Free thinking people and student success terrifies Teacher Unions everywhere

The teacher unions oppose charter schools, they can’t tell you why, just that they don;t work.

The Labour party opposes charter schools, they can’t tel you why, just that they will abolish them.

The Green party opposes charter schools, they can’t tell you why, and they haven’t even visited a single one, but they don’t want them either.

What those three groups are all afraid of is people thinking for themselves and giving people choice.

But everywhere in the world where choice exists charter schools flourish and so do the students.

In November 2003, Eva Moskowitz, then a freshman member of the New York City Council, held explosive public hearings about how union contracts imposed inane work rules on public schools. The city’s political establishment was astonished.

Mosowitz—a former history professor, public school teacher, and self-proclaimed liberal, whose politics up until that point seemed to resemble those of every other Democratic politician in New York—was sacrificing her political career to take on organized labor. Exposing the consequences of teacher union contracts was a direct affront to the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), which wields enormous influence in New York City elections. 

Moskowitz didn’t pussyfoot. At one point in the hearings, she even played audio testimony from a whistleblower with a disguised voice. She said that many of her sources declined to appear because they feared union retribution. She also went toe-to-toe with Randi Weingarten, the UFT’s confrontational leader.

Two years later, when Moskowitz ran for Manhattan Borough President, Weingarten and the UFT mobilized against her and sunk her candidacy. So Moskowitz left politics for the time being; if she couldn’t transform the system from within, she would build an alternative to the public schools.

Today, Moskowitz is the founder and CEO of Success Academy, which is the city’s largest and most successful charter school network. With 32 schools around New York City—staffed by a non-union teaching force—Success Academy posted test results last year that astounded education policy experts.

Meanwhile, Moskowitz and her charter school allies started building a powerful coalition to counter the outsized political influence of organized labor. In March, when New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) tried to squash Success Academy’s expansion plans,Moskowitz bused 11,000 charter school parents and kids up to the state capital in Albany to protest—and New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo came out in support. De Blasio retreated. Success Academy could move forward with its expansion plans after all, and state lawmakers quickly passed a bill to protect charter schools from future interference by the mayor.

The government should move to expand charter schools…the more kids succeed the less people will listen to the moaners who care more about mediocrity and tenure and patch protection.


– Reason TV


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  • caochladh

    Any chance we can swap Eva from New York for the Green Muppet Julie Ann Genter who came from Rochester, Minnesota.

    • andrew carrot

      So Julie Ann swapped the Great Plains, with their vast array of fluffy little clouds for the Land of the Long White Cloud. There’s a theme running through here, as in, “her head is always in the…”.

  • Dairy_Flat

    Governor Cuomo (Republican) also approved additional charter schools over and above reinstating approvals for those that de Blasio had blocked. It’s widely known in NY that the current mayor is in the union’s pocket. Love to know who owns the Auckland mayor.

    • James

      I think that we all know who owns the Auckland mayor – he is run by the little brain below his waist.

    • Wallace Westland

      The Auckland Mayor is owned soley by his South Auckland Maori and Pacifika voters.
      Witness the way he is bleeding all other regions to fund them.

    • taurangaruru

      Given past indiscretions I would venture he is largely “owned” by his little head – seems to me the little head makes most of the big decisions in Lenny’s life.

  • All_on_Red

    I found it astounding that they still have in place Union rules from the 1960’s on demarcation lines about which Union can do what work.
    Still, Its the same the world over, Unions using political funding to elect who they want so they can control them to preserve their entitlements.
    And it leads to stagnation and decline * cough Detroit, California etc*.
    Look at the way they attacked Governor. Scott Walker. What is it, two recall elections he’s had to survive now, all driven by the Unions.
    The corrupt Political Elite. Their motto is, “Serve ourselves and screw the public”. And then get our children little Johnny and Mary Lou in on the gravy train. Ain’t name recognition grand…
    Thank god our NZEI is viewed with healthy scepticism here.

  • Jas

    Why is that the most militant Unions today are ones with mostly female members, the Teachers, Nurses and PSA.

    One would think that females would want whatever is best for children and if charter schools can do a good job why stop them. Or is it that the membership is mostly ‘middle class left wing white liberals’ who prefer to have a lower class who they can be seen to be helping and stoke their own egos?

    • Sir Brucey

      And quite often they send their children somewhere other than the local school. It seems state schools are often good enough for other peoples kids just not their own.

  • cmm

    On average, homeschooled kids outperform school kids too.

    It seems the very worst thing you can do for education is to hand your kids over to the “normal” union-approved teachers.

  • 1951

    “…it is going to take the citizens……parents are going to demand a change…” I hope here, we first have a media that will do it’s job and ensure that documentaries like this are viewed by the general public. That the media will do it’s job and promote discussion about issues like this. That the media see like many of us that in some ways, our schools are failing too many kids.

  • metalnwood

    You always have to ask if there is a motive when people don’t want you to have choice but they want to make the choice for you. There is always going to be a motive and often not with your best interest in mind.

