Alternative education

Charter Schools Perception series: The Teachers Part Two

March this year  I was invited to visit three Charter schools, South Auckland Middle School, Vanguard Military school and West Auckland Middle School. Before I visited them I also visited a private school, Mt Hobson Middle School that has been in operation since 2003.

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Art in the hallway of Mt Hobson Middle School -Photo Whaleoil.co.nz

I did that because the Charter schools of West Auckland and South  Auckland are based on the model that Mt Hobson Middle school established when it opened in 2003.

West Auckland Middle school opened its doors for the first time this year but it has the 12 years experience of Mt Hobson Middle School behind it. Both Charter schools have a ratio of one teacher to fifteen students. Mount Hobson has a ratio of one teacher to twelve students due to space constraints.

Below is a transcript/ summary of my interviews with three teachers at West Auckland Middle school. Every teacher I interviewed was a registered and experienced teacher who had worked before in a State school.  The teachers at West Auckland Middle School on average are paid 3% more than their counter parts in State schools although one who is very experienced took a pay cut because he/she wanted to work there.

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Charter Schools Perception series: The Teachers Part One

March this year  I was invited to visit three Charter schools, South Auckland Middle School, Vanguard Military school and West Auckland Middle School. Before I visited them I also visited a private school, Mt Hobson Middle School that has been in operation since 2003.

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The model on which two Charter schools have been based, Mount Hobson Middle School which opened in 2003 -Photo Whaleoil.co.nz

I did that because the Charter schools of West Auckland and South Auckland are based on the model that Mt Hobson Middle school established when it opened in 2003.

South Auckland Middle school was opened in 2014 but has twelve years of experience behind it because of Mount Hobson Middle School. West Auckland Middle school opened its doors for the first time this year. Both Charter schools have a ratio of one teacher to fifteen students. Mount Hobson has a ratio of one teacher to twelve students due to space constraints.

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Science class at Mt Hobson Middle School. -Photo Whaleoil.co.nz

Below is a transcript/ summary of my interviews with two teachers at South Auckland Middle school. Both teachers that I interviewed are registered and experienced. The teachers at South Auckland Middle School on average are paid 3% more than their counter parts in State schools.

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Part of the Middle school model is community service.

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Charter schools work, so get out of their way

The latest CREDO (Center for Research on Education Outcomes) study has some interesting perspectives on charter schools,

and the left-wing and teacher unions are ignoring it because…well…charter schools are working and helping “their people”.

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), at Stanford University, has done that in a new study, and it turns out that charters, in general, are strongest exactly where the need is greatest—in urban areas. In some cities, such as Boston, students are achieving six times the growth in math knowledge as are their traditional school counterparts; in reading, four times as much.

The CREDO study also fingers cities where charters are plainly failing, although on average in the 41 urban areas it studied, charter students are clearly outpacing traditional-school peers. Notably, the methodology employed by CREDO seems to rule out the persistent accusation that charter schools get better results merely by “cherry-picking” abler or more motivated students.

The beauty of charter schools is if they aren’t working, then you simply close them…try doing that with a state school and watch the wombles march in the streets, irrespective of the results achieved by those schools. Every state school is perfect don’t you know.

Although forests have been leveled for all the studies on charter schools, CREDO’s new study took an unusual tack. It studied students in multiple areas of the country—and exclusively studied urban areas. Three points emerged. When suburban charters were excluded, the smaller average gains registered in previous studies were suddenly magnified. In other words, charters seem to be remedying a particular defect of schools in the most challenged areas. Second, within those schools, gains were greatest among students—those in poverty, African-Americans, Hispanics, English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students—whose performance typically lags. Disadvantaged students gain the equivalent of months (or more) of extra learning for every year in a charter school.

And the third point was the great divergence among charter organizations (each of which has its own board and often a distinct approach, with varying levels of community engagement). Some are offering a superior alternative; some are not.

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Even the Australian media publish the good Charter School news

The left-wing media and their pals in parliament constantly harp on about charter schools on behalf of their union buddies.

They are patch protecting and can produce no real evidence to support their claims.

On the other side of the argument, though, there is building evidence that should start to hush them up.

The problem is in getting that information out there through the filters of the media…like the new Stanford University study of charter schools that even Australian media has highlighted but remains untouched by NZ media.

Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) has a new study out finding urban charter schools outperform traditional public schools (TPS) in urban areas.

The results are the latest in mounting evidence that many charter schools provide tremendous benefit to students — particularly those located in urban areas.

