Ian Leckie

Not for profit in education?

I assume that Dave Kennedy and these others in this rogues gallery accept the barest salary as morally it would go against the grain for them to profit from educating children.

Back row L to R: Vicki Signal, Louise Green, Manu Pohatu, Fiona Matapo, Liam Rutherford, Rikki Sheterline, July McLean, Te Aroha Hiko Front row L to R: Lynda Stuart, Virginia Stark, Frances Guy, Judith Nowotarski, Ian Leckie, David Kennedy

Back row L to R: Vicki Signal, Louise Green, Manu Pohatu, Fiona Matapo, Liam Rutherford, Rikki Sheterline, July McLean, Te Aroha Hiko
Front row L to R: Lynda Stuart, Virginia Stark, Frances Guy, Judith Nowotarski, Ian Leckie, David Kennedy

Read more »

Opposed to Charter Schools? Use our System…Whoops

An email from a reader, and loyal army member:

Hi Cam

You ran a post a while ago with details of how to make a submission re Charter Schools. Even though the site was set up by NZEI and PPTA with the express purpose of making submissions against charter schools, I like many members of the Whale Army made an eloquent submission on behalf of charter schools.

They may not have read it fully as I got this from them this morning. I politely replied, thanking them for giving me the email addresses of everyone on the Select Committee and pointing out that in fact I was strongly in favour of charter schools, and that perhaps if they took their blinkers off and showed more concern for educating the children rather than campaigning to protect their patch, and refusing to implement initiatives as directed by their employers, they too might see the benefits of charter schools.

I then emailed everyone on the list, plus my MP, reinforcing that I strongly support the charter school provisions of the Education Amendment Bill, and explained why. It was nice to be able to do this so easily, using the email addresses supplied by the NZEI and PPTA.

NZEI-email

They have claimed that every single one of the submission they orchestrated through their website were opposed. Well that simply isn’t true.  Read more »

Only 1 in 18 PPTA members against Charter Schools

Outgoing PPTA President Robin Duff has acknowledged that, despite spending thousand of members (i.e. taxpayers) funds on full page advertising only 1000 secondary teachers have responded to their desperate plea for submissions to the Bill that will allow Charter Schools.

With incoming President Angela “out of her depth” Roberts acknowledging that they have 18,000 members the PPTA must be gutted. One in 18 against and/or care enough to say so.

NZEI must also be stunned to be sending in only 700 submissions. For all of Ian Leckie’s vitriol you would have thought every primary school teacher was going to be crawling to the steps of parliament and writing their submissions in the blood from their knees.

Roberts clearly has a superhero complex and she personally hopes ” to save the education system from the dangerous path it was heading down”. And one of the main things she wants to save the system from is the “de-professionalisation of teachers”.

At least she acknowledges that the NZ system is no longer “world class” (glad that mantra has gone – thought Robin Duff had something stuck in his throat) by saying:

“The aim should be to create an education system that worked systemically rather than creating pockets of success.”

 Roberts will be okay though she feels that her 12 years as a teacher at Stratford High School has prepared her for this role as PPTA President. All of the secondary teachers around the country must be excited.

Benefit fraud gets you deregistered, Arrange a gang hit and they let you carry on regardless

Don’t you just love teachers and their governing body. Check out the stats from the Teachers’ Council.

Hitting a pupil with a chair, grooming a young girl for sex and a $60,000 benefit fraud were among the charges that saw teachers struck off this year.

Others, including one who arranged for a gang hit on a principal, were censured for serious misconduct and had strict conditions put on their practising licences.

Statistics released under the Official Information Act show nine male and six female teachers had their registration with the Teachers Council cancelled this year. Registration certifies that a teacher is trained, qualified and suitable to be a teacher, and is compulsory in all state schools.

Compulsory registration is working so well, and consistently isn’t it?  Read more »

$90, that’s all?

The Owl has found out something interesting in the NZEI accounts.

I kid you not $90.00 is all NZEI spent is all they spent on Teachers Professionalism

I watched on TV last night Ian Leckie, with a smirk on his face, talk about how the NZEI gave the Government a blood nose.

I can see both sides of the argument and something had to change.

I thought to myself I would see what the NZEI spends on professional teaching development.

I kid you not! $90.00

Owls Observation

The recently filed 2011 accounts has income of $17.7M. They made a massive loss as well.

