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 ‘encourage’, ‘describe’, or ‘national’ 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!

Willie Jackson’s Manukau Urban Maori Authority will open a bilingual year one and two charter school for 50 students based at the Nga Whare Waatea marae in Mangere.

Only 58.6 per cent of Maori pupils leave school with NCEA Level Two, compared to 80 per cent of Pakeha. When you have a system that produces those results you have a problem, Jackson says. “There is a prejudice against some of our kids whether they care to admit it or not,” he says. “They don’t feel accepted. The mainstream system has to accept some of the blame.”

Jackson, a former Labour MP and trade union organiser, says he’s sick of “political nonsense” around charter schools and won’t denounce the idea just because it originated on the Right. “Our focus is about turning around our kids’ lives.”

Jackson’s got his head screwed on, and can see that success comes from educating the kids that will otherwise fall off the edge.  For a died in the wool union man like Willie to put kids above unions shows how cynical and self serving the PPTA really are.


– Simon Day, Sunday Star Times

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