“The charter school sector has gotten to a point of maturity where it’s dominated by established charters that have stood the test of time and are operating a lot more efficiently and effectively for kids, and so we’re starting to see now this general positive impact of charters on student achievement,” Patrick Wolf, PH.D., a distinguished professor in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, told Business Insider.

The study looked at 41 urban areas in 22 states. Here’s what it found:     Read more »

State School Cost vs Charter School Cost

The PPTA/NZEI/Labour and their apologists continue to try and promote the myth that Charter Schools are over funded.

While some good results are coming here and brilliant results for urban Charters in the USA it is worth thinking of comparative costs.

A Charter school in NZ costs approximately $1 million to set up.

As a recent State example Ormiston Senior College cost $50 million and currently are spreading that over only 400 students while getting nearly $8,400 per student per annum too.

Ormiston Senior College is a decile 10, Co-Educational Secondary school, located in Auckland. The school has 396 Year 11-15 students including 8international students. The school receives $3,313,403.55 in direct government funding, which translates to a budget of $8,367.18 per student.

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Charter School Gains: Time for NZ Parents to Demand This

As the Charter School model begins to mature in parts of the USA high quality researchers like Stanford are making some startling discoveries. This time in Boston (and US wide).

Boston charter school students outperformed their counterparts at traditional public schools and at charter schools in other urban areas by a striking margin over a recent six-year span, a Stanford University study found.

The strides at Boston charter schools — in both math and reading — equaled what students would have learned if they had been in school hundreds of additional days each year, researchers said in the report, released Wednesday.

The disparity held true for black, Hispanic, and low-income students in both math and reading, and was particularly strong for black and Hispanic students who live in poverty.

“Boston charter schools have done exceptionally well improving the academic growth of their students,” said James Woodworth, a research analyst with Stanford’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes.

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Union tries to run a Charter School and Fails

This has to be embarrassing for the United Federation of Teachers, after their charter school experiment failed after consistently poor performance.

Candace goes to kindergarten at the United Federation of Teachers’ Charter School. She’ll have to attend first grade somewhere else.

“It took her some time to get warmed up to the school when she started, and now for her to start another school, it’s very outrageous for me. I was tearful when I heard the news,” says parent Sunita Ramdath.

The union sees charter schools as a threat because most charters operate without strict union rules.

When the UFT found this school a decade ago, it was determined to show how a unionized charter could thrive. Union leaders promised high test scores, but just the opposite happened.

Plagued by some of the lowest test scores in the city, and high staff turnover…the union is being forced to close its elementary and middle school charter. Now UFT leadership says test scores don’t matter.    Read more »

Will the PPTA protest this?

The government has announced a $5.2 million upgrade of Tolaga Bay Area School. Which is on top of its ongoing running costs of $12,500 per student.

Students at Tolaga Bay Area School, East Coast, are set to enjoy a $5.2 million classroom upgrade, Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced today.

“New blocks will be built at the school, to replace four older buildings and classrooms that are no longer fit for purpose,” says Ms Kaye.

“The new blocks will comprise 12 new learnings spaces, with ICT and wifi technology to enable learning in a digital age.

“Other work as part of the upgrade will include structural improvements to the school’s gymnasium, along with a new roof and upgraded shower facilities and repairs to the library.

“As with all major school upgrades, the Tolaga Bay project will see traditional classrooms replaced with more flexible, open plan learning spaces.

“This is about providing students with an environment that excites and inspires them to learn and achieve more.”

Local MP Anne Tolley visited Tolaga Bay Area School this morning to share news of the upgrade with students and teachers.    Read more »

Good lord, another two good reports from charter schools

Of the five foundation charter schools 4 of them have had good reports after their first year in operation…one has some problems and will likely be closed down.

If only we could close down non-performing state schools.

Radio NZ reports:

Two more charter schools have been given positive reviews by the Education Review Office.

The office has published its first reviews for the Rise Up Academy in Auckland, and Te Kura Hourua o Whangarei Terenga Paraoa.

The reviews are new-school assurance reviews, which are normally made in the first year of any new school.

They say both of the publicly funded private schools have made good starts.   Read more »

Catherine Isaac on charter schools

The Dom Post yesterday published a piece by Catherine Isaac on charter schools.

For some inexplicable reason the masses can’t know about this because they haven’t put it online.

Lindsay Mitchell however has scanned it.

Bold educational initiatives deserve a fair go 1 Read more »