Under expenditure, all on its own, the accounts have an expenditure classification line called “Teachers Professionalism” $90.00. Things must have be tough at NZEI because last year the spent $13,641.00

To rub salt into the wound, the next line reads “Teaching and Learning” $1,303.00

But it is all ok because the NZEI Union staff spent $531,598.00 on Pension Funds for themselves. Up from $478,219.00

As always the Owl only uses information freely available in the public domain

What is the NZEI all about – I struggle  if all they can afford is $90.00 on teacher development – this is a very serious concern that $17.7M is spent on union staff, international travel, conferences and a whopping $1.8M on strategy!

I repeat $90.00!

NZEI/PPTA Arguments – based on New Orleans – DESTROYED

The Partnership Schools model is aimed at helping the bottom 20%. New Orleans is a city in the US historically struggling in the education of children.

The teacher unions brought Karran Harper Royal from New Orleans to say how bad Charter Schools had been for that state. First thing she admitted on Close Up was that some are working well (Ian Leckie and Robin Duff must have choked).

Turns out that there was a lot more for her to admit – as things mature in New Orleans for this model there is plenty of good there too:

Some key parts of the article:

The goal in New Orleans is to reverse years of educational decline. Before Katrina, state schools here had become starkly segregated on race and class lines as white and middle class families removed their children.

In the years since Katrina, student performance in tests has improved, and fewer students now go to failing schools. Students have achieved a higher average score in the ACT test, which measures readiness for college.

John White, Louisiana’s state superintendent of education, argues that decentralisation has freed schools to act in children’s best interests. Charter schools, state-funded but independently run by non-profit groups, are now the norm in New Orleans. In the past school year, 78% of public school students were enrolled in charters. The proportion will rise this year. Such schools enjoy great flexibility in managing their time and allocating resources.

Lee said: “Schools receive a report card now, parents are savvy – they research online and see how a school is performing. It’s no longer the neighbourhood school; it’s really parent choice.”

In Louisiana, the state sets clear limits on the marketplace. In the end, accountability to its testing regime trumps choice: the government will close a chronically underperforming public school even if parents continue to choose it.

The change in two years is evident to the students, who come up unprompted to tell outsiders of their pride in the school. One student, Henrietta London, said: “This school used to be a mess; children were learning nothing. My mum sent me here because they’re rebuilding the school and changing the culture.”

The pale blue corridors of Sci Academy, housed in a cluster of prefabricated blocks in New Orleans East, are lined with inspirational mottoes: “Chase perfection, catch excellence,” reads one. Another declares: “We’re never done, we’re never finished”.

Parents will love the next one – Duff and Leckie hate it.

The words are directed at students, but could apply just as well to the teachers, who are evaluated on each lesson. Staff here are regularly observed and receive constant feedback on their performance.

White is uncompromising about the virtues of choice, even if that means weak schools being driven to the wall. “I think competition is always to some degree destabilising to those who can’t compete,” he said. “I have no problem with a school that is failing parents and kids being essentially destabilised because parents aren’t choosing it.”‘

And the headline of the Article:

What the opponents of this model in NZ have not even begin to grasp is that education is about children and their families. The scare mongering crap being talked by NZEI & PPTA is exactly that…crap. it is time to put kids first and not to keep protecting their patch for political gain. Time also for Labour and NZ First to put children ahead of using this for their own political aspirations. Labour need to stand against the unions on this one – caring for kids may even help them.

Time for parents in NZ and all organisations involved in working for children in struggling areas to also see this opportunity and make a public stand for it. Don’t let the unions stuff up one fifth of the next generation just to retain their power base and maintain their protection of mediocrity.

Does Ian Leckie ever listen to himself?

And has he ever been in any school.

Ian Leckie contradicts himself and knowingly misuses statistics to air his preconceptions and prejudices:

Leckie said there “isn’t a shred of evidence” that charter schools “make any difference to the education system”.

“In the United States only one in five, 19%, are actually better off than their state school counterparts,” he said.

“New Zealand’s world leadership is already meeting this absolute need.”

So the failure rate of lower SES, Maori and PI students meets some kind of absolute need.

There isn’t a “shred” of evidence but then he quotes a statistic to show that, done well, Charter Schools can make a difference. And clearly he hasn’t read the reports/research properly (unless he is lying).

Are primary teachers really happy being represented by this?

John Tamihere, meanwhile, talks sense.

“If Mr Leckie thinks that his education system is working in west Auckland he should come out here and visit us. That’s simply not true,” he said.

“We know that up to 50% of Maori boys, particularly, will not be able to participate in NCEA One courses.

“We’ve got to lift the opportunity, particularly coming from primary schools into secondary schools.”

Of course they do, they wrote it

Surprise surprise, Labour’s Education sector wing the NZEI has come out in support of Labour’s education policy to feed other peoples kids and fix the problem their members have caused with reading recovery programmes:

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says Labour’s education policy is comprehensive and promotes high quality education for all children.

