Partnership Schools

He says brochure for a cruise ship holiday like it’s a bad thing

Tom Haig in his article on the PPTA Blog writes disparagingly about a recent report’s findings on Charter Schools. As he highlights each positive statement from the report I can almost hear the scorn dripping off his fingers as he types.

“It’s a private commercial organisation” , a very profitable one too ”

Guess what? Charter school students love their small class sizes and feel like teachers really have time to work with them as individuals.

That’s the stunning new finding from the just released round one evaluation.

This report feels a bit like a brochure for a cruise ship holiday. Yep, cruise ship customers love it. But let’s not talk about the impact on the islands where the ships stop, discharge tourists and waste, and move right along.

confused child

confused child

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Iwi leaders embrace Charter Schools

Kura hourua ( Charter Schools ) allow communities to be part of their children’s education in a culture of high expectations. -The Herald

Iwi Leaders have agreed to actively support the establishment of partnership schools. Influenced by the success of Charter schools in New Zealand and the success of Charter schools in New Orleans, New York City, and Chicago they have unanimously decided that Charter Schools ( kura hourua ) be expanded and that more Maori communities be encouraged to become involved with them. They will be advocating to Government to expand the Act Party initiated scheme and will be publicly stressing…

…the importance of high-quality teaching, high educational achievement and strong supportive partnerships with iwi, communities and other organisations.

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PPTA agrees that Charter Schools get better results.

Well knock me down with a feather and call me Martin, the PPTA apparently always knew and acknowledged that smaller class sizes and the ability to choose how to allocate your government funding was always going to get better results.
In a response to my post ‘ How the PPTA should have spun it ‘ a reader called Sensiblecentre who has previously acknowledged that he is on the PPTA executive said…

The PPTA position has always been that the first round of model charter schools would indeed get better results than local state schools.


Given that the PPTA were totally against bulk funding in the past this is a very strange position to take.

Sensiblecentre then goes on to say…

Instead the success of the pilot schools will be used as justification to massively expand the charter system and condemn state schools as failures, ignoring the advantages charters have in funding.


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How the PPTA should have spun it *UPDATED

Living with a Master of the so called ‘ Dark Arts ‘ or ‘Spin Doctor,’ I have learned a lot about how to frame a situation. This skill is in great demand in advertising and in politics because it is the difference between a product or situation looking positive or negative. In its dishonest form it is called Propaganda because the spin contains lies, cherry picked statistics and omissions of pertinent facts. At its best it simply highlights the truthful positives of the product or situation.

The PPTA in their stance on Charter schools have gone for a very negative and adversarial approach. They have deliberately used statistics that don’t compare apples with apples when talking about funding of Charter Schools for example.They have told all sorts of lies, spun all sorts of stories and tried to destroy the people involved in the new schools. However the worm is starting to turn and the public are starting to see through the negative spin. Labour Party MPs are even defying Andrew Little on the issue by giving their personal support to Maori Education regardless of who provides it.

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Why Lefties should learn to love Charter Schools

LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ OUT OF THE DARKNESS: Tamati Falwasser, with classmate Austin Graham, at the South Auckland Middle School

 Tamati Falwasser, with classmate Austin Graham, at the South Auckland Middle School

Lefties should learn to love Charter schools for the same reasons Liberals in America should because…

  • President Obama is a strong supporter of charter schools, and many prominent progressives are now associated with Democrats for Education Reform, a left-leaning group that supports charters.
  • Our Lefties like the Liberals have been fed cherry-picked statistics which misrepresent the significant advances taking place.
  • Charter Schools are public/state schools despite propaganda from unions and their supporters suggesting otherwise.
  • Charter Schools that are run by experienced and widely-respected charter operators—not only beat traditional public schools serving students in the same demographic, they often outperform them by 20, 30, or even 50 points on many metrics.( The three Auckland Charters I visited for my series on Charter schools are all run by operators with many, many years of experience in education as well as a strong track record of success. )
  • The biggest beneficiaries have been African-American children.( The high school graduation rate nationally for black students is 59 percent. In New Orleans, it’s 65 percent, which is also much higher than the state average.)


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Typical PPTA response to competition

We all know how the Education unions have responded to Charter Schools, a blanket rejection no matter what. They have gone out of their way to damage and ultimately close down Charter Schools New Zealand-wide. There is no room in their world view for competition or a different way of doing things. There is only one way of doing things and heaven help anyone who wants to do something outside the box.

