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Charter schools have no future

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 am, June 5th, 2013 - 66 comments
Categories: greens, labour, Metiria Turei, schools - Tags: ,

The charter schools legislation passed its final reading last night. Great to see a strong stance taken by Labour and the Greens. From Metiria Turei’s speech:

Charter schools have no future in our country Aotearoa New Zealand, and I am pleased that the Labour Party has also made it very clear in the last address that they too believe that charter schools have no future in this country.

We want to make it very clear to any of those who are considering establishing one that should there be a change of government in the near future your schools will no longer exist as charter schools. …

Late in the speech (6:40) Turei rips in to John Banks, a political attack for political reasons, and relevant in the context of the debate. It in no way justifies Banks’ response – the subject of the next post.

66 comments on “Charter schools have no future”

  1. fender 1

    There’s bound to be a few 35 year contracts in it for Banks’ mates, and considering they get to keep the school buildings and assets if it is closed down, that’s quite a tidy future in their reckoning I’m sure.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1

      The next government can simply tear up the contract.

      • fender 1.1.1

        I’m all for tearing up the contract but how much will it cost taxpayers to get out of is what worries me.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 1.1.1.1

          Depends what Parliament decides. Personally I think the National Party’s clients charter school operators should carry the full cost.

          • fender 1.1.1.1.1

            May end up depending on what the judge decides after the expense of court action.

        • Chris 1.1.1.2

          It shouldn’t cost the tax payer anything. Any business/individual that starts a Charter School (or purchase MRP shares for that matter) has been given notice that should the Govt change it will be bye bye NO compensation. Due diligence comes to mind.

  2. Bill 2

    I distinctly remember David Shearer said that the Charter Schools legislation would remain under Labour. So for Labour to be now claiming that they have ‘no future’ is a matter of faith rather than a matter of fact. Or did I miss a flip-flop along the way?

    • just saying 2.1

      He did say that Labour wouldn’t remove National Standards. But I don’t remember him saying anything about Charter schools.
      Wouldn’t put it past him though.

      • Bill 2.1.1

        Ah – thanks for prodding me flobby memory there js. I take that back. Pretty sure it was his reference to the national standards I was mis-remembering.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.2

      cf: Dr. Megan Woods on the third reading. From about 2:29: “We will not guarantee…”

      That’s as close as they’ve come this far, so far as I know.

      • gobsmacked 2.2.1

        Labour will “do away with” charter schools, says Shearer …

        http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/rotorua-review/8476876/Shearer-holds-Govt-to-account

        Add usual caveats: what reporter says, what Shearer says, all variables. But it’s there in print, to quote at him if he starts to wobble.

        • mac1 2.2.1.1

          The same promise to remove charter schools was made by David Shearer also with regard to national standards according to Gobsmacked’s Waikato Times reference at 2.2.1. which puts an opposite view to just saying’s comment at 2.1.

          A definitive statement of policy would be useful.

          • Bill 2.2.1.1.1

            He’d previously stated in a TV interview some time back, that Labour would leave National Standards in place but also offer up an alternative to them.

            • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1.1.1

              Labour standing strong on its educational principles.

            • mac1 2.2.1.1.1.2

              “As well as the Novopay issues new educational reforms such as the proposed charter schools, league tables, performance pay and national standards were all discussed last week.

              Mr Shearer said that the national standards being used were not national and were not standardised.

              He gave his reassurance that if the Labour party was elected he would do away with national standards and charter schools.”

              Shearer quoted in Waikato Times, as above.

              • Colonial Viper

                Labour Party leader David Shearer has rejected suggestions that making national standards optional for schools would create a confusing dual education system.

                In a keynote speech yesterday, Mr Shearer said the controversial national standards system would not be scrapped under a Labour-led government, but schools could opt out and use alternatives if they wished

                http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10833066

                • mac1

                  Hmmm, CV, I still think we need an up to date call on this one. Your Herald article is September last year and the Waikato Times is March this year, and are significantly different.

  3. ianmac 3

    There has not been one explanation from any Charter School proponents to explain just exactly what they will do to lift the long tail of underachievers. Not one that I have read anyway. All the rhetoric is the same as what any and every school would publish as policy.

    Has anyone heard any specifics that would mark out strategies to make a difference?

    • There’s only been vague blather about freeing teachers from the constraints of the curriculum, which will let them sort out the lowest achievers by, er special charter school voodoo.

      Mostly the sales pitch for charter schools has involved bald assertions that they will help low achievers, and anyone questioning the assertions gets a full blast of “Why do you hate the poor?” Admittedly, it’s an approach not confined to the right – supporters of food-in-schools programmes have taken a similar approach.

      • karol 3.1.1

        The food in schools programme has been backed up by evidence that being fed helps children to learn. It has also been supported by examples from other countries with comprehensive food in schools policies.

