Charter Schools

A remarkably insightful, level and sensible Herald editorial. (I think I need a lie down)

With the recent OECD report being used by Labour and National alike to beat each other around the ears, and used by the Greens as a “told ya so” exercise, you’d think we’re all going to economic hell in a hand basket.

Not so.

The OECD, often described as a club of rich countries, has produced a report supporting a view that a widening gap between rich and poor within its member states is not only bad for their society but also harms their economic growth. The report is of particular note to New Zealand because it names this country as one of those in which income inequality has widened most since the mid-1980s. It estimates that rising inequality has cost New Zealand more than 10 percentage points of possible economic growth since 1990, which appears to be more than any other member of the club.

In one sense this is not a surprise. New Zealand was a highly protected economy until the mid-1980s with a strongly unionised labour force, high taxation and universal benefits. It had removed these arrangements rapidly by the mid-1990s, conscious that it was opening itself to world markets later than most and with trade disadvantages of distance and scale. Even now, with its income gap having grown more than most, inequality in New Zealand is no worse than the OECD average.

Well, isn’t that a welcome bit of info? ¬† And the editorial gets even more calming. ¬† Read more »

Delahunty Needs to Withdraw and Apologise re: Charter Schools

It is a disgrace that the Greens have Catherine Delahunty as a spokesperson. She is proud of not having completed a degree – brilliant example to NZ youth – and she talks nonsense and treats the NZ public as idiots.

Yesterday she banged on about the high apparent cost of a Charter School and the falling role of a Year 11 – 13 situation without finding out that many of those children have moved out because they had come in, achieved the qualifications (which they hadn’t done in State Schools) and moved on. I wrote earlier about that precise example, but have now done some more research to show out of touch the member for Mars is.

Delahunty would prefer they failed and stayed – which is what the Greens do in Parliament.

She also knowingly compares vastly different funding situations – i.e. lies to the public by omission. The Charter Schools are in start up situations and their costs include all costs (i.e. buildings and centralised services). Ask Delahunty to do a similar comparison with the two Hobsonville Point schools for instance.

The Charter Schools average around $1.3million for all aspects of set up. Here are some comparative figures for State School set-up;

Ormiston Senior College: $50m

Murupara upgrade: $10m

$350 million for 9 new Auckland schools; $50 million for Western Springs re-build.

$22 million for Gardens School Manurewa rebuild

Albany Senior High $47+million

Hobsonville Points PPP (2 schools) $113million

All of this is publicly available information and yet the lazy Green party and equally lazy media just repeat their tired old lies.¬† Read more »

Why the PPTA wants to snuff out Charter Schools: they work (too well)

Makes you sick to the stomach to know that a teachers union is dedicated to eradicating educational success to protect the average and the ineffective among its members – no matter the human cost

On the completed entry tests for next year’s intake of students at the Vanguard Military School, one of New Zealand’s first charter schools, there were plenty of 16 and 17 year olds who failed to spell ‚Äėencourage’, ‚Äėdescribe’, or ‚Äėnational’ correctly.

They couldn’t subtract 27 from 74. They didn’t even attempt to answer the simple division and multiplication questions.

Isaac Berry, 16, used to be one of those kids. Last year he only achieved 14 credits towards his level one NCEA. You need 80 credits to pass.

“I kind of forgot to go to school last year,” he said.

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.

I’ve been tracking the success of¬†Vanguard Military School since its inception, and if nothing else, if the kids can now spell “national” correctly, I can see why the PPTA would be unhappy! Read more »

PPTA gearing up for major anti-charter school move

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Charter schools must be such a threat to teachers in New Zealand.  What are the numbers involved?

At 1 July 2013, the number of state and private schools in New Zealand was 2,539. This is 19 fewer than in July 2012.

Between 1 July 2012 and 1 July 2013, a total of 27 schools closed: Two state intermediates, 15 full primary state schools, four contributing state schools, one private composite, one state special school, and two state and two private secondary schools. Read more »

Act says being in government was a mistake

In the latest ‘Letter’, Act says that being in government was a mistake.

Readers may not have noticed, and if so we are sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but ACT is struggling in the polls. This would seem surprising as the party now has the whole of the right/center to itself.  The Letter thinks there is an organisational issue here.  ACT joining National in government has compromised the party.  In the last five years, what have we heard from ACT on the advantages of low flat tax to increase investment, growth and jobs?   How many speeches have you heard on the advantages of free markets?   It has taken having a leader outside Parliament to get ACT back to advocating the party’s core policies. Those policies remain ACT’s bedrock. Yet, it is a big ask to expect a new leader in five months to overcome five years of being too close to government.

I disagree with them on this.

The alternative being espouses seems to be that the delivery of Charter Schools was a poor choice and instead they’d rather have made 200 speeches to no one about flat tax.¬† Read more »

ACT education policy may suit National as Parata wants more charter schools

Sophia Duckor-Jones at ZB reported

Education minister Hekia Parata says the government’s considering a second round of charter schools.

The comment comes after an announcement from the ACT Party which wants state schools to be able to elect to become a charter school.

Ms Parata says the government has commissioned an evaluation of the model before they can make any further decisions.

ACT’s policy won’t be popular with the PPTA – as it¬†is opt-in bulk funding by another name

ACT made the establishment of partnership schools a condition of its confidence and supply agreement with the National-led government, and it now wants to extend the policy.

Leader Jamie Whyte unveiled the party’s education policy in a speech today, saying all school boards should be able to opt out of control by the Ministry of Education and be bulk funded according to the number of students they attract.

“This policy entails no additional government spending,” he said.

Five partnership schools were opened this year and another five are expected to open in 2015.

“These few schools come under constant attack for being additional to the current stock of state schools and therefore reducing the funds available to them.

“The answer is to give all state schools the option of becoming partnership schools,” he said.

The policy will give teachers freedom to adapt their methods to their students and schools the freedom to innovate.

I wonder what ACT will take into any coalition talks as their number one policy.  It will probably be this one.

- NZN

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 »

Hipkins’ newest policy: Ban IES

"How many houses does your Dad have? What! None? I've got 3, what is he, a loser?"

Don’t worry kid, once I’m in charge, you won’t have to worry about standards

Labour’s brilliant education policy on banning all change and progression in education continues:

  • Ban National Standards
  • Ban Charter Schools (which he refuses to even visit)
  • Ban IES (Investing in Educational Success)

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 »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit: SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin