Education

Charter Schools helping families is wrong says principal of rival school

A Henderson intermediate school is upset that Charter Schools are not allowed to charge for donations and also make the audacious move of providing uniform and stationery to save families money in January and help make education genuinely free (a lefty ideal?).

Roy Lilley, principal of Bruce McLaren Intermediate, which had 416 spare places, said he was concerned about the new partnership school.

“They are offering free uniforms, no donations … totally free. The impact on local schools could be huge.”

Bruce McLaren Intermediate already has 416 spare places….and this is somehow the fault of a small Charter School (Middle School West Auckland) that will begin in 2015 and have – when the roll is full – a maximum of 120 intermediate age children from the whole of West Auckland (Charter Schools don’t have zones).

If uniform and stationery is really the problem then the Bruce McLaren Principal could check those numbers.

Lets say – generously – the wholesale cost of uniform and stationery is $200 per student. Mr Lilley has 240 students to cater for – therefore the provision would cost $48,000. According to the Fairfax School Report his school receives $1,760,000 (plus buildings and centralised services). Therefore to provide for these families he only needs to re-prioritise 2.7% of his annual budget – problem solved – his school will be full again.    Read more »

Some more thoughts on today’s watershed Charter Schools article from Fairfax

A reader emails about Charter Schools:


Simon Day of Fairfax has gone where few have gone before him in NZ and gets some depth into the Charter School situation.

He notes the good beginning for Vanguard Military School and South Auckland Middle School (which comes out of Newmarket’s successful Mt Hobson Middle School.

Day even bothered to read the official ERO reports of the positive starts for Vanguard and SAMS.

Even better, and perhaps more astoundingly – he went to the schools and found out things from Vanguard like:

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.

and from SAMS like:

At SAMS his teachers have reached him and motivated him. They know his needs and personality. His grades have lifted. “They are more like role models to me. I am not afraid of them any more,” he says.

Day even read overseas research (unlike the PPTA) and found that:

[I]n its 2013 report on the 6000 US charter schools, Stanford University found dramatically improved results, where achievement was either ahead or at the same level of public schools. It also showed key benefits for black students, students in poverty, and English language learners.

Read more »

Charter schools rocking, time to have more

While the teacher union focus o opposing charter schools there is a thought in the US that the schools should be embraced and extended such is the success of them.

The teacher lobby, as we have seen, uses emotive clap-trap and very few facts to support their argue that charter schools are evil.

Let’s look at some facts though.

This month, New York State approved 17 new city charter schools to open over the next few years. Sadly, they could be among the last.

Sometime in 2015, New York State will have to stop approving new charters. That’s not because these schools haven’t proven themselves (their achievement often far exceeds that of the districts they reside in). It’s not because there isn’t enough demand (50,000 families are on waitlists).

Rather, it’s because state law currently caps the number of charters allowed to open, and we’ve almost reached the limit.

Putting the brakes on a wildly successful education strategy is bad policy. It’s terrible for the city’s kids, thousands of whom will be denied schools that have shown they can close the achievement gap in some of our most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

There is an obvious answer: Simply eliminate this arbitrary and artificial barrier to creating more great public schools. After all, we’ve already twice raised the number of charter schools that can be opened in New York City, from 100 to 200 in 2007 and then again by another 114 in 2010.  Read more »

Why doesn’t the PPTA solve this problem?

The PPTA are gearing up for a massive war against the government and Charter Schools.

They are going to expend massive union resources on just 5 or 6 schools they don’t like.

Meanwhile another teacher is deregistered after appearing before the courts.

A teacher has had her registration cancelled after failing to disclose a drink driving charge.

Louise Patricia Thomson first appeared before the Teacher Disciplinary Tribunal in June 2013 following traffic offences, including a drink driving offence.