        The opponents to Charter Schools have also provided ample evidence to show that there is little to gain, and much to lose, by implementing Charter Schools. On both counts, the government ignores the great weight of evidence.

  4. karol 4

    John Banks speech last night attacked the opposition and teachers’ unions for their failed ideology, then goes on to justify Charter Schools using totally discredited ideology.

    He said:

    For the life of me I can’t understand why the teacher unions and their apologists on the other side of the house are opposed to lifting the tide that will raise all boats.

    That really shows the problem – John Banks’ poor understanding – or is it willful misunderstanding?

    He bashes teachers unions for their failed ideology, but praises teachers for the good work they do in schools – as if somehow the teachers unions have nothing to do with actual practicing teachers. Banks adds that teacher aids are under-appreciated – as though, untrained teacher aids will do a better job in Charter Schools.

    How can such an educationally-challenged person be the one to decide on how the education system operates?

  5. prism 5

    No specifics ianmac – I don’t know enough. But it smells strongly of a desire to sweep difficulties with the ‘tail’ of educational underachievement under the carpet. Sort of saying ‘ To hell with these losers, let them go and we’ll let someone else (private enterprise) pick up the slack, and we can wash our hands of them.’

    Seeing that there is going to be so little information and monitoring this must be the case. For everything else the NACT government undertakes they want to control costs down to limiting how many toilet paper squares civil servants use each day.

  6. Phaedrus 6

    The problem with unilaterally closing charter schools is that the kids enrolled there will suffer. There has to be a way to continue their schooling at the same start, reintegrated back into the public schooling system, and I don’t know the legal issues with that.

    • JonL 6.1

      Just re integrate them back into the public school system – including buildings if they were previous schools closed down by this government!

    • karol 6.2

      I understood Turei was talking about re-integrating them in the public system.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    no more dodgy teachers dirty looks!

  8. Wayne (a different one) 8

    The left’s angst of Charter Schools is born of ideology – its has to be, because why can anyone oppose what is simply an “option”.

    No one is going to be forced into sending their children to Charter Schools and, if the current system is failing their children, then surely an alternative to the State system is better than continuing to roll out failed students.

    Opponents of Charter Schools roll out platitudes and miss-information on the failings of Charter Schools elsewhere – but of course it’s the old adage, “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”. There are many great sucess stories with these schools, but the MSM won’t print that.

    Of course, protection of their union buddies and major benefactors, will not see Labour/Greens supporting a major threat to their power base.

    • karol 8.1

      From the right wing ministry of through-the-looking-glass misinformation, projecting the right wings’s failings on to the left.

      Citations needed, especially on the success of Charter Schools.

      Why subject children to an experiment, when anything that can be done to further their education in Charter Schools could be done more cheaply and effectively in state schools.

      Your comments on the left being afeared of losing their teachers unions’ power base, just shows the right’s fears of the teachers’ unions (how the right twists things) – unions that represent teachers who know a lot more about educating children than the likes of John Banks.

    • AmaKiwi 8.2

      Because of our rotating dictatorships, we lurch from right to left and back again.

      This is NOT the way to run a country. People need consistency in order to plan their lives, communities, businesses.

      The NZ public is fairly predictable. We are much more homogenous than most countries.

      With binding referendums we can avoid these political flip-flops. People, communities, and businesses can make more reliable plans for their futures. It is saner, less wasteful, and (as the Swiss have demonstrated) more profitable.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 8.3

      Wayne, blah, blah, blah, blah.

      Caveat Emptor.

    • The left’s angst of Charter Schools is born of ideology – its has to be, because why can anyone oppose what is simply an “option”.

      Instead of inventing reasons, try doing a bit of reading. Left opposition to charter schools in this country is based on the following:

      1. First and foremost, the government’s interest in charter schools has to do with union-busting, not education. As you can probably figure out, leftists don’t see any reason to support union-busting, not even if it’s wearing a disguise labelled “education reform.”

      2. The secondary goal is undermining the public education system. Strangely enough, the left isn’t very keen on endorsing that either.

      3. A very distant third interest the government has in this is widening the availability of specialist approaches to education. Which would be a laudable goal if it wasn’t playing third fiddle to union-busting and undermining the public education system.

    • tracey 8.5

      The USA’s former gung ho proponent of charter schools is now a nay-sayer… or is that just miss (sic) information.

      Wayne your post is quite funny cos everything you rail against is contained within it.

    • QoT 8.6

      School closures in Christchurch mean some children will face a long walk along dangerous stretches of road. Sure, if a charter school opens on the site of their old school just down the lane, no one’s forcing their parents to send them there. Just, you know, they might have to consider what’s best for the kids, a shitty education at the hands of profit-hungry corporations or, you know, dying.

