Charter school

Teacher unions are the same the world over

I’ve found that bullying teachers and union bosses damage more self-esteem than anyone else.

Teaching unions have called on schools to boycott tests for four-year-olds claiming they can damage self-esteem and make children cry.

Campaigners say the government’s new ‘baseline assessments’ can be ‘damaging’ to children who are not ready for the literacy and numeracy checks.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the National Union of Teachers (NUT) said pupils had been left tearful and frustrated by the tests.

The assessments are taken by infants just weeks after they start school, to allow the government to see how far they have progressed by the time they leave.

They are intended as a way to measure performance of schools – rather than pupils – but teachers say the experience is too stressful for such young children.

Around 2,000 schools in England already failed to administer the tests last autumn, when they were trialled for the first time.

The checks, which are officially introduced this September, are technically optional, and the unions urged more schools to boycott them.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: ‘One of the things that we do have a genuine concern about is what the effect of this is on children.

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Where are Maori and Pasifika students achieving 20% above the National average?

Maori and Pasifika students are excelling at Vanguard Military School, one of the three Charter schools that I visited last year and did a series of investigative articles on.

Press Release:

Vanguard Military School is pleased to be able to release its provisional NCEA results for 2015 as confirmed by NZQA.  The school achieved a 93% pass rate at NCEA Level 1, a 100% pass rate at Level 2 and a 93% pass rate at Level 3.  All of these results are well above the national average for NCEA and, in the case of Maori and Pasifika students, they are 20% higher than the national average.

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Northland charter school closes due to poor quality of management

A Charter school that was struggling has been shut down.

The Government has terminated an agreement to run a troubled charter school in Northland because its challenges were ‘too great to overcome’.

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Parliamentary Under-Secretary David Seymour made the announcement this morning to end the Nga Parirau Matauranga Charitable Trust’s contract to run the school in Whangaruru.

The trust was handed a performance notice in February last year, and a specialist audit in October showed the Board had made “significant progress” in addressing governance and management.

However, its “core business” of teaching and learning had got slightly better for some students though not for all and “not in a sustainable way”.

The Trust was told of the decision on Tuesday.   Read more »

A newspaper gives a Charter School right of reply

Usually when a New Zealand Charter school gets slapped down by the MSM they have no opportunity to fight back, so it is left to Blogs like Whaleoil to put an alternative view point out there.Some pretty nasty accusations were recently put in the MSM about one of the Charter schools that I visited during my investigation. To give credit where credit is due on this occasion, the New Zealand Herald responded positively to their request to let them address their education reporter’s accusations. Like A Newspaper I have reproduced it unedited and unabridged.

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Pat Newman loves when the Government spends money…on his school


So Hora Hora’s horror and former Labour candidate Pat Newman is delighted that the government has flicked $6.5 million his way.

Whilst I don’t want to upset the concerned Kaikohe residents around their assertion that the Ministry of Education building processes stop local firms from winning contracts, I have to say that is not true. The $6.5 million being spent at Hora Hora School by the Ministry for our rebuild has gone 99 per cent to local firms including the lead contract.

Perhaps the firms missing out need to ask why, and genuinely realise that the requirements are to ensure quality and they may need to up their own processes.

As a person not known for being unduly supportive of many things the Ministry does or doesn’t do, I need in this case to acknowledge their input and advice on our rebuild. On behalf of our kids and community, thank you.

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Charter Schools do better with the kids the policy is aimed at

In New Zealand the Charter School policy is aimed at helping the long tail which is predominantly made up of Maori and Pasifika students – more typically in lower socioeconomic situations.

The NY Times has this kind of thing to say about the effects of Charter Schools for this type of group:

Charter schools are controversial. But are they good for education? Rigorous research suggests that the answer is yes for an important, underserved group: low-income, nonwhite students in urban areas. These children tend to do better if enrolled in charter schools instead of traditional public schools.

A consistent pattern has emerged from this research. In urban areas, where students are overwhelmingly low-achieving, poor and nonwhite, charter schools tend to do better than other public schools in improving student achievement.

Charter schools in Boston produced huge gains in test scores. A majority of students at Boston’s charters are African-American and poor. Their score gains are large enough to reduce the black-white score gap in Boston’s middle schools by two-thirds. Boston’s charters also do a better job at preparing students for college.

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Another registered teacher bites the dust…this one was preying on other teachers

The Labour party opposes charter schools mainly because there isn’t a requirement for all teachers to be registered at charter schools.

Every week though there are teachers before the courts.

A teacher from a top Auckland school who used the identity of a kiwi missing in the Australian outback to scam banks out of more than $67,000 will have to pay all the money back.

Auckland Grammar School economics, accounting and business studies teacher Rafe Callum Fannin, 36, also took two of his colleagues’ driving licences to fraudulently set up bank accounts in fake names.

Between September 2014 and June this year, Fannin swindled $67,408 from banks and finance companies and gambled it all away.  Read more »

The Charter Center in New York impressed by NZ Charter school model

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The article the New York Charter Centre is referring to was written by New Zealander Alwyn Poole who helped found the Villa Education Trust. The Trust operates Mount Hobson Middle School which is a private school and two of New Zealand’s first charter schools.

The New York City Charter School Center was founded in 2004 and claims to be the leading expert and proponent of New York City’s charter school movement.

We help new charter schools get started, support existing schools and build community and political support so that high quality charters can flourish.

I visited both South Auckland Middle School and West Auckland Middle School as a part of my investigation into New Zealand charter schools. Mount Hobson Middle School is the  successful model on which both charter schools are based. Recently I made face of the day an ex student of Mount Hobson who has been announced as Head Girl for Epsom Girls’ Grammar.

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Who is on quick dial for A Newpaper’s Education Repeater?

Encamped on the Left, a newspaper’s education reporter spent two days trying to tell the nation (or the few that still read the rag) why things are just too hard for lower income families and how schools are, therefore, on a hiding to nothing.

On day 3 she pretends to look for solutions and comes up with kids drawing posters at a few schools.

So she digs deeper into her inner circle and gets the response below from people who will never be in a position to do anything about anything – so they just waffle.

Only interesting solution is where Rashbrooke says give the families $1000.

What more we could do to close the achievement gap?

1. More support for kids with learning needs

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins says he would like to see the amount of support for children with special learning needs increased.

“I would also like to see more targeted programmes like Reading Recovery available in all schools, along with similar programmes in maths. Having said all of that, we can’t simply pretend that the lives kids lead outside the school gate don’t have an impact.”    Read more »

Registered and re-hired, despite violence toward children

Teacher registration should be mandatory for all educational facilities say the teacher unions and labour. They object to voluntary registration for Charter Schools and say that kids will be left unprotected.

Meanwhile registered teachers are lining up before the authorities on all sorts of charges. And one centre even employed a teacher accused of striking children.

So much for registration protecting kids.

Education officials are “extremely concerned” a Porirua early childhood centre has re-employed a teacher accused of striking children.

The centre has again hired one of the teachers at the centre of allegations three years ago.

Katrina Casey, the Ministry of Education’s head of sector enablement and support, said it put the centre on a provisional licence and barred the teacher from having any contact with children.

“We’re extremely concerned that the early childhood education service has chosen to re-employ a teacher who had previous allegations of hitting children still unresolved,” Ms Casey said.    Read more »