Alternative education

Partnership schools working, even John Campbell has found that out

Campbell Live went to a Partnership school (Charter School) for a day to find out what is happening.

Remember that Labour has said they will abolish charter schools in the unlikely event they are elected, despite the wishes of parents and despite any evidence to suggest they are not effective. Labour simply does what the teacher unions demand.

From the outside, South Auckland Middle School looks like any other, but go back a year and you’d be hearing very different things about it.

Occupying part of the Elim buildings in Manurewa, South Auckland Middle School is one of New Zealand’s first charter schools – today Campbell Live spent the day inside to find out how it works.

Academic manager Alwyn Poole says it is actually much simpler than people have made it out to be.

“The Government has contracted with us and then funded us as a state school to provide something different for the children in this area,” says Mr Poole.

Principal Wendy Greig is a registered teacher – she says being in charge at a charter school hasn’t changed how she does her job.

“Ultimately, the school’s job is the same too,” says Ms Greig. “We are not there to compete with other schools – we have just a slightly different way of running a school”.

Inside, it looks like a regular classroom – so what’s different about this school?  Read more »

Charter Schools choice needed for Maori and lower socio-economic families

NZCER has recently released it’s National Survey on Education.

An important section talks about school choice:

School choice

Access to secondary schools starts with family choice. Many secondary schools have enrolment zones in place, to provide students with access to a local school. Single-sex schools and integrated schools draw from wider catchments. All but 9 percent of parents say the school their child attends was their first choice of school. This is much the same proportion as in 2009 and fewer than the 16 percent who said their child was not at their first choice of school in 2006. The low proportion and the trend over time both suggest that the degree of choice in the system is sufficient for the majority of families with secondary-aged students. However, Māori whānau are more likely to say their child’s school was not their first choice (14 percent), as are those attending a decile 1–2 school (18 percent). Forty percent of the 2012 parents responding chose a secondary school that was not their closest school. This is higher than the 29 percent who did so in the 2009 survey: but this difference may simply reflect the higher number of high-decile state-integrated schools in the 2012 sample. Only 13 percent of decile 1–2 school parents had chosen a school that was not their closest school, compared with 51 percent of decile 9–10 school parents.   Read more »

Charter Schools reduce risk taking behaviours

More good news from research on the effects of US Charter Schools.

A couple of key points make it clear that the only reason unions and the political Left are against these here is that it wasn’t their idea (or they don’t give a rats backside about kids).

Low-income minority adolescents enrolled in California’s high-performing public charter high schools are less likely to engage in risky health behaviors, according to a new study by the University of California – Los Angeles.

Researchers said that these adolescents also scored better on Math and English tests as compared to their peers from other schools.

The researchers conclude that public charter high schools in low-income neighborhoods can cause beneficial health effects and bridge the growing academic achievement gap between wealthy and poor students.

The finding is published in the journal Paediatrics.

Read more »

Over time Charter Schools getting better and better

In the USA Charter Schools have had time to bed in. Those that fail get closed and progress occurs in the others and the approval and evaluation systems.. The Stanford Credo studies of 2009 and 2013 showed significant growth and improvement.

A new nationwide US study produced from the University of Arkansas also paints a picture that will challenge the half-baked assertions from the NZ left/unions.’

A first-ever report released July 22 by the University of Arkansas, which ties charter school funding to achievement, finds that public charter schools are more productive than traditional public schools in all 28 states included in analyses of cost-effectiveness and return on investment.

The national report, titled “The Productivity of Public Charter Schools,” found that  deliver on average an additional 17 points in math and 16 points in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exam taken by students for every $1,000 invested. These differences amount to charter schools being 40 percent more cost-effective in math and 41 percent more cost-effective in reading, compared to traditional Read more »

Audrey Young on a Bronx Charter School

While in NYC covering the Prime Minister’s visit NZ Herald Journalist Audrey Young took time to visit the Bronx Charter School for Excellence.

Very insightful. The information that the teacher unions and all of those who like to blame the kids will hate is:

“The reputation of the Bronx is that it is low performing, it’s not great education standards. We don’t believe that,” she said.

“We believe that with very committed people, with enough resources and everyone working together with all the stakeholders, that you can be anything you want to be and that’s what we’ve proven here.”

[...]

“Expectation, confidence and attitude that you can deliver. I don’t think any teacher goes into the classroom saying they want a kid to fail. I think what happens is that you don’t know how to get a child to learn, then it is very difficult to look at yourself and say ‘I’m the reason why’.   Read more »

No.1 Reason why the Left rant about Charter Schools: Fear of Success!

There are only 5 Charter School in NZ so far. The unions rant about them, misrepresent them and exaggerate their funding. Hipkins and Cunliffe (who also exaggerate their funding) refuse to even visit, let alone explain – face to face – to parents and children why they threaten to close down something that is working already. See South Auckland Middle School or Vanguard Military School.

As the data set grows for Charter Schools the NZ Left’s biggest fear is exactly what is occurring – success and community empowerment without union or centralised control. Keep in mind that the NZ Left is years behind the play (best guess – 1970s) – Obama’s administration does understand that education is for children and their families.

The other thing that is clearly frightening NZ’s left is that major philanthropists in the US are seeing that the schools are avoiding the bureaucratic black holes of time and money and are actually getting results for needy kids – therefore they are prepared to help.

