Alwyn Poole, Principal and Academic Manager PHOTO- Supplied Whaleoil.co.nz
Today’s face of the day has written a guest post over at Kiwi Blog that is well worth a read. You will remember Alwyn from my Charter school Perception series. He points out a few home truths about the PPTA and the Labour Party that deserve further sunlight. Charter schools have the goal of improving outcomes for the exact same students that the PPTA and The Labour Party say they care about. I suspect that the genuine reason behind their opposition to Charter schools is that it wasn’t their idea in the first place. They seem to oppose for the sake of opposition instead of acknowledging that Charter Schools can be an effective solution to the very ills that they demand be addressed.
…You would therefore think that any major disparity in University Entrance results would have opposition politicians, teacher unions and educationalists raging – and parents on the street.
The PPTA used to campaign on this. In a 2009 report they stated:
New Zealand has a tail of students with low academic achievement. Although internationally standardised test data for literacy, numeracy and science show New Zealand does very well in terms of its average performance, we have high quality but low equity achievement. Almost all of the students “at risk” are found in state schools, the highest proportion of which is in lower decile schools. The skewed nature of educational disadvantage correlates with family income and ethnicity. However, there is increasing evidence that genuine solutions can be found to reduce this problem.
The Labour Party manifesto in 2011 acknowledged the problem:
Some children are missing out on a quality education. A good education is a human right and we will work to make sure the most vulnerable students don’t miss out: Māori, Pasifika, children from low-income families, children with special needs, victims of bullying and violence, and those who struggle to achieve academically and don’t have a clear post-school pathway to work or higher education.
However, after the 2011 ACT/National agreement to introduce Charter Schools as a small part of a solution to address the problem for priority learners the issue stopped being of importance. Any effort to point it out might be seen as an endorsement of a policy that the Opposition and associated unions had chosen not to like. Since that moment almost all of their protest energy has gone into trying to eradicate Charter Schools as opposed to trying to find solutions to the huge disparities in the outcomes of young people in NZ. This expensive, false, and misdirected protest finally reached the point of outright comedy when Labour and the unions raged about how a Charter School spent money from multiple sources on a waka. They currently say very little about the outcomes for priority learners in many of our high schools. These schools that receive tens of millions of dollars every year. They have tied their own hands with the mantra of “world-class” that they dreamed up to imply that there was nothing to see here and no need for change. They have fallen silent about inequitable outcomes when this generation needs them to stand strong.
Recently the NCEA and UE qualifications data was released for 2014.
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