It shows a major commitment to quality early childhood education by promising to restore funding cuts to more than 2000 services nationwide, reinstate the target of 100% qualified teachers, retain existing subsidies and fee controls for 20 hours ECE, as well as develop planned public ECE provision.

NZEI President Ian Leckie says that will help boost participation levels and be welcomed by those services and parents who have been hit hard by government funding cuts.

Labour’s policy also places some welcome importance on the role and value of school support staff by promising to provide them with training and it says it will work on the viability of centrally funding their positions.

That is in line with a recent report by NZEI, the Ministry of Education and the School Trustees Association which recommends that school leaders integrate support staff more effectively into teaching teams and provide more training. NZEI has also long argued that funding school support staff through school operations grants is flawed and needs to change.

“It is great to see Labour listening and taking on board some of those issues and reflecting them in their policy,” Mr Leckie says.

Of course they are listening, the NZEI probably wrote the policy.

Meanwhile David Shearer and Labour have conceded on National Standards:

“We’re not going to unpick it but certainly, I don’t think national standards is the silver bullet that this Government has been talking about.”

Parents would decide whether national standards remained at a school, not teachers, he said. “Ultimately, it’s the school board that will make the decision.”

And good to know that Labour supports the union position of rewarding mediocrity:

He also scotched suggestions Labour may move toward performance pay for teachers.

“I’m against performance pay. Our school system works really well because it’s co-operative. Teachers share resources, they share good practice, and they share ideas.

“If you put in a competitive model, teachers end up holding that to themselves.”

Riiight, spoken like a lifetime bureaucrat who has never worked in the real world.

National should stop cuddling up to the teacher unions and go to war with them. The unions sure as hell are going to war with National.

Teacher Union Hypocrisy

The NZEI has predictably come out against the decision regarding teacher registration for Charter Schools. Ian Leckie had this to say:

NZEI president Ian Leckie said Ms Parata’s quality teaching agenda was in “tatters”.

“We believe every child deserves success at school with the help and support of a qualified and registered professional.”

Mr Leckie said registering teachers ensured a robust and high-performing profession that gave the public confidence that teachers were competent and safe.

“It is unethical and unfair to let children be guinea pigs in a charter school experiment where anyone could be put in front of them in the classroom.”

Presumably he is referring to these kinds of “registered” teachers being put in front of children in the classroom:

More of child abuser’s past emerges

Teacher quits over alleged affair with student

Sex offenders in classrooms

‘Failings’ helped sex offender teach

Statutory manager takes over top primary school

Sex offender teacher jailed

And that is just back to May this year!

of course the Teachers Council also supports name suppression for pedo teachers and secrecy in their delivberations…but all those teachers are registered so should be ok to put before the children in a classroom.

Guest Post – Partnership Schools – A rose by any other name

by Alwyn Poole

Since the post election agreement between National and Act declaring that Partnership (formerly Charter) Schools would be a feature of the elected government’s education policy there has been more misinformation spoken and press released than on a teenager’s facebook page.

Having been involved in teaching children for 20 years the most disappointing thing has been who the current opponents are, the protection of their patch (as opposed to care for children), and the disingenuous nature of their pronouncements.

This is a proposal worth fully considering so I have taken the time to research and write a full post. .

The Model

Similar models have been adopted overseas. Because current opponents assume a nationwide anti-American sentiment their focus has been on the US models. They have grasped desperately at aspects of the “Credo” study and that the results have so far been mixed. What they haven’t been prepared to acknowledge is that there has been some significant successes depending on how the model is implemented and state by state. They have also not disseminated the main point – that the effect on the poor and disadvantaged groups has been positive (i.e. the groups that this is initially aimed at in NZ).

The Economist concludes:

 “recent work by Mathematica, an independent policy group, suggests that the Credo study is sound. The bigger problem is that its findings have been misinterpreted. First, the children who most need charters have been served well. Credo finds that students in poverty and English language learners fare better in charters. And a national “meta-analysis” of research, done last year for the Centre on Reinventing Public Education in Seattle, found charters were better at teaching elementary-school reading and mathematics, and middle-school mathematics. High-school charters, though, fared worse. Another recent study in Massachusetts for the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that urban charter schools are shown to be effective for minorities, poor students and low achievers.”

“Second, charter school performance is not so “mixed” if you look at the data on a state-by-state basis, rather than across the country as a whole.”

“Traditional public schools no longer have the excuse that they cannot be blamed for the poor performance of children because of their background; so competition from charters may improve standards in non-charters, too.”

