Independent school

NY Mayor as Dumb as NZ Unions and Labour

The new Mayor of New York is working against Charter Schools. Not because they don’t work. The opposite is the case.

Some examples:

Around 36% of the 9,000, mostly poor, children enrolled with Noble can expect to graduate from college, compared with 11% for this income bracket city-wide.

Small wonder: a study of charter high schools in Florida found that they boosted pupils’ earning power in later life by more than 10%.

Bronx 2, part of the Success Academies network, serves black and Latino children from mostly low-income families. Its pupils did extraordinarily well in the 2013 state examinations—97% passed mathematics and 77% passed English. The school ranked third in the state, even beating children in well-heeled Scarsdale, a well-to-do New York City suburb. Bronx 2 shares space with PS 55, a traditional district public school where only 3% of pupils passed English and only 14% passed maths.  Read more »

Charter Schools coming to Australia…wait for union howling

There is going to be a donnybrook in Australia of immense proportions as Tony Abbott seeks to change education by wresting control from the unions.

PRINCIPALS and parents will be put in control of public schools under the first rollout of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s schools revolution.

Promising to take on the education establishment, including unions and the bureaucracy, Mr Abbott pledged during the election campaign to make public schools “independent”, and wants 25 per cent of public schools to make the switch by 2017.

But the plan is opposed by teachers unions, who have accused the Coalition of trying to turn public schools into private schools and cover up a cost-cutting agenda.   Read more »

Ghetto Schools?

Chris Hipkins has adopted a new descriptor for Charter Schools….”Ghetto Schools”.

Hipkins Ghetto Schools


Really? No one is forcing anyone to attend a charter school. All over the world parents choose to send their kids to charter schools because they can actually remove their kids from the real ghetto schools, those controlled by unions.

Chris Hipkins needs to do some research and stop relying on the rubbish pushed by the vested interests of the teacher unions.

To that end there happens to be a really useful article at The Economist about this exact topic. Chris Hipkins would do well to enlighten himself on the topic. Three paragraphs in particular stand out given Hipkins’ comments on “ghetto schools”.  Read more »

Voucher Schools in India – Private Schools for the Poor

Everywhere in the world people are embracing charter schools, voucher schools, academies, and partnership schools. For too long education has been the preserve of the unions and academics…and their way isn’t working.

The old systems specifically are leaving the poor behind. In India there is a movement to change that:

The Brahmpuri slum in New Delhi is an energetic place, home to migrants, Muslims and other marginals. A barber with a cut-throat razor and a bucket of dirty water shaves clients on the pavement. Factories hum in people’s front rooms. Animals and children are everywhere: buffaloes pulling carts, white ponies doing nothing in particular (they are popular for wedding ceremonies), children hawking bicycle pumps and washing powder.

The school, despite its name, is private, and it is a miracle of compression: floor upon floor of children, 25 to a class, crowded into a narrow concrete block. It is also a miracle of order: the children wear uniforms and stand up to greet visitors. One classroom is decorated with bright pictures and perky slogans such as: “We will get more than 80% in maths.” The teacher worked for Infosys, a giant IT firm, before finding her vocation. Other classrooms are drabber. Dr Bhandari, the school’s owner and headmaster, is clearly a shrewd businessman. He runs a fancier school next door, decorated with images of Mickey Mouse. He has an impressive collection of certificates. He uses an interpreter to explain that one of his school’s strengths is that it is “English medium”.  Read more »

Charter School Opponents will ignore Sweden now

Four points from this research summary 

1. Growth of free schools has led to better high school grades & university participation, even accounting for other factors such as grade inflation.

2. Crucially, state school pupils seem to benefit about as much as independent school ones. When ‘bog standard comprehensive’ face new tougher competition, they shape up. They know they’ll lose pupils if they don’t. As the researchers put it: ‘these positive effects are primarily due to spill-over or competition effects and not that independent-school students gain significantly more than public school students.’

3. Free schools have produced better results on the same budget. Their success cannot be put down to cash. Or, as they say, ‘We are also able to show that a higher share of independent-school students in the municipality has not generated increased school expenditures.’

4. That the ‘free school effect’ is at its clearest now because we now have a decade’s worth of development and expansion.

[Full report ]

Will NZEI and PPTA show the integrity that good teachers expect from students – or will people like NZEI’s Paul Goulter continue to lie to the New Zealand public and try and deny parents the right to choose educational options for their children.

Given that this evidence was available in November of last year. Paul Goulter needs to retract this statement:

“We would go further and say that, based on overseas evidence, there are absolutely no benefits to be gained from charter schools.”

