Chris Hipkins wants to close down these two highly successful schools

Amateur photoshopping effort by Spanishbride

Amateur photoshopping effort by Spanishbride

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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  • LesleyNZ

    Doesn’t the Labour Party understand why are dropping so far down in the polls. Don’t they get it? The above post is one of the reasons why. Stupidity, lack of knowledge, lack of common sense and no discernment. Chris Hipkins needs to start thinking before spouting his mouth off about stuff he hasn’t a clue about. Wished Vanguard had been around for one of my sons 20 years ago.

    • Not Clinically Insane

      Chippy is just a puppet dutifully doing what the PPTA tells him to do

    • hookerphil

      Wish it had been around for me.

  • Bud

    Socialism does not tolerate competition; it doesn’t tolerate free markets, doesn’t tolerate capitalism, doesn’t tolerate religion, or dissent of any kind; socialists will attack anything that competes with the power of the state. The more successful the non-state school, the more of a threat it is…

    • biscuit barrel

      There is plenty of competition, the state in NZ has a parallel private system, where the taxpayers pay teachers salaries and school running costs.

      Vaguard should be very successful, based on their good record, if they switched to the state funded ‘private system’
      Wanganui Collegiate- state funded competition, every catholic school in the country, state funded competition.
      All the muslim schools, all the seventh day adventist schools.

      Where is this place that the socialist state doesnt have private competiotion for schools? North Korea ?

      • Bud

        My point is that you should not be surprised when a socialist political party attacks a competing entity. How successful the school is or isn’t is not relevant. Ideology will always come first.

        • biscuit barrel

          I can point to unsuccessful charter schools, seems like they are much like state schools generally. Most good, some outstanding, some bad.
          Its your ideology that doesnt see this.
          Im keen for a charter school to take over an existing school, thats not performing, bring in their teachers, their methods, they have the whole place set up to just walk in.
          Then see how they do ?
          A good comparison dont you think. Only one drawback , they get funded like state schools, so its not just the extra money that makes the difference .

          • Bud

            You are approaching the subject from the perspective of performance and return on investment. Again, you can’t do that. My post was an attempt to answer the question as to why a political leader/party would want to shut down something that appears to be working rather well. My answer, again, is that socialism is not performance based. If you want to understand the motivations of socialists, you cannot use logic or common sense like you are trying to do, because that is not what drives them. They are driven by an ideology based on state control of everything. As I said above, anything that challenges that control will be seen as a threat. Grasp that basic concept, and the Labour Party wanting to shut down every charter school in the country makes perfect sense, as will everything else they do.

          • biscuit barrel

            You said they didnt like competition, I showed they do.
            You said they are doing rather well.
            Yes one of two are great, the rest are really no different from schools overall. A lot of state schools are good too, but you cant see that.
            “Four charter schools were awarded $60,000 in performance payments last year, despite only one of them fully meeting the terms of their contracts.”
            Clearly the other dozen arent up to even being eligible for performance rewards.
            One out of a dozen doesnt mean to me to be ‘working well’
            Whats your criteria ?

          • Bud

            We seem to be going in circles here… again, I am posting about the motivation of socialists. You are posting about school performance and funding. FORGET THE SCHOOLS. It is not about performance or funding or effectiveness or personal feeling or anything else, it is about control. Pick any institution and socialists will always favour state run over private or quasi private. You can delve through as many facts as you like, but in the end the actions of socialists are quite easy to explain; they want to control the state, and that state to have control of everything. Grasp that concept and the stupid and seemingly self destructive and counter productive actions of the greens and labour etc become quite clear.

    • Simo

      Positive students, positive teaching environment, positive results, what part of these three puppies doesn’t Hipski get? …..yep the whole lot!

      • biscuit barrel

        What about those charter schools that are sending some pupils to state schools for some classes?

        Was that part of the plan. We pay extra to use a state school teachers and classrooms by another school

  • Woody

    Perhaps if Hipkins and Little spent a year in one of those classrooms as a student they would come away with the knowledge and skills to be effective in opposition. The feeling I got from watching those two clips is that the kids were proud to be achievers, I guess proud achievers is not what Labour want schools to produce as inevitably they will not be part of their voter base.