This attitude of  “it is our way or the highway” is continuing but their target this time is new. Before I show you the article let me first give you a business analogy.



Business (A) has a monopoly on an average product that is purchased New Zealand-wide. In order to continue to sell this average product the business has to meet certain targets.

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The PPTA need to have a stern word to Fairfax *UPDATED

Lauren LeDuff works with a student in her 10th-grade English class at Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans. Read more at

Lauren LeDuff works with a student in her 10th-grade English class at Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans.

Oh dear. The PPTA need to have a stern word to Fairfax. While they have a PPTA friendly Education reporter on tap in Kirsty Johnston who works for a Newspaper, Fairfax has let them down by failing to filter Pro-Charter School stories coming through automatically from overseas news organisations.

While it is a simple matter to send some PPTA press releases or articles straight through to Kirsty in order to frame the narrative the way they want it framed, Fairfax is undermining all their propaganda by allowing these kind of stories through.

Remember how the Education Unions all scream that Charter Schools are a failed model from overseas that they don’t want here? Well here is some inconvenient truth.

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Which organisation published this anti-Charter school cartoon in their newsletter?



The first time I spotted this cartoon it was in Metro Magazine or the Listener I don’t remember which.

Guess who used it in their newsletter recently?

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Two Politicians, two very different parties but a common belief in a ‘ Fair go ‘

After the story of the Student teacher hit the headlines I approached three politicians for comment and their responses are below. Two of them have a common belief in a ‘fair go’ for the Student teacher which is heartening to see.

Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Education, Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins,Labour Party’s spokesperson for Education.

I don’t comment on specific employment matters.

On the general issue, I would expect all trainee teachers to be given full support to complete their qualifications. They should not be discriminated against based on gender, race, sexuality, past employment, or future employment prospects.

– Chris Hipkins

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Charter school investigation: An informal chat with some Vanguard students

Quote on the wall at Vanguard Military school

Quote on the wall at Vanguard Military school

When visiting Vanguard Military school I was given the opportunity to sit around an oval table with a group of students to informally chat with them about themselves and their experiences at Vanguard.

At the end of our discussion they all shook my hand and looked me in the eye before leaving the room.

I have reported the conversation in the way that it happened. Whenever there is a break between comments, that indicates a new person speaking. I have chosen to take out the names of other schools that the students referred to and have replaced their names with the words, ‘my old school’ as this article is about Vanguard not other schools.

How did you come to be at this school?

I came from ‘my old school’,  progressing to this because it is more academic. I wanted to get my level 2 and level 3.

I came from ‘my old school’. I didn’t like my old school even though I lived five minutes away I never showed up or if I did show up I would show up for like P.E and go home. I found out about Vanguard through the Defence Force when I was applying. They referred me to Vanguard. Through that I’ve passed my NZ Defence Force fitness and aptitude test through Vanguard.

I heard about the school through a mate’s Mum. She recommended it to me. I was going to ‘my old school’ in Ellerslie and I wasn’t doing so well.

Why not?

I wasn’t focussed, couldn’t study, didn’t like it and now I come here I’m just pretty good, I like it and I’m passing everything so it’s pretty cool.

How do you find the discipline?

It’s good it really does show through outside of school.

I came from ‘my old school’ and at ‘my old school’ I was like really bad. I hanged out with the bad people. I found out about this school from my best friend she is here too.

Vanguard Military School students saying the school pledge PHOTO-Vanguard Military school facebook page

Vanguard Military School students saying the school pledge
PHOTO-Vanguard Military school facebook page

How do you find the discipline? Do you find it hard following the rules here?

Yeah in the beginning but it has really helped me become a better person.

I heard about the school at Ellerslie when Staff Hyde came in to introduce it. I went to ‘my old school’ in the Northern Territory of Australia before this. So I moved from Australia to get a better education here at Vanguard.

I came from ‘my old school’ and my parents heard about it on the radio. To be honest at first I wasn’t really keen on Military school. I wasn’t doing so well at school but it didn’t bother me. I didn’t really care what I got. But now coming here and seeing what I can do, going back there is not an option for me. I don’t want to ever be there again, like settle for something less that I actually can be.

Did your parents make you come?

Yeah my parents made me come.

So what was the first month like for you? Did you rebel?

No, I actually enjoyed it. The people here just changed my attitude and everything. There is more like Peers influencing me to change my style.


I am interested in knowing how bullying if it exists in the school, is dealt with?

