Stanford University

Awesome: New Zealand trougher gets a slice of Swedish taxpayers’ money

Conceptual 3d abstract illustration.

New Zealand astrophysicists have won a $1M “prize” paid for by Swedish taxpayers.

A New Zealand astrophysicist has been jointly-awarded a $1 million prize for his fundamental work around the creation and consequences of black holes.

The University of Canterbury’s Roy Kerr will be awarded The Crafoord Prize Royal from the Swedish Academy of Science’s, along with Stanford University’s Roger Blandford for his research on black holes. Read more »

Charter schools work and there is proof, let’s see the unions produce some evidence

The National Center for Policy Analysis reports:

In June,?3.3 million?American teenagers will graduate from high school. Just?80 percent?of them graduate in four years, a share that declines to 65 percent among African-Americans. Yet in the last 40 years, school funding has exploded.

One reason all this spending has not brought better outcomes is that teachers’ unions are more concerned with protecting their members than with helping students.

  • Pay and staffing decisions based on seniority, not skill, do not serve students’ needs and also leave some American public school teachers disillusioned.
  • Charter schools offer many of the same benefits as private schools, since they are free from the stranglehold of teachers’ unions. This leaves them able to experiment with and adopt new education methods, including uniforms and stricter discipline and to attract successful teachers.

Stanford University economics professor Caroline Hoxby?found?that a student who attended a charter school would close 86 percent of the “Scarsdale-Harlem achievement gap” in math and 66 percent in reading. The gap represents the difference in student achievement, measured by test scores, between one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the New York metro area and one of the poorest.? Read more »

How Charter Schools do superbly pushing it up hill (with the proverbial rake)

As outlined here Charter Schools have to start on a fraction of a state school funds. They start on approximately $1million set up per 200 students whereas State schools start on up to 5 times that amount per student.

Another huge money State School is making progress towards starting – this time in Hamilton for $40 million dollars.

So…..of the reasons not to start Charter Schools (according to the Left):

– They are expensive. Well clearly they are not.

– The are a failed model overseas. Stanford University says the are fabulous for needy children. ? Read more »

Teacher Unions (and the Left’s) Motivation Laid Bare

Recent teacher union protests in the USA make their basic life philosophies clear:

They do not like successful people.

They do not like generosity.

They love tax and spend.

Children come a distant second to protecting their patch.

New York City is the centre of change for Charter Schooling in the USA. Recent Stanford University data is pointing out how well urban children are doing under Charter schools as opposed to traditional public schools – and the unions are hating it. ? ? Read more »

Charter schools work, so get out of their way

The latest CREDO (Center for Research on Education Outcomes) study has some interesting perspectives on charter schools,

and the left-wing and teacher unions are ignoring it because…well…charter schools are working and helping “their people”.

The Center for Research on Education Outcomes?(CREDO), at Stanford University, has done that in a new study, and it turns out that charters, in general, are strongest exactly where the need is greatest?in urban areas. In some cities, such as Boston, students are achieving six times the growth in math knowledge as are their traditional school counterparts; in reading, four times as much.

The CREDO study also fingers cities where charters are plainly failing, although on average in the 41 urban areas it studied, charter students are clearly outpacing traditional-school peers. Notably, the methodology employed by CREDO seems to rule out the persistent accusation that charter schools get better results merely by ?cherry-picking? abler or more motivated students.

The beauty of charter schools is if they aren’t working, then you simply close them…try doing that with a state school and watch the wombles march in?the?streets, irrespective of the results achieved by those schools. Every state school is perfect don’t you know.

Although forests have been leveled for all the studies on charter schools, CREDO?s new study took an unusual tack. It studied students in multiple areas of the country?and exclusively studied urban areas. Three points emerged. When suburban charters were excluded, the smaller average gains registered in previous studies were suddenly magnified. In other words, charters seem to be remedying a particular defect of schools in the most challenged areas. Second, within those schools, gains were greatest among students?those in poverty, African-Americans, Hispanics, English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students?whose performance typically lags. Disadvantaged students gain the equivalent of months (or more) of extra learning for every year in a charter school.

And the third point was the great divergence among charter organizations (each of which has its own board and often a distinct approach, with varying levels of community engagement). Some are offering a superior alternative; some are not.

Read more »

Even the Australian media publish the good Charter School news

The left-wing media and their pals in parliament constantly harp on about charter schools on behalf of their union buddies.

They are patch protecting and can produce no real evidence to support their claims.

On the other side of the argument, though, there is building evidence that should start to hush them up.

The problem is in getting that information out there through the filters of the media…like the new Stanford University study of charter schools that even Australian media has highlighted but remains untouched by NZ media.

Stanford University?s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) has a new study out finding urban charter schools outperform traditional public schools (TPS) in urban areas.

The results are the latest in mounting evidence that many charter schools provide tremendous benefit to students ? particularly those located in urban areas.

?The charter school sector has gotten to a point of maturity where it?s dominated by established charters that have stood the test of time and are operating a lot more efficiently and effectively for kids, and so we?re starting to see now this general positive impact of charters on student achievement,? Patrick Wolf, PH.D., a distinguished professor in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, told Business Insider.

The study looked at 41 urban areas in 22 states. Here?s what it found: ? ? Read more »

Bad news for the hippies, organic food isn’t more nutritious


Hippies love paying more for their “organic” food.

Apparently because it is more nutritious.

Well that myth can now be busted, it isn’t, leaving the hippies in a cloud of smug with just the extra cost?and?none of the benefits. Awww.

