Alternative education

The refreshed Labour’s bizarre education/poverty views

Maybe being upset at finding out she is spokesperson for nothing Louisa Wall has put out a rather strange and confused education release along with the NZEI.

The confusion starts with the heading:

South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings

Ummm – if comparative socioeconomic markers go down in a location the schools get more money. Does the release mean Labour doesn’t want them to get it?

It then becomes hard to know who is speaking as the release is confused and badly written but one of Wall or NZEI President Judith Nowartaski goes the way of the Bruce McLaren Principal Roy Lilley http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/tag/roy-lilley/ (he of the 416 spare places in his school caused by a Charter School that hasn’t begun yet) and complains about Charter Schools easing financial burdens for families.

“For new Charter Schools to be able to offer free uniforms and stationary will significantly affect the ability of South Auckland schools to match this offer.”

What? Does someone in the Labour party read what they write? Yep – the intent is nonsense but they could at least write a correct sentence.  Read more »

An Embarrassment to the University of Auckland

Drama Professor Peter O’Connor goes even further than his indulgent self interviewing on Charter Schools by getting his comments published in the University of Auckland alumni magazine. (Interesting to note he appears to have disabled/deleted comments on his youtube post. Such a supporter of free speech).

– He again states the nonsense that they could have been started under old legislation.

– He “mis-states” re funding.

– Despite ERO reports to the contrary he says they are struggling (wouldn’t imagine he has visited even a single charter school).

– And then he names a private school – Mt Hobson Middle School – as a Charter School.

Even more telling – he is unhappy about a Maori name:

“You can dress them up with a Maori name….”

Wonder what Willie Jackson and others involved with Charter schools who are passionate about Maori achievement feel about these statements.  Read more »

Even in a city where Charters are flying Unions can’t do it

New York City has an acclaimed Charter School system.

Unions decided to get in on the act and show the rest how it is done. Results predictable.

Almost a decade after the United Federation of Teachers launched a charter school to prove that a school could thrive under the city’s union contract, new data show the school continues to struggle.

Kindergarten through eighth grade of the UFT Charter School in Brooklyn failed to meet the city’s targets for student achievement, progress, environment and closing the achievement gap, according to the Department of Education’s School Quality Guide, which was released Monday.

Among nearly 1,700 schools reviewed under the city’s new reporting system, the kindergarten through eighth grade part of the charter is one of a handful of schools citywide that didn’t meet goals in four out of five categories.

Read more »

Peter O’Connor on Charter Schools: NZ’s Greatest Comedian

Associate Professor of Drama (and yes – he takes a taxpayer salary) Peter O’Connor comes up with a high quality comedy video on NZ’s Charter Schools where he videos and interviews himself for 12 minutes on a range of misdirected views.

Clearly McPhail and Gadsby ​merely laid the foundations for this man.

It is a shame to add to the page views but maybe some youtube comments could re-direct the poor man.

This Auckland drama teacher claims to know that Charter Schools have made no difference in the US – particularly to the poor and minority groups.

However Stanford University (no less) in 2013 concluded in its 2013 report on the 6000 US charter schools dramatically improved results, where achievement was either ahead or at the same level of public schools. It also showed key benefits for black students, ​Hispanic students, ​ students in poverty, and English language learners.  Read more »

Some more thoughts on today’s watershed Charter Schools article from Fairfax

A reader emails about Charter Schools:


Simon Day of Fairfax has gone where few have gone before him in NZ and gets some depth into the Charter School situation.

He notes the good beginning for Vanguard Military School and South Auckland Middle School (which comes out of Newmarket’s successful Mt Hobson Middle School.

Day even bothered to read the official ERO reports of the positive starts for Vanguard and SAMS.

Even better, and perhaps more astoundingly – he went to the schools and found out things from Vanguard like:

The talented BMX rider spent most of his time at the skate park. This year at the Vanguard school, Berry has discovered he also has academic talents. “It was when I got my first excellence I realised how far I could push myself,” he says.

Now he has 70 credits and is certain to to pass Level One NCEA.

and from SAMS like:

At SAMS his teachers have reached him and motivated him. They know his needs and personality. His grades have lifted. “They are more like role models to me. I am not afraid of them any more,” he says.

Day even read overseas research (unlike the PPTA) and found that:

[I]n its 2013 report on the 6000 US charter schools, Stanford University found dramatically improved results, where achievement was either ahead or at the same level of public schools. It also showed key benefits for black students, students in poverty, and English language learners.

Read more »

Charter schools rocking, time to have more

While the teacher union focus o opposing charter schools there is a thought in the US that the schools should be embraced and extended such is the success of them.