      • Populuxe1 8.6.1

        You know, Christchurch does have busses and pedestrian crossings and things. Not that I support the closures, but you are exaggerating the case.

    • Chris 8.7

      “No one is going to be forced into sending their children to Charter Schools” Wayne. How long do you think it will take for schools who want to fudge their pass rates to start pressuring parents to remove their children and dump them in 2nd rate facilities.

      • Populuxe1 8.7.1

        What, aside from it being illegal and having to get past the school boards as well?

    • millsy 8.8

      There is no need for charter schools in this country. Our schools are autonomous entities, controlled by parent elected boards, with flexibility over pretty much everything.

  9. Chooky 9

    Speaking from the Perch

    I am inclined to think charter schools, which all academics say are a step backwards, is not simply to sweep under-achievement under the carpet, but is something more sinister. It is reactionary social engineering: actively encouraging dumbing down, splintering the ethos/hopes of an egalitarian society, making it more amenable to fundamentalism, indoctrination, bigotry and hence totalitarian, imperialist and fascist exploitation.

    The end result of charter schools will not be well educated , critical thinkers who know the value of education, democracy and equal opportunity for all, in a New Zealand society that is socially cohesive and caring .

    GO GREEN!

    Where are the strong statements about this from Labour and Winston’s New Zealand First!?.

    • joe90 9.1

      + +1 Chooky.

    • Red Rosa 9.2

      +1

    • Cant remember my last username 9.3

      Do you seriously believe that or was it in jest?

      Do you really think a bunch of men in suits sat around a board table and said “lets introduce charter schools so we can encouraging dumbing down, splintering the ethos/hopes of an egalitarian society, making it more amenable to fundamentalism, indoctrination, bigotry and hence totalitarian, imperialist and fascist exploitation” – or words to that effect?

      Maybe they just think it in the best interests of the kids / parents – you might disagree with their logic but that’s the beauty of a democracy

      • karol 9.3.1

        Of course it doesn’t happen that way, Crmlu. What people are talking about is the outcome of a fundamental difference in approach to education.

        education for democracy involves encouraging students to think critically. A lot of teachers in public schools favour that ethos, partly (at least) because they take seriously their brief to educate all comers, regardless of background. (I speak as someone who taught for a few decades in public systems).

        Banks especially, favours the militaristic style education his son got in a school outside the public system. It’s one that encourages students to follow the leaders, etc. Many right wingers favour the “talk and chalk” tradition, with an authoritarian teacher. They also favour selective assessment systems that separate the leaders-elite-to-be from the worker drones.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead 9.3.1.1

          They also favour any means of transferring public money into their own back pockets.

      • prism 9.3.2

        Can’t remember anything
        There’s money and personal advantage in pushing the charter schools. There is no concern that they won’t work as proved overseas and they will be a terrific way of giving us a right wing half-educated bent into shape, set of likely RWNJs. Good fodder for standing outside abortion clinics, holding forth about creationism etc. Some good will happen, but there was no reason that changes couldn’t be made within the present public system.

    • prism 9.4

      ++2 Chooky

    • mac1 9.5

      http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbpol/1953553699-anger–concern-as-charter-schools-law-passes

      Chooky at 9- strong statements as sought from Hipkins, Wood and Dyson, and the Greens as well.

  10. tracey 10

    Anyone noticed that the Police Union is called an association but the teachers association is called a union… and of course union is meant as a pejorative.

  11. Chooky 11

    Interesting also that they choose to initiate charter schools in Christchurch…a place still under a National Government imposed state of civil emergency….. where Environment Canterbury has been illegitimately usurped out of local Cantabrians’ democratic voting control …and fracking is in the offing … ( if it hasn’t already been happening out at sea , as has been rumoured)….The Canterbury Basin and Canterbury itself has been geologically deemed as suitable for petroleum/oil reservoirs….join the dots ……

  12. Rodel 12

    What a powerful speech from Metiria Turei! Banks cowering in his seat before bleating sexist abuse.
    I hope to see speeches as strong from someone in Labour..or did I miss it?

  13. Descendant Of Sssmith 13

    The state education system was set up based on an ideology:

    A state funded secular education system well funded and supported by the taxpayer.

    Those who didn’t want to be part of that education system were free to establish their own schools and fund those themselves but were still required to as a minimum teach the same curriculum and to the same level of expertise.

    The opening up of state funded education to private religious schools in the 70’s was a mistake. As religious beliefs dropped off those schools should have rationalised and closed. As the neo-liberal implementations took place and destroyed the middle class then the private schools who were putting their hands out for tax payer funding should also have rationalised and closed.

    Is it not funny that the very people who argue for lower taxes, who benefit financially the most from the neo liberal experiment, who have tax exempt status, who have a narrow (religious) view in life, who most denigrate the working class and the poor, and who least use the state system are the ones who most want to access public money, want to most reduce funding to public schools, and dearly want to run schools in their own images.

