Another academic attacks charter schools

I suspect we get all these farcical attacks on not because they believe their claims stand up to scrutiny, but that they hope to just damage the “brand” of the concept. The latest example is this article:

That does not come as a surprise to Auckland University associate professor and charter school critic Peter O’Connor, who says the business model is clear: Spend less than you get in state funding and pay the difference as dividends to owners.

Essentially, New Zealand charter schools – comfortingly branded as “partnership schools” – will be funded on similar lines to state schools, so a for-profit owner would need to create profit by spending less per child following a pattern developed overseas.

“Every child brings a pot of money with them,” he said. “Because of the deregulated environment, a profit can be made by driving down teacher costs by employing unregistered teachers. You drive down that cost by de-unionising the workforce, and employing on individual, not collective contracts.”

This theory has two problems with it. The first:

Catherine Isaac, a former ACT party candidate now on the government working party tasked with introducing charter schools, says there won’t be a single for-profit among the first wave of applicants to establish schools in 2014.

“There aren’t any for-profit proposals coming through as far as I am aware. They are all community groups, or existing schools or Iwi,” Isaac said.

So you have this guy say charter schools are about shareholders being for profit owners who will slash costs to make profits – and there isn’t a single for profit operator applying!!

But the bigger issue is so what if someone did make a profit. Unlike state schools where pupils are forced to attend based on their address, not one single student in New Zealand will be forced to attend a charter school against the wishes of their family. They will only enrol if they think it will be a better school than the local state school.

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