  • louie

    There is a Jo Moir hit job on stuff today complete with lying headline

  • cows4me

    It’s no so much losing union jobs that upset these Liberal fascists it’s the thought that the Liberal agenda is not been rammed into the heads of the young. Most of these screaming Liberal fools are products of an education system they wish to impose on the young. It’s the Liberal agenda that is at stake as education by brainwashing must take precedence over all Liberal policy. Education is the key to a society that these Liberal/Progressive want to establish. Anyone not educated on a diet of Liberalism can see though their lies like a pain of glass, education by Liberals is like trying to look though a sheet of lead.

    • Orange

      Crumbs a little less mouth foaming there Cows. :O

  • Baron

    Man you just listen to what you want to hear! The unions and Labour have told you plenty of times whats wrong with charter schools but you National lackeys don’t want to hear!! Would you let an untrained nurse perform open heart surgery on you?! Thats a one off, charter schools allow anyone to come in and ‘teach’ children and who will you blame in twenty years for the unskilled poorly educated generation?! Teachers of course!! Wake up and realize that there is a reason teachers are professionals!

    • phronesis

      Excellent satire there Baron. I particularly liked the bit about nurse’s performing open heart surgery.

    • In Vino Veritas

      “unskilled poorly educated generation”. Well Baron, we have at least 10% of kids in this boat already. And guess who doesn’t take the blame? And here is a bit of news for you. Your analogy is nonsense. Nurses don’t perform open heart surgery, and never have. And teachers have only been “professional” as you say, in the last two decades or so. Unqualified teachers were everywhere in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
      Charter Schools are under attack in NZ by Unions soley because Union power in the sector is threatened. What is laughable, is that teachers are paid by the taxpayer, and they believe they need Union protection from the taxpayer! So whenever teachers bleat that they have “parent support”, think again, since if they did, they wouldn’t need to be unionised!

      • Baron

        Sorry to disagree but teachers are paid by the ministry, I would check your facts on that one. Charter schools are under attack by unions as they are a failed model brought in from UK and USA. Again check your facts. Even if we had parental support it would make a blind difference against a bullying principal, or minister for ed! Teachers can also be wrongly targeted by principals, pupils, parents … You get the point and a union would represent them and get to the truth when otherwise the poorly paid teacher would have to pay it themselves. I have yet to meet a teacher who went into the profession looking to coast for the next 40 yrs. successive governments hamstring teachers by forcing ridiculous amounts of paperwork on them leading to neglect in classroom and yes there are teachers who take the easy way out and let kids fail! But make no mistake the world is full of teachers who are busting a gut to ensure the best education possible for the kids in their care disput the mistrust from people like yourself. Also to add a parent has responsibility to ensure their kid is at school to be educated!

        • Wahbonnah

          Who pays the Ministry that employs the teachers?

        • In Vino Veritas

          Please baron. Paid by the Ministry which is funded by who? Do you think money to pay teachers magically appears in the Ministry coffers? Far from checking my facts, I suggest you check yours. For every failed charter school there are as many that have succeeded.
          Bullying principal? You jest! The principals job is to run the school. Teachers essentially work for, and report to the principal. The buck stops with the Principal, and whilst you go back to the classroom and carry on, the Principal takes a beating from (a) the Board and (b) the MOE.
          Wake up Baron, being targeted by various other parties is not the sole domain of teachers. It happens in all walks of life, and guess what? Only 6% of workers in NZ that are not public servants are unionised. I guess that spells out the fact that teachers are the dinosaurs of the work force. No one disputes that teachers are trying their hardest to educate kids. Just like no one can dispute the fact that Unions have had their day, they are the problem rather than the solution.

    • Pharmachick

      I am a teacher. I teach primarily University students – from undergrad to post grad. When I was at Uni, I tutored H/S biology, chemistry and physics. My students all passed well. Try getting a female physics or chemistry teacher (in fact try getting a chemistry or physics teacher full stop in some areas). But if I wanted to teach in NZ I would be deemed “unqualified” – so I would just get a job in a private school or a charter school. Guess whose kids will be getting a better education – hint: not the unionized public schools.

      • Baron

        Interesting that as a Uni teacher you feel that it would be easy for you to transfer your skills from dealing with mature Students who wish and pay to be there to malnourished, low social economical pupils who have been institutionalised into hating schools! Maybe you could! As I don’t know you it would be difficult to judge, just like you are judging every member of a union the world over as lazy shirkers! Is that what you teach your pupils?! If so I wonder where the unbiased philosophical debate is occurring at Uni level.

        • Pharmachick

          I never called unionized teachers lazy shirkers – where did that come from? My comment was simply that I would be “unqualified” according to the Teachers Council so would have to work in private or charter schools. I would much prefer to work in a Decile 1 or 2 school where I could make a difference. And by the way, as a product of decile 1-3 schools I take massive offence to your characterization that all low social economical [sic] students are “institutionalized into hating schools”. By the way, the term is socio-economic. You also did not address my comments that it is almost impossible to get chemistry and physics teachers in some areas. How is the PPTA dealing with the lack of workforce in STEM disciplines in public schools? Because I know that private schools are hiring good MSc and PhD trained people to address this.

