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Charter schools mess – what a surprise

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, February 21st, 2015 - 193 comments
Categories: education, national, schools - Tags:

As widely covered yesterday, one of National’s first five charter schools is in particular trouble:

Northland charter school on final notice

Education Minister Hekia Parata has given a troubled Northland charter school a month to sort itself out before she decides whether to close it.

Parata today met the trust that operates Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru school and issued them with a performance notice instructing them to take “immediate action to address areas of serious concern at the school”.

Parata approved Whangaruru as a charter school in 2013, despite ministry concerns the school had not outlined a “safe environment” for students. The school has since lost a quarter of its roll and has dealt with issues of attendance, bullying, drug use and management infighting.

Has there ever been a case of a state school failing within a year?

As for the other charter schools – how can we even tell if they are working? They can hire unqualified teachers. They are not accountable the usual regualations, the New Zealand curriculum, the community, or to the National Standards framework / NCEA.

If there are successes, it comes at the cost of funding “as much as five times more than state schools” per pupil. What could state schools accomplish with the same levels of funding?

The fact that the Nats have ruled out any new applications this year suggests that they now realise that the charter school model is a failure.

Who ever would have predicted such a mess? Only 20 years of international experience (etc), educational experts, the New Zealand Educational Institute, teachers, the Ministry of Education, Treasury, and an “overwhelming” number of submissions to the select committee. So, just about everyone then…

193 comments on “Charter schools mess – what a surprise”

  1. rawshark-yeshe 1

    And who owns the land and buildings if they fail ? This question has never been answered in the House although it is all bought with taxpayers dollars squeezed like blood from the education budget.

    • Sacha 1.1

      I thought it had been established that the private trust involved keeps the assets?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        Ways to make trustees personally liable for National Party lies.

        …where a trustee’s profession, employment, or business is or includes acting as a trustee or investing money on behalf of others, the trustee, in exercising any power of investment, shall exercise the care, diligence, and skill that a prudent person engaged in that profession, employment, or business would exercise in managing the affairs of others.

        Crowd funded monkeywrench?

        • Sacha

          Given the poor standards of other trustees and directors, possibly not. Bet the legal threshold for action would be pretty high by now.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            So get the court to rule on it: does operating a National Party Madrassa qualify as “care, diligence, and skill”?

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Which begs the question: what would happen if we set up a Charter School based on evidence based pedagogy and employment conditions?

              An Institute of Higher Irony 😈

            • Sacha

              “does operating a National Party Madrassa qualify as “care, diligence, and skill”?”

              hey, operating the Nat party doesn’t seem to.

  2. I don’t think they view it as a failre. Jst that they don’t have enogh political capital to psh more thogh this year.

    There’s still 2016 and 2017 (though election year is less likely).

    So instead of charter schools, will they be moving their focus to further entrenching the new management layer they’ve just created?
    And more privatisation in the Health sector?

  3. kiwigunner 3

    I love how the mysterious (and quite untrue) 20% failing in our schools figure that is often banded about is just fine when it comes to Charter Schools. Maybe the idiots can now see why state schools find it hard to teach kids who their stupid policies affect the most.

  4. Just as predicted. No wonder National are backing away from this policy quick smart.

    Oh and the 20% FYI, that number includes mentally and extremely physically handicapped children in special schools. Just more dishonesty from national to push idiology and ignore good reasurch.

  5. Incognito 5

    State schools also falter & fail and there’s plenty of research on this. In any case, one fast-failure in this hapless Government experiment with Charter Schools is not scientific evidence that the model is an abject failure IMO. AFAIK the Government has approved 9 Charter Schools so far so the experiment is still ongoing with a large number of children as guinea pigs and people’s livelihoods and careers at stake. Don’t expect any accountability from this Government any time soon.

    • Lloyd 5.1

      I think charter schools are a dumb idea. Considerable evidence shows children almost always learn better when they are part of an educational experiment of a new idea. We can only imagine how bad these schools will become if they survive for a few years and are no longer a shining new idea of some right-wing educationalist but just another profit orientated business.

  6. Rodel 6

    Charter schools are the result of one person, John Banks, forcing John Key to submit to the mindless ideology of ACT and as usual appealing to the greed of those who see education as a money making venture and to hapless parents who erroneously believe that private unqualified ‘teachers’ can educate their children.

    The parents of charter and state school kids have both been shafted by Key’s weakness in capitulating to ACT’s political blackmail.