  • XCIA

    The parents, the board, the staff, parents and pupils need to get a grip of their Labour MP’s in mass and light a fire under them that will only go out when Hipkins extracts his head from his backside and is able to see the light.

  • Teletubby

    Also Labour can see is charter schools turning kids that have traditionally grown up to be Labour voters into National voters

    • Hard1

      We all know that Labour hate smart people on principle, hence the void in their Caucus. Smart people don’t fall for Labour’s hyperbole.

      • Metricman

        Yes, one can always hope this is not just a Halo !

  • SavetheBees

    Interesting mention of ERO Report, for those in Education that ERO reports are pretty meaningless at times. Due to the triangular apporach to having facts reported, there is sometimes some huge difference between the draft and final report. ERO is not the old school inspectors and they only focus on the areas ero are there to review. They dont tackle the big issues in schools.

    The only department within education with any teeth left is NZQA.

    Interesting that one kid said that he didnt attend school, reason for his low results.

    This is more a reflection on the state of individual schools not a reflection on the education sector as a whole.


    Thanks SB for highlighting this. My involvement in special education and later in ‘second chance’ tertiary training has taught me how important it is for non-confident students especially to be in a learning environment where staff respect and believe in them. Chris Hipkins should be deeply ashamed!

    • biscuit barrel

      Sounds to me its the teachers there that should be valued and rewarded. That $30 mill a year going into ACTs charter schools could pay a lot of teachers who arent happy in the classroom to walk away. Opens doors for all the young teachers starting up.

      • Whitey

        Where are you getting $30 million from? The charter schools don’t get anywhere near $30 million a year.

        • biscuit barrel

          maybe it was over 4 years then.

          • biscuit barrel

            Looking back in 2013 it was $19 mill to start plus per pupil funding.
            The yearly operating funding was about $4 mill.
            Finding the amounts spent per year is very hard, which is strange as lots of other initiatives are very clear how much money is available.

          • Whitey

            I was a bit surprised they don’t have the funding info for charter schools on the Ministry website along with all the other schools, but I doubt they’re being deliberately secretive. More likely they just haven’t got round to updating the website. Charter school funding is public domain information so the Ministry will tell you the funding amounts if you ask.

      • Mr C

        Are you sugeesting that, instead of Charter Schools, MoE should pay up to $30m a year to “encourage” non-performing/burnt-out teachers to resign/retire/take voluntary redundancy?

  • Dave

    What I really cannot grasp, is the VAST majority of the students are Maori or PI, and almost all are from lower income families, all PRIME Labour or Maori voters. Its unbelievable, and I hope EACH AND EVERY parent from these charter schools writes to both their local Maori, and Labour MP’s outlining why they bill needs to be defeated, and why the Charter Schools are so good. Parents should seek a written response from their MP’s and keep it on file, preferably highlighting it to their family and friends.

    PS: Every parent should start a FB campaign on this, and seek support from their extended Whanau, and have all of them go viral in their support. Show Liebour that hugging their union mates is NOT acceptable.o

    • biscuit barrel

      The specialist evaluations dont say ‘so good ‘at all

      Curriculum – “Little real innovation”

      Engagement with community and parents “Little real innovation”

      Pedagogy teaching and learning – “Multiple examples of ‘best practice’

      And some were having a bit both ways, sending their kids to state schools for some classes – Huh?

      As a paper said
      -That was not in the plan. If a charter school is going to take money for pupils’ -complete education, then “subcontract” part of its obligation to state schools, -what is the point? The taxpayer could cut out the middle man.

  • Toby

    To me it just shows how much labour is in the pockets of the Unions.
    They hate charter schools.

  • sandalwood789

    I’ve said it before but it bears repeating – the parents of charter school students should band together and slap a multi-million-dollar lawsuit on Labour for threatening to do this.
    There is **no reason at all** to close these schools apart from ideology and that is **not good enough**.

    There must be a lawyer out there who has a child at one of these schools and could look at doing the case “pro bono”.

    It would be sweet poetic justice for Labour to be bankrupted and have to close down due to a lawsuit against their stupid policy that threatens to close down charter schools.

  • Diehard

    Good work Hipkins maybe the unions will appoint you as the next Labour party leader. Must be getting close to someone else having a turn.