State school

Rodney Hide on union fear and loathing of charter schools

Rodney Hide writes in the NBR about the fear and loathing of charters schools by doctrinaire unions.

On cue with last week’s column explaining why lefties are a miserable lot, the principal of Bruce McLaren Intermediate, Roy Lilley, hit the papers having a moan.

His gripe? Charter schools. His worry? That they will pinch his pupils with inducements of a free uniform and a policy of no donations. The new charter schools, he says, will have a “huge” and negative impact.

The newspaper reports Mr Lilley’s school having 416 spare places. The 2013 Education Review Office Report confirms the roll at 248. His school’s almost two-thirds empty.

Why isn’t Mr Lilly offering free uniforms? Why isn’t he having a “no donations” policy? Why isn’t he offering what students and parents want, so a charter school is no threat? Why isn’t he offering to rent his spare capacity to the new charter school and achieve synergy?

Why aren’t we laughing at him?

We would if he was the local supermarket whining about a rival opening up down the road. We would be laughing and looking forward to sharper prices, better service and higher quality produce.

Teachers, and their unions aren’t interested in any of that, they are interested in protecting their own hegemony of the system.

But schools are different. Here we have never known choice and competition. Our schools are run like the Soviet economy. The Ministry of Education is our Kremlin.

The Soviets were frightened: who would feed, clothe and house them if not the government? We are the same. We can’t imagine schooling in the absence of government direction and control.

Who would build the schools? Who would feed the teachers? Who would decide what is to be taught? And how?

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Charter School Opponents will ignore Sweden now

Four points from this research summary 

1. Growth of free schools has led to better high school grades & university participation, even accounting for other factors such as grade inflation.

2. Crucially, state school pupils seem to benefit about as much as independent school ones. When ‘bog standard comprehensive’ face new tougher competition, they shape up. They know they’ll lose pupils if they don’t. As the researchers put it: ‘these positive effects are primarily due to spill-over or competition effects and not that independent-school students gain significantly more than public school students.’

3. Free schools have produced better results on the same budget. Their success cannot be put down to cash. Or, as they say, ‘We are also able to show that a higher share of independent-school students in the municipality has not generated increased school expenditures.’

4. That the ‘free school effect’ is at its clearest now because we now have a decade’s worth of development and expansion.

[Full report ]

Will NZEI and PPTA show the integrity that good teachers expect from students – or will people like NZEI’s Paul Goulter continue to lie to the New Zealand public and try and deny parents the right to choose educational options for their children.

Given that this evidence was available in November of last year. Paul Goulter needs to retract this statement:

“We would go further and say that, based on overseas evidence, there are absolutely no benefits to be gained from charter schools.”

Are teachers really happy with this kind of representation?