At this hearing Ms Thomson failed to notify the tribunal of a further conviction for excess breath alcohol from 2012, the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal has found.     Read more »

David Seymour is allowed out with training wheels on

David+Seymour+ACT+Party+Conference+H-Fu08aFAynl

via Zimbio

ACT leader David Seymour has been sworn in as New Zealand’s first parliamentary under-secretary since 2005, with Prime Minister John Key signalling a ministerial post lies ahead.

He now holds the roles of parliamentary under-secretary to the minister of education and to the minister for regulatory reform.

He will also serve on the finance and expenditure select committee.

The under-secretary position means Seymour will not be subject to questions in the House. It appears he will not be subject to the Official Information Act also.

That’s the critical part.  In previous terms Banks and Dunne have been put under a huge amount of pressure as they were seen as the Achilles heels of the Teflon National Party coalition.  There is no reason to suspect Labour will not put a brutal amount of pressure on the inexperienced Seymour, and this solves that problem.   Read more »

Guest Post: The Point of Teaching

It is with growing frustration that I read press release after press release (and some reporters even pick up on it) that children cannot learn in NZ classrooms because of inequality or learning difficulties. A classic example is that of former NZEI President Judith Nowatowski:

“No matter how fantastic a teacher is, the socio-economic background of a child is by far the biggest indicator of educational success. We want every child to reach their potential, but that is difficult for children who live in transient, unhealthy homes with near-empty fridges,” she said.

While there are no doubt research correlations, and no doubt economic problems to be solved,  the very last thing any teacher should take into any classroom is a preconception that any individual child cannot succeed because….

Education is about ensuring that a child is a victim of nothing and teachers – collectively or individually giving it the … “you can’t because”… is not what they are paid for.

A key aim of teaching is to work with individuals to defy the odds. Teaching should always be 100% aspirational – never a finger pointing exercise. Teachers, parents, children and communities are all affected by negativity from those whose job it is to inspire and educate the next generation. (This was another NZEI bleat: “This government has tried to create a ‘crisis’ atmosphere in schools to justify its agenda that includes National Standards, charter schools and a competitive, business approach to education,” she said. “They’re trying to blame teachers for children not reaching their potential when poverty is the real cause.”)

It only takes one example to state why it is important for teachers/educators to never write children off – or even cite background – as a deterministic factor in why they cannot succeed. So, I have been doing some reading, and here are two extreme international examples to really fill the pot.

Wilma Glodean Rudolph was born premature and sickly on June 23, 1940, in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee, the 20th of 22 children to parents Ed and Blanche Rudolph, and went on to become an African-American pioneer of track and field. But the road to victory was not an easy one for Wilma Rudolph. Stricken with polio as a child, she had problems with her left leg and had to wear a brace. It was with great determination and the help of physical therapy that she was able to overcome the disease as well as her resulting physical disabilities. She overcame her disabilities through physical therapy and hard work, and went on to become a gifted runner. Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympics in 1960, at the Summer Games in Rome, and later worked as a teacher and track coach.

Read more »

Yet Another Teacher Makes Excuses

Pretend economist Peter Lyons (“if you can’t do it, teach it” archetype) gets to voice this in the increasing desperate NZ Herald.

As with others – the major thrust of left wing “educators” is their inability to be effective due to the background of their pupils (lets hope they don’t take credit for any success their students have as surely that is just “background” too).

They all seem to have forgotten that public education was set up to help students overcome problems – not to blandly accept them. Not even sure why they take an income if they regard themselves as being so currently ineffective.

Leave the job Peter – solve the country’s economic problems – then return to teaching when you can do the job.

Lyons’ first insult in this piece is to call students “raw material”.

 Star principals and teachers will advise under-performing schools how to improve their production processes. This ignores the differences in the raw material that different schools work with.

Lyons works for a school in the middle of Epsom – St Peter’s College that manages to significantly exceed the national failure rate at NCEA Level 1.

This was a school that in 2012 received no excellence endorsements at that level.   Read more »

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 »