Of all the food-related countercultural buzzwords that have gone mainstream in recent years, organic ranks among the most confusing. Like its cousins (cf. local, free-range, or worst of all, natural), the term’s promotion by grocery stores everywhere has caused it to escape the strict definitions laid out by the USDA . But from Stanford University comes new research suggesting what we should have known all along: organic food isn’t actually more nutritious than traditionally-farmed goods.? Read more »

Peter O’Connor on Charter Schools: NZ’s Greatest Comedian

Associate Professor of Drama (and yes – he takes a taxpayer salary) Peter O’Connor comes up with a high quality comedy video on NZ’s Charter Schools where he videos and interviews himself for 12 minutes on a range of misdirected views.

Clearly McPhail and Gadsby ?merely laid the foundations for this man.

It is a shame to add to the page views but maybe some youtube comments could re-direct the poor man.

This Auckland drama teacher claims to know that Charter Schools have made no difference in the US – particularly to the poor and minority groups.

However Stanford University (no less) in 2013 concluded in its 2013 report?on the 6000 US charter schools dramatically improved results, where achievement was either ahead or at the same level of public schools. It also showed key benefits for black students, ?Hispanic students, ? students in poverty, and English language learners.? Read more »

Silencing dissent, the left doesn’t want you talking

Yesterday Martyn Bradbury tried to initiate a boycott of advertisers. Periodically some on the left do this and try to stop my advertising. It is what they do if you say something that they don’t agree with.

The other thing they do is try to influence editors and managers into not using you.

One blogger and prolific twitter user even lobbied Seven Sharp to not feature me, suggesting left-wing bloggers with barely a tenth of my traffic instead.

They also mount campaigns against journalists in an attempt to silence them too, journalists like Liam Hehir, who for some reason has attracted the ire of the lefty mob in the Manawatu.

He writes about it at the Manawatu Standard:

Why don’t I write more columns about how well Labour is doing at the moment?

Am I getting orders or (as someone once suggested) cheques from the Beehive?

The answer is actually pretty mundane. It happens to be my opinion that the party is in fact not doing well. Indeed, I think it is at something of a low. I would be happy to revise that view in the light of arguments to the contrary, provided they are tightly reasoned or empirical measures of public sentiment. I’m less inclined to be persuaded by the fact that individual partisans don’t like the Government.

The fact that you personally don’t support the prime minister doesn’t mean he isn’t connecting with centrist voters. I learned that the hard way with Helen Clark. But coming to terms with the fact she was a skilled operator didn’t mean I had to agree with her political philosophy.

Does this mean my views aren’t coloured by my own philosophies? Of course not! By virtue of being human, I suffer from cognitive biases which can never be fully eradicated. The same goes for every single person involved in journalism. You should never believe anyone who claims to be wholly dispassionate on matters of public affairs.

But one really curious thing about alleged media bias is that it can depend on the reader as much as it does on the writer.

Read more »

No.1 Reason why the Left rant about Charter Schools: Fear of Success!

There are only 5 Charter School in NZ so far. The unions rant about them, misrepresent them and exaggerate their funding. Hipkins and Cunliffe (who also exaggerate their funding) refuse to even visit, let alone explain – face to face – to parents and children why they threaten to close down something that is working already. See South Auckland Middle School?or Vanguard Military School.

As the data set grows for Charter Schools the NZ Left’s biggest fear is exactly what is occurring – success and community empowerment without union or centralised control. Keep in mind that the NZ Left is years behind the play (best guess – 1970s) – Obama’s administration does understand that education is for children and their families.

The other thing that is clearly frightening NZ’s left is that major philanthropists in the US are seeing that the schools are avoiding the bureaucratic black holes of time and money and are actually getting results for needy kids – therefore they are prepared to help.

The Philanthropy Roundtable of the USA have just issued a book:?From Promising to Proven?about Charter Schools in the USA. It will frighten the unions and the political Left in NZ so much that they will avidly avoid reading it (as will most of the MSM). They prefer to blame the economy for any education failure and to see schools and teachers as helpless victims. The book has a different message so a number of points are summarised for them here (full references are in the book):

Bill Gates explains that after his foundation decided in the mid?1990s to focus on U.S. schooling, it poured about $2 billion into various education experiments. During their first decade, he reports, ?many of the small schools that we invested in did not improve students? achievement in any significant way.? There was, however, one fascinating exception.

?A few of the schools that we funded achieved something amazing. They replaced schools with low expectations and low results with ones that have high expectations and high results.? And there was a common variable: ?Almost all of these schools were charter schools.?

Other philanthropists had the same experience. Eli Broad, one of the biggest givers to education in the U.S., observed that ?charter school systems are delivering the best student outcomes, particularly for poor and minority students. They are performing significantly better than the best traditional school district systems.? Ted Mitchell of the NewSchools Venture Fund drew some bold bottom lines: ?Good charter schools have pretty much eliminated the high-school dropout rate. And they?ve doubled the college?going rate of underserved kids.?

Some broad strengths of charter schools

  • They attract more entrepreneurial principals and teachers into the field of education
  • School autonomy allows wide experimentation with new ways of educating
  • This same flexibility is used to circumvent bureaucratic obstacles that often block conventional schools from succeeding
  • Charters sidestep the dysfunctional labor relations of many urban districts
  • They erode monopolies and introduce competitive energy into public education
  • Research shows that charters are more effective at recruiting teachers who graduated in the top third of their college class
  • Charters give parents who cannot afford private schools, or moving, another choice besides their neighborhood school
  • They give nonprofits and community organizations practical opportunities to improve the education of local children
  • Their emphasis on student outcomes fosters greater accountability for results
  • By functioning as laboratories and alternatives, charters foment change in conventional schools as well

In the 2013 U.S. News and World Report rankings of public high schools, for instance, 41 charters made it into the top 200. Read more »