Are teachers really happy with this kind of representation?

Academies boom in the United Kingdom

It sounds like charter schools are going bloody well in the United Kingdom.

A revolution in British schools is happening under our noses. As Michael Gove announced last week, there are now 1,529 academies, compared with only 200 when the Coalition came to power. Not since the spread of comprehensive schools, 50 years ago, has there been such a radical restructuring.

The academy programme was the brainchild of Tony Blair and his minister, Andrew Adonis. Academies seek to emulate the independence of private schools: they are self-governing and independent of local government, which is one reason why local authorities, unions, and the Left in general have not welcomed their rapid growth. But unlike independent schools, they charge no fees, and receive funding direct from central government. The Government aims for all remaining secondary schools to become academies, and many primary schools too.

Of course the teacher unions and the Labour party don’t want to even try, just in case it is a roaring success. they prefer to operate in an environment that was designed and remains mired in the post industrial revolution of more than a century ago.

A failed American model?

The leftwing and their useful idiots in the media who have taken all their talking points would like us all to believe that Charter Schools are a”failed American model”.

Unfortunately for them some of us know how to look past a union press release or Sue Moroney’s nasty whining.

Here are some studies showing that charter schools do indeed work. Helen Clark and other Labour luminaries would have us follow Sweden and other Scandanavian countries in lots of areas, but for some strage reason they are silent on the success in Sweden after they reformed their school system:

The Swedish school voucher program was introduced in 1992 by the then Center-Right government. First, the Social Democrats opposed the reform, but after having returned to power in 1994 they not only accepted it but also expanded the legislated compensation level of the voucher. Today there is almost a total national political consensus—with the one and only exception from the small Left (i.e., former Communist) Party—on the foundations of school choice in Sweden.

Since the 1970s, the Swedish school system had declined regarding quality and student attainment. One reason for this was the lack of choice. Only the very rich, who could afford private schools with private tuition fees on top of our very high taxes, had a right to choose. For all the rest, the school was one monolithic organization in which all students were considered to have the same needs and to learn the same way. The lack of choice created a lack of innovation regarding pedagogical concept and ways of learning adapted to different students’ needs. Public schools, run by politicians in the local branch of government (cities and municipalities), were all there was for 99 percent of all students.

The school voucher program was designed to create a market—with competition, entrepreneurship, and innovation—based on the Swedish and Scandinavian tradition of social justice and equality: All families should be able to choose between public and private schools regardless of their economic status or wealth. This equal opportunity philosophy, taken into its full potential, created an education market!

Instead of saying the proposal is a “failed American model” how about a “successful Swedish model”?

The small independent schools have often challenged the public schools and forced them to improve. But the large chain companies, which have an estimated one-fourth to one-fifth of all independent school students, have proven to be an important force for innovative progress, regarding both educational methods and, important enough, ways to measure, compare, maintain, and improve results.

This also explains why independent schools, on an average, prove to have a smaller per pupil cost than public schools. Since 2004, the inflation-adjusted cost increase per pupil has been smaller for independent schools than that for the whole Swedish education system. And independent schools are not allowed to choose their students. Detailed analysis of cost items shows that independent schools spend a higher share of their revenues on education and teaching materials and are more efficient in managing other costs.

Whoops there goes another myth perpetrated by the ideologues of the left, that Charter Schools choose their pupils to ensure greater success. What about the teacher unions?

…in the U.S. the teacher unions seem to be strong advocates against reforms for free choice. To me this is really strange and even somewhat bizarre, because it is against the core interest of the unions’ members. Widened choice for parents and students, which leads to higher competition through the occurrence of new and different forms of organizing education, also means a widened choice for teachers, because they will no longer be automatically referred to one employer—i.e., the public school monolith!

The Swedish teacher unions never opposed the voucher reform. They did not publicly embrace it, but behind the scenes they had expectations that the teacher profession would gain from more alternatives, competition, and innovation in education.

This is also proven in teacher satisfaction surveys conducted since the introduction of the universal choice program. Last summer, the national and highly respected Swedish Quality Index presented an analysis that showed that the difference in teacher satisfaction with their employer, work environment, and teaching conditions between public and independent schools is “highly significant” in favor of the independent schools. Perhaps these higher satisfaction rates for teachers in independent schools can explain their lower rate of sickness leave?

I’m not sure we should be trialling Charter Schools, rather we should simply adopt the Swedish model holus bolus and get cracking.

Almost every complaint the teachers unions and the Labour party about Charter Schools is busted by Sweden. Maybe they should start to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.