Other media and research conclude:

“In New York, charters are oversubscribed. This spring, according to Joel Klein (former chancellor of New York City’s public schools) writing in the Wall Street Journal, some 67,000 New York kids applied for fewer than 15,000 openings in charters. “These kids,” Klein notes, “are almost entirely from low-income African-American and Latino families. Those families, desperately in search of a better education for their kids, are clearly voting with their feet. The recent test scores confirm they know what they’re doing.”

“The Success schools (Charter) are performing at the same level as NYC’s gifted and talented schools that select kids based solely on rigorous tests.”

“As recent performance data demonstrates, New Jersey’s charter schools are largely on the right track. In the five largest urban school districts in New Jersey, a higher percentage of students in charter schools are demonstrating proficiency or higher when compared to students in their respective urban school districts. In Newark, for example, charter schools performed 25 percentage points higher than district schools in math and 21 percentage points higher in language arts in 2010 – 2011.”

It is acknowledged that there have been failures (as there are in State schools in all countries). The advantage of NZ is that other countries have done much of the experimenting for us and we can emulate the best models; e.g. Andre Agassi’s school in Las Vegas.

Current opponents seem to think that if they keep saying that the NZ education system is “world class” then the significant portion of the population whose children are failing and having their life choices massively restricted will look the other way. If what we have is world class then “world class” is not good enough. No one involved in education should be anything like satisfied until we are absolutely world leading – for all groups.

Profit from Education

Current opponents are trying to demonise the model through the prospect that schools may be run for profit. The inference is that people making money from educating children are exploiting the taxpayer and the poor.

The first point on this is that many people already make money through education in NZ – most via the taxpayer. At the most basic level economic theory states that there are returns to providing resources to a production process – wages/salaries, rent, interest and profit. Profit is simply the name for the return for providing some resources, taking the financial risks and organizing the process. Teachers make money (i.e. profit) from educating children, university lecturers in Education make profit from doing so, the education spokespeople of political parties profit from their positions, providers of services to schools make profits (e.g. electricity, IT, plumbers, builders, architects, etc), executives of education unions (e.g. PPTA, NZEI) most certainly financially profit from being involved in education. It is hard to see why many of these people seem to be saying that someone willing to take personal financial risks aren’t worthy of receiving income from it and yet they are.

The second point is that it is highly unlikely that significant profits will be made – the foreseeable opportunities are too small and many of the groups who will be interested will do so on a non-profit basis. However – if an entrepreneur can set up a great school, inspire staff, improve the educational outcomes of a group of children and the flow-ons to their families – is there any real issue with them receiving a return on that? The current opponents would be very hypocritical to maintain that there is.

Unregistered Teachers

Children deserve very good teachers in front of them. But who in NZ can put their hand on their heart and say that all “qualified” and registered teachers are effective. Having a degree and going to teachers college is no guarantee of quality and teachers (especially secondary) have long debated the worth of the year at their College of Education as opposed to on the job training and a qualification process through that. The outrage of the PPTA and NZEI here is simply protection of their patch and it is transparent. On Q&A Ian Leckie supposed to speak for every primary school teacher (except one) by saying that they are not interested in teaching in Partnership Schools (and are likely to be blacklisted if they did).

It is also ridiculous to say that time at a teachers college is the only pathway to being equipped to contribute to the education of young people (or is the equivalent of 10 years of medical training as some have tried to imply). In ten years of running a small middle school some examples of “untrained” people who have come in and expertly contributed to teaching modules are – marine biologists, lawyers, surgeons, builders, architects, dancers, actors, directors, historians, archaeologists, politicians, pilots, military personal, rocket engineers, athletes, etc. Many, but not all have been volunteers. Is there really an issue with these people being paid for their time?

It has clearly been stated that the proportion and role of non-registered teaching staff will be a matter of school by school negotiation and, obviously, if parents are not satisfied with the quality of teaching their children are receiving they have the “qualified” state alternative to revert to.

Some current opponents have also expressed concern that the leader of a Partnership School will not necessarily have been a teacher. People other than teachers can care for children, understand learning, manage staff and may bring a managerial skill set that someone who has spent their career in the classroom has not had the opportunity to develop. A teacher moving into school management has to learn a plethora of “business” skills (e.g. budgeting, property management, personal management) it is precious and again, patch protection, to consider that someone from a business background can’t learn education sector skills.

The Opponents

The behaviour of the current opposition has been disappointing. They are clearly holding to the mantra that if you say things often enough and loud enough then it is true. However, this is a model that when applied effectively directly benefits the groups that people like Labour, Mana, NZ First, the Green Party, PPTA, NZEI claim to stand for (indeed identify as their political constituents). This is a model that one of the most comprehensive reports on concluded that:

“urban charter schools are shown to be effective for minorities, poor students and low achievers.”