    • 1951

      How about you supervise NCEA exams in a low decile school for a day and watch how many kids are waiting for the clock to flick onto the 45 min, so they can put up their hand to leave. Look at their defeated faces when they open the papers and know that they are just not able to ‘do it’. Then ask yourself if the professionalized, unionized teachers are so wonderful.

    • Woody

      Wonky thinking there Baron, I wouldn’t want any “nurse” performing open heart surgery on me, but a trained skilled person helping would be nice. Likewise a trained and skilled person teaching my grandchildren would be nice, I have known a few registered teachers who I wouldn’t want training someones pet rat never mind infecting the minds of children.

      • Baron

        Yes you probably have but you probably also know a great deal more teachers you would like teaching your grandkids. But it’s much more fun lambasting an entire profession due to a few ‘poor teachers’ if you understood education you would realise that all schools and teachers are subject to the whim of an overzealous government who will change things ‘to make them better!’ Why does ERI spend a day looking at paperwork and not at teachers classroom!? They don’t care they just want accountability! Charter schools is the privatisation of the schooling system so they can lower the bank balance! Wait until kids who are not achieving excellences get kicked out as they make the Charter School look but. Read up about the USA model and UK before you judge based on ‘spin’ from National!

        • Woody

          I am not lambasting anyone, but you certainly seem to be doing so. As you have no idea what I have studied in relation to the subject, you are not well placed to comment on what I know or don’t know. What I do know is that I have no need for anyone including you telling me what or how to think, that smacks of socialism which by choice I won’t have a bar of.

    • Did you not go to school?

      Did you not notice that the difference between a good and bad teacher has N.O.T.H.I.N.G to do with the irrlevant crap they learn at teachers college?

      In the private/competitive model, the market is the qualifier. If you don’t perform – you improve, or perish. Good. Under the current system failure is *protected* and may lead to more funding, rather than the removal of funding (otherwise starving failure out of existence).

      Milton Friedman, in his workers rights speech, noted that licensing was originally pushed for by unions. Why? To create a market-entry barrier that jacks up the price of teacher labour, by ensuring that useless, well protected teachers don’t have to compete with talented outsiders who know you can’t teach someone how to teach.

      The current system will investigate NO new approach that threatens the tenure of teachers.

      The public needs to go to war with this massive and sick monopoly and put it in its place.

      • Baron

        Yes I went to school and I also know ‘nothing’ is not spelt with capitals and full stops! (Don’t worry you will get there in the end)

        How would you judge performance pay!? Would you go by results?! Would that be fair between the high and low decile?! Would you judge by value added?! Well the rich wouldn’t like that! I’m afraid school, policing, health and fire services stand alone and cannot be put into such a model. (Hence why they are called key workers in UK)

        If you read the current policies on setting up schools you will realise that the ability to offer choice is already here! And failing of course.

        Open your eyes!! This is not about improving education, choice or anything else you would like to attach it too, but rather about the government dropping a huge bill from their books and privatising education leading to limited choice and the poor getting poorer!

        I’ll come back in a few years with a ‘told you so’

        • From what I understand chartership schools (most) are doing well, some very well. Failure should be left to fail, and success be left to expand.

          I agree performance pay is difficult, and even the ultimate meaning of those test scores is difficult (what do they really prove?). But those problems boil down to not taking the free-market model far enough.

          The government, except on the most basic levels, should get out of education altogether, and the need for help for poor people should be integrated with the family support system.

        • burns_well_eh

          Baron one of the arguments the specious Catherine Delahunty and others of your ilk have put up is that Charter Schools only look like they’re succeeding due to the huge amounts of money the Government is investing in them.

          So how does that equate with your assertion (wrong as it is) that the Government is only doing this to “drop a huge bill form their books”?

          How do you further equate Charter Schools (which offer more choice) with your (equally wrong) assertion that this will limit choice?

          You may have gone to school, but only to eat your lunch. Logic 101 – FAIL.

        • Whitey

          Why do you think basing performance pay on results is unfair on lower deciles? Do you think low decile kids are fundamentally unable to reach the same levels of achievement as high decile kids? Are you saying you take it for granted that low decile kids will fail?

  • timemagazine

    The left can not survive with educated voters, who are able to get jobs and look after their families, and think for themselves.They need a continues undereducated group of people that depends on the nanny/ welfare state. These low-information voters, don’t actulay know they are low-information voters, because they don’t know. And this is bread and butter for the left.

  • abbaby

    Do charter schools take a two month Christmas break? I would like my son and daughter to continue learning and going to school, not hanging out at home. Like many Kiwi families we don’t have money to send the kids someplace. What can I do for them when school closes for Christmas holidays – Dec. 10 to Feb 3?

    • burns_well_eh

      Mid-December? Really? My two have been home “studying” for four weeks already, and we’re barely into mid-December now!