The teacher lobby, as we have seen, uses emotive clap-trap and very few facts to support their argue that charter schools are evil.

Let’s look at some facts though.

This month, New York State approved 17 new city charter schools to open over the next few years. Sadly, they could be among the last.

Sometime in 2015, New York State will have to stop approving new charters. That’s not because these schools haven’t proven themselves (their achievement often far exceeds that of the districts they reside in). It’s not because there isn’t enough demand (50,000 families are on waitlists).

Rather, it’s because state law currently caps the number of charters allowed to open, and we’ve almost reached the limit.

Putting the brakes on a wildly successful education strategy is bad policy. It’s terrible for the city’s kids, thousands of whom will be denied schools that have shown they can close the achievement gap in some of our most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

There is an obvious answer: Simply eliminate this arbitrary and artificial barrier to creating more great public schools. After all, we’ve already twice raised the number of charter schools that can be opened in New York City, from 100 to 200 in 2007 and then again by another 114 in 2010.  Read more »

Why doesn’t the PPTA solve this problem?

The PPTA are gearing up for a massive war against the government and Charter Schools.

They are going to expend massive union resources on just 5 or 6 schools they don’t like.

Meanwhile another teacher is deregistered after appearing before the courts.

A teacher has had her registration cancelled after failing to disclose a drink driving charge.

Louise Patricia Thomson first appeared before the Teacher Disciplinary Tribunal in June 2013 following traffic offences, including a drink driving offence.

At this hearing Ms Thomson failed to notify the tribunal of a further conviction for excess breath alcohol from 2012, the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has found.     Read more »

First Charter School gets glowing ERO report

Radio NZ is reporting that one charter school has completed their first Education Review Office report with flying colours.

The first Education Review Office report on a charter school has been made public.

South Auckland Middle School has distributed the report, which is positive about the publicly-funded private school.

The report says the school has made a good start and its students are responding well to their teachers’ high expectations.   Read more »

Yet Another Teacher Makes Excuses

Pretend economist Peter Lyons (“if you can’t do it, teach it” archetype) gets to voice this in the increasing desperate NZ Herald.

As with others – the major thrust of left wing “educators” is their inability to be effective due to the background of their pupils (lets hope they don’t take credit for any success their students have as surely that is just “background” too).

They all seem to have forgotten that public education was set up to help students overcome problems – not to blandly accept them. Not even sure why they take an income if they regard themselves as being so currently ineffective.

Leave the job Peter – solve the country’s economic problems – then return to teaching when you can do the job.

Lyons’ first insult in this piece is to call students “raw material”.

 Star principals and teachers will advise under-performing schools how to improve their production processes. This ignores the differences in the raw material that different schools work with.

Lyons works for a school in the middle of Epsom – St Peter’s College that manages to significantly exceed the national failure rate at NCEA Level 1.

This was a school that in 2012 received no excellence endorsements at that level.   Read more »

The correlation between success in charter schools and union opposition to them

It seems union negativity towards Charter Schools increases in proportion with the success of the model.

Now Eva’s done it; really done it.

The already-controversial Eva Moskowitz committed the one sin that can only worsen the attacks against her and bolster attempts to block her plans to expand her Success Academy charter network: Her kids killed it on the state tests.

Whereas only 35% of New York City students scored proficient in math, 94% of her students rated as proficient. Whereas only 29% of city students met English standards, 64% of her students met the standards.

At her Bed-Stuy-1 school, where 95% of the students are African American or Latino, 98% passed the math test, with 8 in 10 scoring at the advanced level.

If your first reaction is to assume that these positive test results will ease Moskowitz’s pathway for winning the extra 14 schools she’s asking to be approved at the state level, your assumption is probably wrong.

The New York charter controversies are no different from the charter controversies in Boston, L.A., and San Jose. The better the charter, the bigger the pushback.

What sounds nonsensical actually makes sense: The most successful charters pose the biggest threat to superintendents and teachers unions that fear their expansion. Nobody likes competition.

That fear explains what just played out in Massachusetts, home to the top-rated charter schools in the nation. An example of that excellence is found at Brooke Charter Schools, which operates three K-8 schools in some of the city’s highest poverty neighborhoods.

Brooke students are posting some of the highest proficiency scores in the entire state. Not surprisingly, Brooke would like to expand, adding another middle school and a new high school for their graduating middle-school students.

But last month, the Massachusetts Senate snuffed out an attempt to raise the cap on charter schools, an action Brooke needed to build those schools.

The vote wasn’t even close, as senators, prompted by superintendents and union leaders, rushed to the microphones to denounce lifting the cap.

Read more »