually. But they don’t work for a lot of kids, so there is a need to try sth new. It’s that simple. More money and bigger govt in excelsis is always the left’s answer, but it hasn’t, worked. These new policies will work, if they have enough time. The left actually want to maintain the misery because they use it as a prop to feed big public money to govt institutions. National actually believe poor kids will do okay with a good teacher and a school that fits. Labour thinks poor kids are stuffed anyway so why bother trying anything new. It’s actually pathetic.

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  84. Bill Courtney (161 comments) says:

    Tom hunter: “Choice is the key and if you don’t give people genuine choice they’ll create it themselves by moving. In the NZ context the overwhelming message from the likes of Courtney is that such people deserve everything they get. Don’t like our school? Then buy a new property elsewhere. Can’t afford to do that? Diddums.”

    Response: “Choice” is a euphemism for “market model”. The Friedman disciples never made much headway using that term, so they changed tack to use the more emotive “Choice”. That way, opponents of a privatised model can be demonised because they are denying Choice to deserving poor kids etc. etc. In terms of deciding public policy, however, the most important questions are: What is involved? Does it work? How much does it cost? And, what are the impacts and risks?

    These questions should have been answered by the Isaac Report, but Catherine Isaac never produced a written report of any kind. I wonder why??

    Read the Andreas Schleicher comment: “You expect competition to raise performance of the high performers and with low performers put them out of the market. But in fact you don’t see that correlation… Competition alone is not a predictor for better outcomes. The UK is a good example – it has a highly competitive school system but it is still only an average performer.”
    Note how all the ideologues refused to focus on this statement. Why?

    Freemark: “In this subject, and a few others, we see the desperation of the Left. People shouldn’t have choices, parents & families are a social construct that threaten (Socialist) State Control & indoctrination.”

    Pure bullshit. Again note how the emotive argument can be used instead of discussing the reality.

    Wat Dabney: “And then there’s the famous Swedish model.”

    Excellent response by cha to highlight how the Sweden model is now collapsing. Sweden was a Roger Kerr darling and even got special mention in the 2025 Taskforce Report. It is an ACT Party favourite but it is collapsing.

    Cha quoted the Washington Post story about New Orleans.

    Here is Mercedes Schneider’s rebuttal:
    http://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/on-the-success-of-a-100-charter-recovery-school-district/

    “Certainly school performance scores do not support Layton’s idea of “improvement.” Even with the inflation of the 2013 school performance scores, RSD has no A schools and very few B schools. In fact, almost the entire RSD– which was already approx. 90 percent charters– qualifies as a district of “failing” schools according to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s definition of “failing schools” as C, D, F schools and whose students are eligible for vouchers. The district grade for RSD “rose” to a C due to a deliberate score inflation.”

    Scrubone:
    “a) Schools actually failing is a feature, not a bug. A bad school should fail, it’s schools that are bad that don’t fail that are the problem.”

    Try explaining that to the students and their parents, when a school fails half-way through a senior student’s most important school years.
    “c) Privatization is not an experiment, because private enterprise is not an experiment – it’s the default setting in free countries. Trying to paint free enterprise as “not normal”, *that’s* the experiment (and a bizarre one at that!).”

    Then why doesn’t it work?

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  85. deadrightkev (469 comments) says:

    Act has a strong charter school supporter in the Conservatives.

    If both get in I am confident you will see a combined push by both parties to crank up the pressure on National over the introduction of more charter schools.

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  86. Bill Courtney (161 comments) says:

    Act has a strong charter school supporter in the Conservatives

    Ah yes, including this statement on their website:
    “Only four operators have been awarded a trial, and this seems a very measured and rational approach.”

    So, do they support the idea of a “trial” and then we see how they go? Or, is it handlebars down and let’s have as many as we can get??

    The original National / ACT Agreement was to “pilot” the concept. Has anyone even sighted the evaluation criteria, given that 5 are already in operation and the second round is hurtling ahead?

    Will Colin Craig tell them to slow down, so the “measured and rational” approach can be evaluated??

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