My only conclusion here is that they are worried that the National/Maori/ACT/United Future government may actually help many of these people.

The current opponents are groups that claim to stand for diversity, freedom and choice in our society. In this case it seems to be diversity only in so far as they come up with the policy.

The current opponents have also been disrespectful to the intelligence of the families of New Zealand. When further details were released last week – instead of engaging in genuine discourse three of them came out with the “lipstick on a pig” comment – in press releases within minutes of each other.

It would seem to me that the response to this that cares for the children of NZ would have been to say that:

“We recognise that there are underachievement issues in NZ and that some groups are over-represented in the statistics. The children are so important that we will put aside premeditated politics (or perceived political gains) and get behind any innovations to help with the aim of ensuring that they are effective.”

David Shearer can call for cross party work of superannuation. Are the vulnerable children not valued as highly as the voting elderly?

John Tamihere has seen the policy and opportunity for what it is and made that clear earlier this year on a radio interview when he stated that he wanted for the children of Henderson what the children of Epsom are getting. Why are the opponents of this policy intent on keeping this opportunity from them?

Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty has declined the invitation to come in to Mt Hobson Middle school to get an idea of what a partnership school may look like. Nanaia Mahuta has done the same. Winston Peters stood on the basis that he would support good policy no matter where it came from – NZ First Education spokesperson Tracey Martin is visiting later in the year and we will look forward to a positive discussion.

The current opponents keep using the term “mandate”. The theoretical advantage of MMP is that minority groups and small parties get an influence. The implication of the current opponents is that if you did not achieve 50% in the general election then you have no mandate for change (for example Ian Leckie’s last statement on Q&A on August 5th). On this basis I would expect the Labour and Greens to change no laws if they are able to be a part of a future government (e.g. on the basis of the 32% and 12% respectively from the latest Colmar Brunton poll) as neither will have a “mandate”.

Trusting Parents

Not only is the lack of honesty and constructive discourse disrespectful to the general public the opponents are also disrespecting parents by telling them that they know best for their children. No one will be forced to go to Partnership Schools and they won’t be zoned. What is it about the opponents of the policy that they consider that parents lack the ability to make sound educational choices for their own children? Their fear is that parents will line up for these schools in droves (and they will if it is done properly).

The Media

The media is growing quickly in its balance and knowledge on this subject. They do keep bringing out the sensationalist issues of the Destiny Church and the possibility of someone teaching Intelligent Design. On those two – the Destiny Church may well be positioned to deliver very good schooling to children in some areas and their members pay tax too. Many churches are involved in education in NZ. And is the idea that someone might teach the concept that an intelligent being is behind the creation of the universe and life on Earth so new and radical.

A growing number of reports and editorials are acknowledging the positives and possibilities of this proposal and some reporters (including Corin Dann on Q&A) are clearly doing some research rather that simply parroting the nonsense of the current opponents.

Vision

The children of NZ, current and future, need educators to have ideals and vision. When I was studying at Massey University in the 1980’s and 90’s one of the main areas of discussion was the major “tail” in New Zealand’s education outcomes, social causes and the flow on effects. There have been improvements but despite the outstanding efforts of many people we are still a long way from solving these problems. Without significant change we will be having the same discussion 20 years hence.

This is a new opportunity and many good educators will say let’s try it, let’s innovate, let’s make it a success of this as well as improving our state and private schools (outcomes that are clearly not mutually exclusive). We are now in the 21st Century after all and the current prevalent model was designed for the children of the Industrial Revolution not the children of the Information Revolution. Throughout this I have mentioned “current opponents” of the policy. I am very hopeful many of those currently speaking against Partnership Schools will put the children of New Zealand ahead of their own aspirations and preconceived ideas, consider carefully, get behind it and make it very much their business that this succeeds and that the government keep their word with regards to ensuring the quality and outcomes of the model. They may even work out that it could be politically expedient for them to do so.

Or will they stand in the way of a new opportunity for some of the children of New Zealand that has no inherent negative impacts for any others? Will they continue to try and score cheap points – or will they serve the people?

Declaration of Background and Interest

I had a mother able to break out of an 11 child state home family. I was educated in state schools in Thames and Wanganui. Economics degree, teaching diploma, Masters degree in Education, Post Grad. diploma in Sports Management. Six years teaching at Tauranga Boys, one at Hamilton Boys, four at St Cuthbert’s, ten at Mt Hobson Middle School. Three children – now at University. Very interested in working with others to explore the very best that Partnership schools may offer to the young of New Zealand.