Education

Being able to choose proves a winner for kids & parents at Vanguard Military School

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Vanguard Military School this morning released the results of last years academic year.

They are impressive and shows that while the media and opposition wishes to ankle tap charter schools they are just getting on with providing excellence in education for their students.

A quick summary of their results shows that from their official results from NZQA 96.2% passed at NCEA Level 1 and 100% at NCEA Level 2. 

I’m sure opponents will try to discredit these results but I note the following also:

  • 31 students had previously failed NCEA before attending Vanguard and have now passed.
  • All students at Vanguard get enrolled to sit NCEA regardless of baseline testing data, an example of this are students who still don’t know their full times tables are enrolled in NCEA Level 1 Maths.
  • They teach the NZ Curriculum.  Read more »

Former charter school foe tells why he changed sides

The teacher unions and the vested interests of the current education system oppose charter schools.

They dream up all sorts of horror scenarios and push them onto a compliant media in order to oppose changes in education.

Brian Lewis was one of those people…until as he put it “life happened”.

From 2008 to 2013, I was the front line of defense against all proposals before the General Assembly that would privatize public education, including tax credits for students with special needs, opportunity scholarships for children living in poverty and charter school expansion.

I opposed all efforts to “drain funds from public schools,” especially for private schools that I described as “unaccountable” and “scams” for the North Carolina taxpayer and the children they served.

Then life happened.

In December, my daughter enrolled in a private school in Raleigh, a heart-wrenching decision our family made after six great years in public schools. This past fall, Isabel found herself in a middle school environment for which she was unprepared and ill-suited. She was sinking in a new setting nearly void of the nurturing teacher-student relationships we enjoyed a year ago.

From the start, we advocated within the system for Isabel through emails, teacher conferences and calls with administrators. Eventually, testing accommodations were made. Still, Isabel was slipping away. She dreaded school, we dreaded school, and it was clear the teachers dreaded it, too. We hit the wall in November and came to the conclusion that public middle school was not the answer. In fact, it was the problem.

Read more »

Charter Schools are Cost Effective

A new State Primary School opened in Hamilton recently – Endeavour Primary School. No doubt needed and a good plan. In terms of costs:

– Set up costs approx. $21million

– Number of students at start – approximately 100 (eventually to be 600).

The PPTA/NZEI/Labour and assorted hangers-on have banged on about how expensive Charter Schools supposedly are and have compared them, in their establishment phase to long established State schools.  Read more »

Willie Jackson comes out punching on Charter Schools

Willie Jackson refuses to drink the Labour and union Kool Aid on charter schools and has established his own charter school.

He has hit out at the status quo.

Radio New Zealand reports.

A new south Auckland charter school has taken a swing at state schools but another says it wants to support its neighbours rather than compete with them.

Te Kura Maori o Waatea in Mangere said it has been set up because some state schools are failing their Maori students.

In contrast, Pacific Advance Senior School in Otahuhu said it will be helping local secondary schools by taking on the teens they are struggling with.

The schools are among four new charter schools that have opened this year joining five that started last year.

Chief executive of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority Willie Jackson said its bilingual school, Te Kura Maori o Waatea, started this week with 40 students.

He hopes the publicly-funded private school will grow to 200 children within five years, but in doing so he does not want to run the two other kura in the area out of business.

“We’re not in this game to shut down other schools, we’re in this game to offer better options for our people. We need to find ways of supporting each other rather than looking at each other as cutting each other’s throat,” he said.

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PPTA points the finger – 3 pointing back at them

State school costs hit hard at this time of the year. Every kid having a laptop at school is highly debatable in terms of its educational worth but Principals clearly think they need to keep up with the school down the road.

Fairfax and the Herald both carry articles this morning on school costs.

In the Fairfax article Angela Roberts of the PPTA throws the blame on the taxpayer (via the government):

Post Primary Teachers’ Association president Angela Roberts said costs for parents were rising as the Government “abdicated responsibility” for costs of learning essentials.

“There is a mismatch between what New Zealand really wants for their kids and what the Government will fund,” she said.

Charter Schools are a lot cheaper for families – no donations and many costs such as uniform,stationery and IT covered.    Read more »

Another Nail in the “Charter Schools are over-funded” coffin

PPTA, NZEI and opposition parties have tried to establish the myth of Charter Schools being over-funded in the minds of what they consider to be the gullible public.

For the first 4 Years of the first 5 schools the whole Charter School budget was $19 million (i.e. less than $5 million a year). Charter School start-up funding is approximately $1 million per school.

Hekia Parata has just announced a new State School in Takanini. Start up funding $20 million.

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced that $20 million has been set aside for the establishment of a new primary school in Takanini, Auckland.

Takanini is a fast-growing suburb and anticipated population growth is expected to generate approximately 4000 additional pupils by 2020.

Ms Parata says Takanini is a sought-after area because of special housing and private land development and there is a need to cater to the booming school-aged population.    Read more »

In NZ too – Teacher Unions against helping if they lose control

The opposition and teacher unions continue to rail against charter schools despite mounting evidence overseas that charter schools massively help amongst the poor and disadvantaged.