The Philanthropy Roundtable of the USA have just issued a book: From Promising to Proven about Charter Schools in the USA. It will frighten the unions and the political Left in NZ so much that they will avidly avoid reading it (as will most of the MSM). They prefer to blame the economy for any education failure and to see schools and teachers as helpless victims. The book has a different message so a number of points are summarised for them here (full references are in the book):

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.”

Other philanthropists had the same experience. Eli Broad, one of the biggest givers to education in the U.S., observed that “charter school systems are delivering the best student outcomes, particularly for poor and minority students. They are performing significantly better than the best traditional school district systems.” Ted Mitchell of the NewSchools Venture Fund drew some bold bottom lines: “Good charter schools have pretty much eliminated the high-school dropout rate. And they’ve doubled the college‑going rate of underserved kids.”

Some broad strengths of charter schools

  • They attract more entrepreneurial principals and teachers into the field of education
  • School autonomy allows wide experimentation with new ways of educating
  • This same flexibility is used to circumvent bureaucratic obstacles that often block conventional schools from succeeding
  • Charters sidestep the dysfunctional labor relations of many urban districts
  • They erode monopolies and introduce competitive energy into public education
  • Research shows that charters are more effective at recruiting teachers who graduated in the top third of their college class
  • Charters give parents who cannot afford private schools, or moving, another choice besides their neighborhood school
  • They give nonprofits and community organizations practical opportunities to improve the education of local children
  • Their emphasis on student outcomes fosters greater accountability for results
  • By functioning as laboratories and alternatives, charters foment change in conventional schools as well

In the 2013 U.S. News and World Report rankings of public high schools, for instance, 41 charters made it into the top 200. Read more »

Smart People see the great opportunity of Charter Schools

Mark Zuckerberg has just put $120 million in.

“The latest gift, which also comes from that fund, will help “improve education for underserved communities” over the next five years, Zuckerberg said. Some of the $120 million will help start new public and charter schools in the Bay Area while the rest will pay for equipment, training and other programs at existing schools. The first $5 million will go to needy schools in the Ravenswood and Redwood City school districts and other “high-need” neighborhoods of San Francisco.”

The Gates and Walton Foundations are generous. Andre Agassi is doing incredible things. There is also opportunities for NZ philanthropists now (I am sure the schools wouldn’t mind a contact). Given that the Left in NZ is now completely in the pocket of a millionaire capitalist they no longer have any grounds to complain.  Read more »

Charter schools showing up state schools already

The Vanguard Military School has issued a press release showing their latest results. [Emphasis mine]

VANGUARD NCEA RESULTS REFLECT OUTSTANDING START

Initial NCEA results illustrate the outstanding start Vanguard Military School students have made to the 2014 school year, achieving an average 89% success in term 1 assessments, Vanguard Chief Executive Nick Hyde said today.

Mr Hyde was commenting on Term 1 NCEA assessment results that showed Vanguard students across all demographics had significantly lifted their success rates from their previous schooling.

European and Other students were achieving 93% success, up from 58% success prior to attending Vanguard, while Pasifika students were now achieving 90% success, up from 62%, and Maori students achieving 85% success, up from 57%Read more »

Thomas Sowell Slams Anti-Charter School Crap

Thomas Sowell is someone who knows a good thing for minority groups when he sees it.

In this article he makes clear the fantastic changes occurring for poorer children in the US through Charter Schools and the philanthropy that goes with it.

“The Walton Family Foundation — created by the people who created Walmart — has given more than $300 million to charter schools, voucher programs and other educational enterprises concerned with the education of poor and minority students across the country.

The Walton Family Foundation gave more than $58 million to the KIPP schools, which have had spectacular success in raising the test scores of children in ghettoes where the other children are far behind in academic performance.

D.C. Prep, in Washington, whose students are mostly poor and black, has also received grants from the Walton Family Foundation. Its test scores likewise exceed those of traditional neighborhood schools, as well as the test scores of other local charter schools. Other wealthy people across the country have been doing similar things for years, including high-tech tycoons like Bill Gates and Michael Dell. It is one of the great untold stories of a unique pattern of philanthropy that makes America truly exceptional.   Read more »

Good things already from NZ Charter Schools

Even apparent Charter School opponents have had to acknowledge some good progress and potential on this front already. From the Save our Schools team: http://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2014/04/28/hoping-for-some-honest-answers-on-charter-schools/

At the Quality Public Education Coalition forum, chairman Bill Courtney caused heads to swivel when he greeted Alwyn Poole in the audience before giving an update on charter schools. Poole is the principal of Mt Hobson Middle School. He’s also a member of the Villa Education Trust, whose South Auckland Middle School is one of the first in the charter schools pilot.

Courtney’s talk used South Auckland Middle School’s figures to explain how funding has been allocated. He also made the point that the charter school model has been hijacked by the privatisation movement. One of the first proponents of the idea, Albert Shanker, saw it as a way to allow teachers greater autonomy, to engage the students who weren’t being served by normal schools

This sounds like what Poole’s schools have been able to do: Poole said he works with children with needs like dyslexia or Asperger’s, or kids who need a “boost” at middle school level. He was asked why couldn’t he achieve it within the system as a special character school. In 2002, that option was “blocked”. They were looking for “ways of expanding what we do”, so applied for the partnership school option.   Read more »