I don’t think that we have major cases of bullying here because we are taught as we start this school that we are all the same. You know we all start, you don’t get a uniform until you earn it so everyone is kinda on the same level. Then you are put into different Sections which are your classes with a leader. So they kinda force you to work together so bullying doesn’t really affect us that much and if it does there is such big consequences for that from the teachers and things but it is just not really heard of.

Have any of you experienced bullying at your previous schools?

Yeah I did. I didn’t wear glasses at my previous school because I got called four eyes but when I came here no one has said anything. Cause I really needed glasses because my eyesight is really bad, I couldn’t see in class.

I got bullied quite a bit at Intermediate at Year 8. It got so bad that Mum said walk home if anybody says anything about you and stuff. Just some of the girls were like really horrible like I found notes in my desk and my shoes, they would hide my shoes so I couldn’t do P.E. It got really bad.

Did the teachers do anything or did you say anything?

Yeah I did. I wrote a letter to the teachers but it never really got dealt with and that’s when Mum was like if anything happens just walk home.You don’t have to tell your teachers, just come home. That was really bad.

What is one thing you like about Vanguard and what is one thing you do not like or have found difficult?

Getting up at 5.30am cause I just lived…  ‘my old school’ was walking distance of 3, 4, 5 minutes. I would just wake up at like 8 o’clock. Here I have to wake up at like 5.30am to get to school.

Sleeping teenage boy PHOTO-

Sleeping teenage boy

That is real dedication. You are a teenager. Teenagers like to sleep.

Yeah, I love my sleep but also I love coming here that’s why I get up so early. I wouldn’t do that for my old school. I wouldn’t do that.

I’d have to say the consistency of school, they demand 100% attendance whereas at my old school I would come like one day every two weeks. It’s hard but I do love coming here. The thing that I do like about this school is P.E and P.T because it makes you fitter, faster, stronger.

Vanguard students playing basketball. PHOTO- Vanguard Military School facebook page

Vanguard students playing basketball.
PHOTO- Vanguard Military School facebook page

One thing I do enjoy is that everyone tries here so when you do P.E and all that no one’s saying,” I don’t want to touch the ball.” Everyone’s going hard out like, ” Get the ball!” (sound of all the students laughing. ) The teachers really challenge you here. It is really good.

Image from an American Military Movie PHOTO-

Image from an American Military Movie

How much is it really like the Military? Do they speak to you differently? You see in the American movies the Sergeant  is in their face yelling. Is it like that for P.T?

Yeah for P.T it is but  not in the classroom.

Sometimes it is a bit confusing but it is like a balance between Military and school. Always during P.T there will be screaming. I think that is something all of us had to adjust to once we started Military school as the seriousness of P.T and things like that but it is never anything overboard. We learn not to muck around serious times but when it is like class time, the teacher that is going to teach you English isn’t going to scream at you. In saying that I think it is kinda good because we still have got that Military discipline so that it is easier for the teachers to teach teenagers really.

What kind of consequences and punishments do you have?

C.T. (Corrective Training ), burpees sometimes. Up downs, sometimes. You lie flat on the ground then jump back up again. You have to do it constantly it’s tiring.



Another one is C.T. so if you get in trouble for doing something the teacher will issue with a C.T. One C.T. is worth 10 minutes after school. It is so boring. Mind numbing.

A C.T. means standing at attention for the first 10 minutes and any time after that it is at ease.

We also have community service punishment for the baddies which is done during the holidays. They bring you in and if you don’t do your community service then you get another community service.

At this point in our discussion CEO Nick told me that the students needed to return to class so I had to bring our informal chat to a close. If you would like to learn more about what the students think of their school you can read my other article here.

This is the final article in my Investigation into Charter Schools where I asked the questions and reported back on the answers after visiting Hobson Middle School, West Auckland Middle School, South Auckland Middle school and Vanguard Military School.

If any State school or Charter school would like me to visit them they are welcome to contact me via the blog. If the PPTA would like the same opportunity I would be very happy to meet with them as well. Just as I have with the schools I have visited so far I will do everyone the courtesy of sending them the questions I will be asking before I visit. I am not about putting people on the spot or trying to catch people out with surprise questions. I am about finding the answers to our readers’ questions and my own.

I am even prepared to answer any questions that the PPTA or schools may have of me on the understanding that I will be free to publish their questions and my answers on this Blog as they will likewise be free to use my answers in their publications.

Next Saturday I will publish an opinion piece (Editorial) about Charter Schools.