    With charter schools receiving up to 5 times the funding of proper state schools, the taxpayer has also been well and truly shafted – but most taxpayers haven’t noticed.

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      Charter schools are the result of one person, John Banks, forcing John Key to submit to the mindless ideology of ACT

      Yeah, Banksy would have said – you know you want to John.

      And Key would’ve said – mate, you twisted my arm. And signed it off.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2


      ACT is there to promote the policies the National Party knows are vote losers and will harm New Zealanders, but want to do anyway. John Banks is a Libertarian ideologue? Pull the other one.

  7. coaster 7

    Meanwhile those students are the ones who realy suffer.
    if its bad enough to give them an ultimatum, its bad enough to put in a statutory manager and try and fix the problems immediately to mitigate any further harm to the students future potential.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1

      How are they going to fix the household income that is the single most influential factor in education outcomes?

      The “further harm” happens long before school starts.

  8. RedBaronCV 8

    Notice how the Nats have set up the ACT MP so he has to explain all this away.

    As the charter schools are failing at about an 80% rate this is far worse than the state system. If you get to keep the land & buildings then I would suggest this is a very powerful incentive against success.

    • tc 8.1

      Yup, Parata will likely cancel it so they can get on with the original intent after this initial phased approach of acting like a school.

      Nice work if you can get it, land and buildings paid by the taxpayer you can do as you please after NACT judges you to have failed, bet they can’t wait.

  9. Tracey 9

    Pretty sure the failure shows the success of charter schools. just as skycity deal and novopay have been great for nu zuland

  10. tc 10

    Charter schools are about using public funds to fill private hands, more corporate welfare that is NACT stock in trade.

    If there was genuine concern about education they would not be exempt from OIA, the infrastructure would remain in the public domain to be repurposed in the event of failure and they would be benchmarked and capped on a per pupil basis.

    Ah the efficiency of the privateers as we keep hearing.

    Grammar boy rimmer Seymour is just a vacuous front for it like banksy was.

  11. Charter schools, another f%cking rort by NACTUM.

    Not content with asset sales, sky city, SCF, novapay, colluding with liar Dongha Liu, slashing ACC, gutting the public service, flushing a $200m retirement fund down the crapper, killing TVNZ7, the NACTUMs need to attack education. Keep the voters fat and ignorant and compliant with the long term programme of asset stripping NZ.

  12. music4menz 12

    I would have thought that the fact that a charter school can be closed if it fails is a positive and not a negative. The children attending that charter school can immediately transfer to another more successful school. This is in contrast to the situation at a failing state school such as Selwyn College was. Selwyn’s NCEA results year after year were below average when compared with schools of a similar decile and it received very poor ERO reports. Selwyn wasn’t closed, of course, and the kids weren’t immediately moved on to a more successful one. It took years whilst a statutory manager and then a commissioner was appointed, a new principal brought in, the quality of teaching and learning improved and the whole culture of failure turned into one of success. The children attending Selwyn College over those years of transformation were compelled to remain within a failing school environment. How was that better than a situation where a charter school can immediately be closed if it is failing?

    There are a significant number of state schools in existence that are like Selwyn College was- underperforming schools that are failing their pupils. Not one of them will close- as this charter school might- in order to allow their pupils the chance to attend a more successful school.

    • When I first started teaching all schools were overseen by inspectors and advisors and when issues developed they would be addressed in a timely way. Surely it is best to support and fix an established school rather than watch it collapse and then put stress on surrounding schools. Support for Selwyn College was obviously too long in coming.

      In the case of Charter Schools, their independence from the State System means that that they aren’t bound to the same standards as Public Schools and the level of failure before any action is taken will be much worse.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2

      And yet, despite the wondrous revelation that 49% of state schools are below median, the top education system in the world can’t cure right wing brain syndrome.

      • …and 20% of children will always be well below average 😉 I wonder if the Government have lifted that bottom percentage to a higher one? It will only succeed if they remove the bottom quintile completely.

        • Incognito

          The median and mean are so-called measures of central tendency AKA mid-point or centre. OTH they don’t convey anything about the spread of the group. So, while it may sound quite bad/negative when referring to the bottom quintile in absolute terms it means very little; the separation/distance between the bottom and top quintiles may well be quite small. Stats are too often used to manipulate.

    • greywarshark 12.3

      Opening and closing charter schools. It is all part of the exciting mix of forward-moving and vital education and social programs that this UNACT government promotes. There is never a dull moment in this country which has often been touted as one of the social experiments of the world.

