Charter $chools

Written By: - Date published: 8:41 am, August 22nd, 2015 - 20 comments
Categories: accountability, corruption, Ethics, national, schools - Tags: , ,

No surprises here:

School cash flows to owners’ pockets

Some of the country’s flagship charter schools are paying their owners hundreds of thousands in governance fees to help manage average rolls of just 70 children.

An analysis of audited financial returns has shown administration and management at the publicly funded, privately run schools form a large part of their costs – up to 40 per cent of total salaries.

Accounts for the first five schools show that four made “related party” payments to their sponsor trusts or companies last year. One school, Vanguard Military School, paid $309,391 for management, over and above what it paid its principal. The money went to the Advanced Training Group. Both entities are owned by the Hyde family.

Don’t fret citizens, enriching their owners is the way charter schools are designed to work. Some other gems from the article…

On claims of charter school success:

[Vanguard chief executive Nick Hyde] said splitting governance and management had led to success so far, including a 100 per cent NCEA Level 2 pass rate. Those figures, however, were based on participation rates. The Ministry of Education’s website showed only 60 per cent of those leaving the secondary school completed Level 2.

Another snippet:

All of the $14 million of charter school funding came from the Government, with none of the first five schools partnering with business or other private backers in the way envisaged under an election deal between National and the Act Party.

Charter schools = total fail.

20 comments on “Charter $chools”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Charter schools = total fail.

    Depends upon how you look at it and getting a government guaranteed profit would be high on the list of success that National and their donors would appreciate.

    • Macro 1.1

      Exactly – I think it’s working very well transferring the wealth of the country from the poor to the rich.
      Just wait until they get stuck into our local bodies infrastructure (reticulated water, septic and storm water..I see the preliminary “softening up” process is currently in operation. “Oh dear! our infrastructure is in a woeful state – it will cost so much to fix it and we can’t raise rates – lets sell it off.”

    • NZJester 1.2

      To right it was not a total fail. For a lot of rich Act and National Party backers it was a great success putting a lot of public money into their private hands.
      I’m sure it was also a great success for National getting a lot of extra anonymous party donations from cabinet clubs attended by charter school people.

  2. Adrian 2

    And that’s what corruption looks like. I wonder how much is making it’s way back to Rimmer et al ?. Shitloads wouldn’t surprise me.

    • mpledger 2.1

      This is exactly how it works in the States. Charter School siphon off tax dollars into “management” entities and then use part of that to donate to politicians so that they will open more of their chain’s charter schools.

  3. Tautoko Mangō Mata 3

    David Seymour quote:”Our focus is on the learning outcomes the schools produce.”

    I think the learning outcome produced by these schools is obvious. Charter schools are a mechanism for syphoning off public education money into private bank accounts.

  4. Bilking off the budget so blatantly already? I suppose they’ll have received certain assurances from the powers that should not be.

  5. red-blooded 5

    We do need variety and choice in our education system, including alternative education providers for kids with really high needs or in special circumstances. What we don’t need is bloated, self-interested “private providers” putting money in their pockets which could be used to support the needs of these kids and others like them if it was properly targeted and maintained at a reasonable level in the state system.

    Chuck out charter schools!

    • Fats 5.1

      You’re right. We do need variety and although some charter schools will be absolute failures, I’m sure some will be great successes. Critics of any attempt to broaden our education base quietly ignore the fact that too many of our state schools are ‘zombie’ schools, churning out semi-literate and semi-numerate kids. Some academies in Britain that have taken over schools run by the councils and freed up from union control are doing wonders. In America and the UK and a big chunk of the developing world, parents are pushing for a private sector model that isn’t designed to keep teachers in their comfort zone. The following piece shows what happens when unions and bureaucrats are taken out of the equation:
      http://www.economist.com/node/21545991

      • MikeG 5.1.1

        The governance of public schools in NZ is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees, not the teachers or unions. They do it on a volunteer basis – perhaps if the Government wanted to be consistent they should offer payments to those volunteers.

      • mpledger 5.1.2

        In the USA, the states with the strongest unions for teachers also have the highest test scores and best reputations for academic success. And the states without unions, with low pay and “fire at will” policies are finding they can’t find teachers to teach – teachers are leaving the state or profession and rates of teacher trainees are taking a nose dive.

        What’s the bet Paddington School as it exists now, has more funding per pupil going into it then it did before.

        The typical method is to make a school look like a failure by restricting it’s funding so that it becomes impossible to do a decent job. Then a charter school is allowed to take over, the funding ramps ups, the difficult to teach kids are not allowed in or get kicked out and then people yell “success!”.

      • repateet 5.1.3

        Um, the way to deal with the problem of ‘zombie’ schools is to take unions and bureaucrats out of the equation?
        If there are zombie schools here, what sort of communities are those schools in? What are the actual, real problems?

        A genius on learning, education and schooling who is also a genius on the development and evolution of communities and society had his hand on the tiller with the real zombies of New Zealand education Hekia Parata and David Seymour.

        Yes, John Banks with the other two and Anne Tolley, the Zombie Quartet of NZ education.

  6. McFlock 6

    At this rate it seems that charter schools are even worse than the state system, on average.

    Why “broaden the education base” with a failed experiment?

  7. TonyP 7

    Once again we have the apologists for charter schools trotting out the old “unions running our schools” bs. Fats can you actually provide an example of the NZEI or PPTA running a school in NZ. And by that I mean governing and managing a school.

  8. AmaKiwi 8

    Thank you, NZ Herald, for exposing this.

    Please give us more of this type of journalism.

    • AmaKiwi 8.1

      My mistake.

      The information was collected and tabulated by Bill Courtney of Save Our Schools.

      Great work Bill.

      It’s nice the NZ Herald printed your report, but it doesn’t appear the Herald made any contribution.

      I miss John Campbell. He would have been all over this Key-designed corporate rip-off.

  9. Trisha 9

    Following several years of involvement with Charter Schools and their close relative, Supplementary Education, in the USA, I was appalled to see New Zealand’s move in this direction. Hekia Parata has no ideas of her own and this was a notion John Key just loved. I suggested that it would be the downfall of educational standards in New Zealand. I hope it will be the downfall of John Key and National. Charter Schools are wrong on every level. They do not enhance educational outcomes in any way. Public funding would have been far better spent on the existing Public School system. New Zealand, you should have said ‘NO’ to Charter Schools.

    • AmaKiwi 9.1

      @Trisha

      ” New Zealand, you should have said ‘NO’ to Charter Schools.”

      The “New Zealand” you refer to is NOT we, the people. It is our elected dictator who doesn’t give us choices. The largest opposition party has no intention of changing to democracy. They want their turn at being dictator again.

    • Smilin 9.2

      And Key yes well I suppose in his grandiose heady days of being in the US it appealed to him to bring it to backwoods NZ as the way forward in education when the plan to annex the NZ govt from the left was being formulated
      What a ignorant effin snob Key is Jesus someone take the jackass out beat some bloody sense into him

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