Forbes magazine has an article about charter schools that shows that charter schools are doing well for their student and the unions are a road block to success.

They look at a recent CREDO study that found:

While overall charters and public schools compare relatively closely, both the 2009 and 2013 study found that charters did better for students in poverty. In addition, performance gap is growing over time:

Charter school impacts with students in poverty and English language learners were positive in 2009 in both reading and math. These positive results have sustained and in fact increased in 2013.

And the results are especially strong for black students in poverty. As the CREDO study reports:

“Black students in poverty who attend charter schools gain an additional 29 days of learning in reading and 36 days in math per year over their [traditional public school] counterparts (see Figure 30). This shows the impact of charter schooling is especially beneficial for black students who in poverty.”

You see this result repeated on other studies as well. Using randomized study results from charter school lotteries in Massachusetts, Angrist, Pathak, and Walters find that non-urban charters don’t outperform public schools and may even do worse, but urban charter schools benefit black students and poor students:

Black and Hispanic students benefit considerably from urban charter attendance in middle school, but the estimated math gains for whites are smaller, with no increase in whites’ ELA scores. Urban charter middle schools appear to produce especially large achievement gains for students eligible for a subsidized lunch and for those with low baseline scores.Attendance at urban charter high schools increases math scores in every group and raises reading scores for everyone except whites, though estimates for small groups are imprecise.

It’s hard to imagine it another policy being called a failure because it only benefitted poor students and black students but the overall scores were held down by non-urban schools and white students.  

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Would you like some Propaganda with your education?

The Land of the Free is already having its educational institutions infiltrated. A few lone voices are ringing the alarm bells but is anyone listening? This is how it starts, small changes that are hard to fight, creeping Islam is what I call it.

 

Parents in Farmville, North Carolina want to know why their children were given a Common Core vocabulary assignment in an English class that promoted the Prophet Muhammad and the Islamic faith.

“It really caught me off guard,” a Farmville Central High School student who was in the class told me. “If we are not allowed to talk about any other religions in school – how is this appropriate?”

The Islamic vocabulary worksheet was assigned to seniors.

Muslim Worksheet

Muslim Worksheet

“I was reading it and it caught me off guard,” the student told me. “I just looked at it and knew something was not right – so I emailed the pages to my mom.”

I asked the school district to provide me with a copy of vocabulary worksheets that promoted the Jewish, Hindu and Christian faiths. The school district did not reply.

Read more »

High Quality Staff at Charter Schools: PPTA NIghtmare

Back in February the PPTA were in full panic mode, and still are, about Charter Schools in NZ.

Their recommendations and comments:

- that PPTA members should not seek to work in charter schools and should avoid all professional, sporting and cultural liaison with the sponsors, managers and employees of said schools

– that the five New Zealand charter schools are simply “useful idiots”

The PPTA exec must have wept when the new schools attracted staff and must be apoplectic when schools like Vanguard Military School and South Auckland Middle School generated quality ERO reports (not a bad effort for “useful idiots”).

For kids who need choice this is clearly good news (a point lost on teacher unions) and there seems better to come. The new Middle School in West Auckland recently announced their leadership and highly academic intent.

James Haggett has been appointed Principal of West Auckland’s newest school, Middle School West Auckland, opening in February 2015.

The new school, based at 4341 Great North Rd in Glendene, is for boys and girls in Years 7-10.

Mr Haggett brings experience in two educational examination systems (NCEA and Cambridge), as well as the context of teaching in both the UK and New Zealand.

“I am delighted to lead the establishment of Middle School West Auckland. I identify strongly with the absolute academic drive of the school.

“My experience in the secondary school sector will be useful to ensuring our students are well prepared and transition effectively to the high schools of their choice.”

Mr Haggett’s early teaching career was in low socio-economic schools in the UK. Emigrating to New Zealand seven years ago, he was the Deputy Headmaster in charge of Curriculum at St Peters College, a Catholic secondary school for boys. In addition, he has operated an education consultancy, tutoring students to Excellence level.

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Registered and selling drugs at pre-school

The teacher unions and their proxies in parliament, the Green party and the Labour party, all oppose charter schools. The one main issue they have is that there is no requirement for all teachers at charter schools to be registered.

Apparently registration is there to protect the kids.

Yet there isn’t a day that goes by where one registered teacher or another is hauled before the courts or the Teachers Tribunal for a range of offences.

The latest is two registered drug dealing pre-school teachers.

A “one-off” drug deal at a Wanaka preschool has resulted in two teachers having their registrations torn up.

Wanaka early childhood teachers Catherine Ngaire Williamson and Gemma Ward were deregistered by the New Zealand Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal and censured for serious misconduct after Ecstasy changed hands at Oanaka EduCare in the resort town.

In November last year, Ms Williamson took to the preschool three Ecstasy tablets, which were bought by Ms Ward.

Oanaka EduCare owner Sandie Dodds said she felt the right decision was made.

“I don’t think there’s any room for any teacher to have drugs at an early childhood centre,” she said.

Read more »