      If the constant changes and involved tests and pilot projects that citizens are subjugated to become onerous and confusing it is all done with a good will because the average kiwi understands that its government knows what is best for the country. Because of being far away from advanced civilisation in this green land of water-sprinkled fields dotted with cows, NZ people know that meeting the advances of the 21st century head on is necessary, even if it results in brain damage.
      e&oe/sarc/copyright to the writer!

    • Brian Biggins 12.4

      I find it interesting that RWNJ’s always blame schools for the poor performance of their kids rather than the fact that a large component of a child’s education performance is due to parental influence. In the neoliberal environment of ‘individual responsibility’ I find it rather ironic that RWNJ’s don’t take responsibility for their own children’s education by getting involved, rather than blaming schools for poor performance (even in higher decile areas). But then, I guess they don’t have time because their too busy working long hours so they can climb the aspirational ladder. Of course some can afford to send their kid’s to private schools for the express purpose of shirking the aforementioned parental responsibility-they pay good money, they demand results!! It’s an economic transaction, for goodness sake! So now those that can’t afford private schools are saying the same thing: we pay taxes, we expect results. Never mind the fact that there probably won’t be a job at the end of their child’s education anyway- the neoliberal experiment is reaching its denouement. Charter schools have been another failed experiment by the neoliberalista to get government out of education and privatise it. It’s anti-social engineering, like most of their policies!

  13. The main difference and tension between this government and the teaching profession is around the use of research and evidence to drive change. This Government is determined to ignore evidence and push untested ideology onto our children and are prepared to block or manipulate date to give an impression of success. The imbedding of ideology is more important than real outcomes.

    The professional voice is being squeezed out of education leadership because the Government is sick of justifying their actions against the growing weight of evidence that everything from National Standards, Charter Schools and Novopay have been monumental failures. We no have few with teaching backgrounds in the MInistry, the largest education union, NZEI, is no longer part of the Ministers working group and shortly the new teachers council (EDUCANZ) will only have Minister appointed leaders.

    Teachers are no longer regarded as professionals or public servants, but state servants and mere technicians who must put government priorities ahead of children’s needs.

    Parata will only close this Charter School when the bad press and rapidly falling roll reaches a point when it would fall belly up any way. better to close it before that happens so there is some appearance of oversight.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 13.1

      Are school boards of trustees bound by the Trustees Act?

      If so, do they have a duty – and personal liability for any breach – of care? How does that apply to pedagogy?

      Just asking.

    • Great points. People prefer faith based thinking and voting for that nice smiley Mr Key. Evidence and science are inconvenient and a bit of a downer so they are just ignored. Key and the NZ equivalents of Fox News are good buddies.

      Qualified educators have to be marginalised because they are generally very smart people who aren’t fooled by NACTUM spin and they have serious political clout.

      National screwing with kids’ education and prospects is not part of the carefully maintained Crosby Textor narrative.

    • Picard101 13.3

      100% spot on Dave!

    • greywarshark 13.4

      I think that this one sentence from beansprout sums up gummint attitude to teachers.
      Teachers are no longer regarded as professionals or public servants, but state servants and mere technicians who must put government priorities ahead of children’s needs.

    • Sacha 13.5

      ” untested ideology ”

      That’s the trouble; this government insists on implementing nutbar ideas that have already failed elsewhere. As if they’re so talented they’ll do it better. Smug dunces.

  14. One Anonymous Bloke 14

    The Charter School policy is a red herring.

    All the education systems in the world aren’t going to alter the fact that household income is the single most influential factor in educational achievement.

    Confronting that head on is something the National Party simply cannot do. Too much of their voter appeal hate speech relies on household income; on projecting their values and denying their failure.

    I blame their parents.

    • Sacha 14.1

      Yes, some of them seem to have never been taught right from wrong.

    • Inequality is growing faster in NZ than any other OECD country, therefore those at the bottom of the heap in socio-economic terms are growing in numbers. While parents are responsible for their children, to a large degree it is the Government that determines the minimum quality of our rented properties and the pay and conditions of our workforce. It has been identified that 25% of our children are now living in relative poverty and around 15% are not getting their basis needs met (regular nutritious meals, their own bed, appropriate clothing, a healthy home…). To a large degree parents can no longer chose their conditions of employment or their standard of housing, they have to accept what is available.

