Chris Hipkins wants to close down these two highly successful schools

Amateur photoshopping effort by Spanishbride -whaleoil.co.nz

Amateur photoshopping effort by Spanishbride
-whaleoil.co.nz

Chris Hipkins and the Labour party want to close down every single charter school in New Zealand. This includes Auckland’s Vanguard Military school and South Auckland Middle school. These schools are not just bricks and mortar. This cold-blooded threat from Chris Hipkins’ bill is an attack on real people. For the students of these schools this threat of closure is frighteningly personal.

Chris Hipkins and Labour are not talking about closing down non-performing Charter schools. They are trying to shut down successful and popular Charter schools with waiting lists. These schools are wanted, appreciated and supported by the students and their families. Chris Hipkins’ bill is pure political point scoring; it has nothing to do with what is best for the students. The very students who are failing inside our State schools are being focused on by our Charter schools.

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.

“These are the kids hiding in the system and they need a chance to come out from wherever they are hiding and blossom,” says Vanguard principal Rockley Montgomery.

Berry is one of those struggling students that charter schools say they are already reaching … Targeted at the Government’s priority groups: Maori, Pasifika, learners from low socio-economic backgrounds or with special education needs

On the wall of a classroom full of Maori and Polynesian students at SAMS, a poster reads: “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.”

Of the 110 students, 93 per cent come from the Government’s “priority learners” group. Eighty one per cent of the students are Maori or Pacific Islander.

…Tamati Falwasser, 13, is being raised by his grandmother, who is also responsible for 10 other grandchildren whose parents failed them. It was her idea that he go to SAMS.

He was a self acknowledged troublemaker at his old school. Tamati says he was once choked by a teacher. He was in a place he describes as the “dark side”.

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.

The Education Review Office this month gave flattering reviews of SAMS and Vanguard, applauding the small class sizes and the students’ desire to learn.

-Stuff ( 2014 )


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