John Minto writes:
When the Government changed the Education Act to allow for charter schools, it bet that a bunch of non-educators using their own untested theories of education could run schools for our most disadvantaged students and achieve better results than state schools.
Who are these non-educators that Minto claims are running charter schools in NZ? As far as I know they are all educators.
Not only that, it stacked the decks by deliberately removing the charter schools from the checks and balances that all state schools must face and gave them more money (as a series of set-up grants).
They actually get slightly less money than an equivalent new state school as detailed by the Ministry.
For example, these schools are exempt from making disclosures under the Official Information Act, despite the fact that they are government-funded.
The OIA applies to organisations owned by the Government, not funded by them. Personally I think it should apply to all bodies funded in whole or majority by the Government, but it doesn’t. All those NGOs that are 95% government funded should come under the OIA, as should charter schools. But I suspect John doesn’t want it extended to all bodies funded by the Government – just those he disagrees with.
The Quality Public Education Coalition (QPEC) has been tracking US charter schools daily for more than two years ago now, and not only are many of them an educational disgrace but they continue to contribute to the overall educational collapse of the US in world educational rankings. Per dollar spent, US schools are the world’s worst.
It is because the US school system is so bad, that charter schools have done so well there. And there have been numerous studies showing that they overall lift achievements rates for pupils. Also in some states, they have seen a lift in achievement rates for neighbouring public schools also.
There is no empirical research that supports this model of charter schools, and plenty of evidence against the model. It is being driven by the first-term, right-wing Act MP, David Seymour, who promises to support these schools through thick, thin and very expensive, success or failure – competition at all costs, and the taxpayer must pay.
There is a huge amount of empirical evidence. But the best empirical evidence will come from NZ. Minto and others want to close these schools before they can be given a chance to succeed. I say judge them on results. If a charter school produces bad results (as one looks to be doing), then close it down. But if they are producing great results, then support them. In the state school system a failing public school is never closed down – they are just given more money and a bigger zone!Tags: charter schools, John Minto