      Invercargill is a good example of why the Government and our economy are failing our children and putting pressure on our education system won’t fix the underlying problems: http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.co.nz/2014/11/government-responsible-for-invercargill.html

  15. Hone 15

    Was it just a scam for the trust to get a free farm?

    • tc 15.1

      Looks likely more so than ever being a real school was. Look at who brought them in and who ultimately benefits….follow the money hone.

  16. English Breakfast 16

    Perhaps a piece on how well the others are doing? Or the non-Charter Schools that are currently in difficulty?

  17. McGrath 17

    Vanguard Military School is doing well according to the Education Review Office though. For those of you out there in the know, what will Labour do with the successful charter schools when they do eventually get back into government?

    Edit: Grammar.

  18. kiwigunner 18

    They will no dout allow them to become Private Schools. That is fine. And good luck to them. But taxpayer funding and no accountability – it’s just not right.

    • English Breakfast 18.1

      Private schools get tax payer funding. And Charter Schools have plenty of accountability. Please check your facts before posting such nonsense.

  19. Anyone who heard John Banks being an arrogant, ignorant prick in a Radio Waatea interview with Willie Jackson about charter schools in Northland will be wondering what he is thinking now.

    i think we can be certain the hideous pomposity of the little creep won’t be ruffled by the doings at Whangaruru.

  20. Adrian 20

    5 times the funding of State students? That’s just corrupt.
    Money does help, hughly.
    The parents and supporters Blue/Gold Fund of Marlborough Boys College gave the school about 18k to help lift NCEA scores and scholarship results and 2 years on from 2 scholarships in 2012, 2014 saw 11 in total including 4 Outstandings and 1 first in the country( Chemistry).
    That was from only 18 grand for 1100 boys.
    What could we have done for the kids and the country if the money for this charter debacle had been used more wisely?
    Congratulations to the teaching staff at MBC for an outstanding effort, they proved that once funded adequately great thing can happen.

    • English Breakfast 20.1

      “5 times the funding of State students? That’s just corrupt.”

      It’s also totally inaccurate. Charter Schools are funded at the same level as a decile 3 state school. The calculations being used in your claims include the set up costs, which is utterly dishonest.

  21. Chaz 21

    Pretty sure the costs being quoted include establishment funding as well as operational. So in other words the article is comparing apples with oranges.

    Nice technique too to bolster the case with references to posts by aligned political fellow travelers, but perhaps a little more convincing if the links were to articles that were not simply political grandstanding/coming from vested interests.

    From another perspective this failure being openly played out is a good thing. Why?

    Because it shows the system is working. Failing schools are found out and discarded quickly rather than being propped up with more funding and supported by such things as school zoning rules and limitations on students busing out of zone to actually get a decent education.

    That is actually what the charter schools model is meant to deliver. Successful operating models (schools) will succeed and grow. Failing operating models will fail and be taken over.

    I suppose that is what people are afraid of. Heaven forbid that charter schools provide a successful alternative model eh?

    • Yes, but WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN? It’s bad enough when a business goes under. It’s unconscionable to have a system of schools where the failure is built in, and those children have to cope and adjust. No prizes for guessing the demographics where charter schools will more likely fail, more often.

      • English Breakfast 21.1.1

        Failure is not built in to Charter Schools any more than it is to state schools. Charter Schools are a progressive innovation to assist at risk kids. What are you afraid of?

      • music4menz 21.1.2

        But you are fine with kids having to attend a failing state school that will not be closed but must spend years with a commissioner trying to stop the failure? Better to have a charter school that fails and is closed down than a state school that fails and is propped up year after year with kids who are forced through zoning to continue to attend.

        • Jessica Parsons

          Impossible to quantify the damage done in either case, but you obviously know which one you prefer without any evidence. A school near us was assigned a commissioner and is now a high-performing school according to the ERO.

          No charter school supporters here have any better answers than poor David Seymour did at the panel.

          • English Breakfast

            Answers to what? To what happens when a school fails? I’ll tell you what happens, it fails. And whether it is a Charter School or not the kids find another school and life goes on. Kids are resilient. And with their own money on the line, the operators of Charter and private schools are a lot less likely to let their schools fail.

            • McFlock

              “Kids are resilient.”
              That’s the optimistic phrase people repeat hopefull when kids are seriously injured. Used it myself when comforting folks.

              Best not injure them in the first place, because the unspoken truth is that not every kid is as resilient as all that.

              • English Breakfast

                I agree. But public schools fail, so I’m just being realistic.

                • McFlock

                  not at a rate of 20%

                  • English Breakfast

                    Nor do Charter Schools.