    Is it not sad that they use the children of the poor and disadvantaged – the people they call bludgers and no hopers, the people they say have self inflicted poverty as the excuse for their theft of public money.

    Is it not sad that they try and state opposition is an ideological driven position when half the groups applying are religious (as if religion is not an ideology) and the proponents ignore the research that shows that even in a fundamentally disparate education system such as the US the schools either make little difference or make things worse, that the data around NZ’s tail shows that it is both smaller and at a higher level than many other countries and that some of our tail is due to the integration (rather than the institutionalisation) of children with intellectual disabilities.

    If I have an ideological position it’s the principles at the start. I make no apologies for taking such a position.

    It would be interesting to see what outcry there would be amongst the right if it was decided to set up a school based on communist or socialist principles or if the union movement decided to set up a school.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Now you’re thinking.

    • karol 13.2

      Actually, while I agree with most of your post, DOS, I disagree with the first couple of points. As someone who studied and taught the history of education in the UK, the development of state education happened as a response to industrialisation.

      Initially elementary education was provided for the working classes to fulfill the needs of an industrialising society. There was a certain amount of “ideology” in that it was felt children shouldn’t be working in factories. However, the education they got was aimed at keeping them off the streets in the newly growing cities, and at preparing them for work in the factories and life in an industrial society.

      The post WWII expansion of state education into secondary education for all was also more ideologically driven, but it also prepared people for the expansion of white collar jobs, the demise of blue collar ones in the west, and for an increasingly consumer-driven society

      I agree about the contradictory attitude of those who want to set up charter schools on state money. they also are oblivious to the value of quality universal state education for the society of the future.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 13.2.1

        Appreciated. I was referring more to the principles behind what the state funded rather than the reasons for educating. I understand your point however.

    • Rodel 13.3

      DOS…Yes..would be interesting. We should all ask them.

    • millsy 13.4

      They probably should have.

      Parents and teachers should have formed a grassroots education co-op and made a bid. Play them at their own game. Give big iwi, big business and big churches the finger.

  14. Descendant Of Sssmith 14

    A few of us are clearly having multiposting fun. Mine’s off an ipad if it helps track the problem – holding finger too long on the submit button maybe? Did get the message to say “looks like you already have submitted that” but the technology seems to care not and posts away any way.

    If someone could delete em that would be cool. There’s no edit option on them to delete myself.

    [karol: done]
    [lprent: A huh! That makes it clearer. Are you using the mobile version? I will have to look at the code for it. But it is one my hitlist for replacement. ]

  15. Rodel 15

    When Banks’ was Minister of Police his assimilation of Traffic Officers into the general police force was a disaster according to police I’ve spoken to. Well trained cops resent being put on what they call ‘snake duty’ when they want to do real policing. We no longer have traffic cops devoted to road safety.
    Banks’ self perceived radical ideas like charter schools are failures…His favourite word , ‘loser’ is something like a self fulfilling prophecy…That’s not quite what I mean but I can’t waste any more brain cells on him.

    • millsy 15.1

      To be fair, he probably had Ruth yanking his chain on that. The BNZ couldnt bail itself out…

  16. Chooky 16

    Great comments from Sssmith.

    Ironic too that Banks is the front man for charter schools…I dont think he had much of an education himself…was an early dropout……but he is a businessman

    In reply to Karol.

    I think NZ state schools were set up rather differently in NZ than the UK ….by refugees from the British class system and as well by a certain middle class strata who saw great land opportunities…. .ie NZ state education was not set up as a response to industrialisation ( NZ did not have industry but was rather a farming , agrarian community of people who lived off the land and supported those living off the land)

    NZ state schools were set up in a real attempt to create a classless , high quality , secular , free, state run education for all. ( See Colin McGeorge ‘Schools and Socialisation in New Zealand 1890-1914′ , University of Canterbury) The values schools transmitted reflected a middle class consensus, not seriously challenged by workers. There were of course attempts to enlist schools in social and moral causes.

    But on the whole the egalitarian values of the original ,free, state, high quality, secular education have remained for all NZers, regardless of economic background , sex and ethnicity ….until very recently.

  17. It simply comes down to, no one has any right whatsoever, to tell a parent they cant send their kid to a charter school.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 17.1

      Don’t recall anyone professing that. Your simplicity quip simply shows you as a simpleton.

      Your accidental use of the word cant though reflects the neo-liberal and religous teachings that these schools will predominantly teach – both schools of thought anti-science, anti-evidence and anti-logic couched in meaningless mumbo jumbo that purports to be the truth.

      Much like your quip – insincere and a message that is designed to mislead.

    • Rodel 17.2

      ‘Simply’ is the key word. It fits.

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