NZPF president on Charter schools – “parents have quite enough choice already”

The principal of Manurewa Intermediate is Iain Taylor. He is also the president of the Principals union, the NZ Principals Federation.

Bryan Bruce thought this guy rocked and his school should be the model for all NZ schools.

But his latest missive to the union members reveals a great deal about him.

This last week has been a ‘media frenzy’ with the main issue being the pre-Budget announcement that the Government is going to fund seven more charter schools.   We released a media statement to say that charter schools are not wanted, parents have quite enough choice already and the money should be spent on making every public school a great school.   No substantial evaluation of existing charter schools has been done to give any confidence that New Zealanders can benefit from having more of them.

Got that. All those parents who are choosing charter schools over schools like his shouldn’t have that choice. Nope, they should be happy with the choices they already have. You know, the ones limited by school zones meaning there is no choice at all.

He knows best, we should do as we are told, we have choice enough. The state system or the private system and nothing else.

Imagine if his attitude prevailed in every market sector. You could have one state run petrol company and one private company, that is choice enough. We don’t need competition. Two choices is plenty enough.

He would require that Farro and Nosh be closed down, that Progressive Enterprises rationalise their three brands of Countdown, SuperValue and Fresh Choice down to one brand and Foodstuffs makes all their supermarkets one brand as well from the four brands they already have…and the state will provide dull, uninviting supermarkets with unionised staff performing rude and perfunctory service because we have more than enough choice as it is.

Banks will be forced to close. It will be Kiwibank and one other. More than two banks is more than enough choice for customers.

This one statement proves without a shadow of a doubt that the state school system and their union masters need seriously more competition. Competition is what drives excellence.

Unfortunately the unions, protectors of the mediocre and the indolent, don’t want choice, because choice will show them up.

Hey, let’s merge all the teacher unions…there is more than enough choices as it is, perhaps too much choice.


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  • cod

    And following on from his thesis we could all gain “strength though joy”, wear the same colored suit with a little red book in the top pocket, or believe that “work makes free”. How jolly

  • David Moore

    “You know, the ones limited by school zones meaning there is no choice at all.”

    Technically there is a choice for the wealthy. Parents can chose the school zone with the assistance of large mortgages. Taylor’s world view means that getting good schooling is entirely driven by money, poor people get poor schools and rich people get rich schools.

    • Whitey

      Absolutely right, the wealthy have choices. They can send their kids to private schools, buy a house in a desirable school zone, hire private tutors etc. Poor people don’t have those choices, and poor people’s children are disproportionately represented in that tail of under-achievement our state school system produces. I bet that’s not a coincidence.

      • David Moore

        “I bet that’s not a coincidence.”

        No, it’s not. By trapping them in sink schools, the left have a client state they can milk for entirety. Their so called good intentions are at about the same level that a suicide bomber has good intentions.

        Giving poor people good choices in schooling is the single most important factor in creating social mobility.

  • JC

    Contradictions abound. Take the long tail of 23% underachieving.. shouldn’t we expect something like that in a normal bell curve of below average, average and above average?

    The logical thing to do with a tail is try something else because a one size fits all approach is always going to produce losers.. hence something like Charter schools are logical and necessary and it defies reason to expect more of the same old schooling to work.

    Then there’s Bryan Boyce’s suggestion teachers should have Masters degrees.. but in a system where teachers spent decades insisting they were education *workers* surely a Masters degree would be a tiny bit elite?

    Then of course tens of thousands of teachers Bachelor level qualifications would become obsolete, I can’t see that being welcomed especially if there was more money attached to the higher degree.

    Another thing, teachers are very proud of our top students PISA scores and lament if these tail off under a National Govt.. why, its almost as if they are teaching some students to pass tests rather than receiving a well rounded education!

    To me the now political contradictions coming from teachers are weakening a lot of their arguments to be considered the only standard in education.


    • David Moore

      “Then there’s Bryan Boyce’s suggestion teachers should have Masters degrees.. but in a system where teachers spent decades insisting they were education *workers* surely a Masters degree would be a tiny bit elite?”

      Not really. By requiring every teacher to have a masters degree, they are no longer, by definition, an elite. To achieve this goal masters degrees would need to be dumbed down of course.

      The goal of course is to eliminate any elite at all levels, because of course an elite is discriminatory and unequal.

      The next goal will be to ensure all postmen have doctorates.

  • kloyd0306

    Unionism, leftism, Labour/Greens-ism has no understanding or desire to promote free enterprise or the private market. Oh no, they might get shown up as the failures they continue to be.

  • Nessie

    I thought it was that great teachers make great schools. Anyone can get a degree, but few have the gift of being a great teacher. No amount of money can transform mediocrity in to greatness.

  • johnnyB

    It’s one of the great tragedies that the unionist leftist hold is strongest In a profession where we would wish to see our most open minds and positive thinkers. The biggest danger to our children by some distance is the union protectionism of poorly performing (and as we have seen in some cases criminal) teachers not the development of an insignificant number of charter schools.

  • sandalwood789

    With every year that passes (and every few hundred children that pass through charter schools), the union and Labour argument gets weaker and the National one gets stronger. Each year provides more and more proof that charter schools really are helping children from poor suburbs and families.

    If Labour for once swallowed their pride and axed their promise to close charter schools, I’d give them a tiny bit of respect. But no, they blindly hold onto that policy no matter what.

  • Somnambulist

    Whenever you reference what life was like in the Eastern Bloc under socialism the stalwarts of the Labour Party cry “Unfair! We’re not suggesting a system like that!”

    And yet EVERY time any alternative to failed state control is suggested they show their true colours by calling for the enterprise in competition with the union dominated monoliths to be suffocated.

    Know them via their actions rather than their lies.

  • Dumrse

    Ian Taylor’s comments tell me two things. Firstly parents do not need additional choice, they have sufficient already (reeks of communisim ?) secondly, his school and by inference many others, are not great schools. If they are not great schools then they must be trash. Parents faced with trash schools would probably like a bit more choice and parents are like customers, they are always right, regardless what Taylor thinks.

  • Blockhead

    If Taylor was operating in the commercial world, his comments would have the Commerce Commission knocking on his door in no time, wanting to investigate his anti-competitive behaviour. And if found wanting, the consequences would be represented by some serious money.