                    • McFlock

                      the MoE thinks otherwise, so far.

                    • English Breakfast

                      No, they don’t. They have given the school an ultimatum. That’s accountability, something opponents of Charter Schools claim doesn’t exist. You’re being proven wrong again.

                    • lprent []

                      You mean that they are going to close the school with all of the sunk startup costs and lose most of it. Good taxpayers money for someone.

                      Rather than what would happen in a public school where the MinEd would appoint someone to run the school and get it on their feet.

                      Man that new charter school system sound efficient! An efficient way to allow someone to rort money from taxpayers without any real way to account for it. That was the actual objection – not this fantasy one you just made up.

                    • McFlock


                      You don’t give people an ultimatum if they’re doing a good job.

                      And to be doing so badly when they’re not even held to the same requirements as other schools makes it even more damning.

                      by the way, did you just say that I was being proven wrong because of how you paraphrased what other people have said? [slow clap]

                    • English Breakfast

                      “You mean that they are going to close the school with all of the sunk startup costs and lose most of it. Good taxpayers money for someone.

                      Rather than what would happen in a public school where the MinEd would appoint someone to run the school and get it on their feet.”

                      Actually no-one knows what will happen yet. But thanks for admitting that public schools get extra support to stay open. Charter Schools fall and rise on their own merits. That’s true accountability.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              with their own money on the line, the operators of Charter and private schools are a lot less likely to let their schools fail.

              Dogma based prediction already proven wrong: 20% failure rate so far for Charter schools and private schools getting bailed out by the taxpayer.

              • English Breakfast

                No Charter School has ‘failed’. One is in trouble, as are many public schools. And how many private schools have been bailed out? Wanganui Collegiate? Who else?

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Are you completely and utterly ignorant of this topic much.

                  Registered private schools receive govt. funds.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          No. That’s why there’s an ERO: because no-one apart from your strawman is “fine with it”.

          Your strawman is evidence of something. Can you guess what that is?

    • English Breakfast 21.2

      Well said. Opposition to Charter Schools is rooted in a deep desire to control, and a fear of parents actually enjoying and exercising choice. It is irrational, and before long will be seen for the nonsense that it is.

      • repateet 21.2.1

        Saying “Charter Schools are a progressive innovation”, parents “exercising choice” as if that were important, then using ‘irrational” poses other questions.

        Why has the State system become more and more compliance driven from Wellington, and schools, managed by parents, given less and less choice about doing it their own local ways?

        If Parata and her former colleague who rabbited on about innovation and freedom (John Banks) were so concerned about those things, why did they pursue tighter strait jacketing of schools?

        • English Breakfast

          “Why has the State system become more and more compliance driven from Wellington, and schools, managed by parents, given less and less choice about doing it their own local ways?”


          • Sacha

            Notional standards, for one.

            • English Breakfast

              Are you seriously suggesting that providing parents with a national benchmark for how their child is performing is a ‘bad’ thing?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Yes. It’s a shit policy that damages education. Oh, and it doesn’t matter how many times you claim it’s a national benchmark: it’s neither.

                Still waiting for the place on Earth where your lies came true.

                • English Breakfast

                  So telling parents how their children are performing is a shit policy in your world? Gee, let’s not get the parents involved eh?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Listen to the sound of the goalposts move – first the wingnut gimp says choice is good, then the wingnut gimp says teach to the test.

                Mutually exclusive lies.

              • Sacha

                As farmers have known for centuries, constantly weighing the pig distracts from feeding it. ‘Teaching to the test’ has been analysed plenty overseas. Not pretty.

                • English Breakfast

                  Bollocks. Educational assessment to standards is as old as education itself. The standards are simply being applied across a larger population. No different than when the same test is sat by all applicants for the same job, all scholarship students, all applicants to medical school. I want to know how my kids are going against a standard, a national standard. It is only failed teachers who object.

                  • Sacha

                    Yes, all those people around the world who have reported the failure of teaching to the test are less smart than you.

                    • English Breakfast

                      All teaching is ‘teaching to the test’, otherwise there would no assessment at all. You’re simply being fooled by self serving pedagogy that has no educational interest beyond teachers self interest and self preservation.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      All you need now is a place on Earth where your lies came true.

                    • English Breakfast

                      Did you go to school in NZ? If so, I rest my case.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      All teaching is ‘teaching to the test’, otherwise there would no assessment at all.

                      Hey wingnut, it’s time for your reality check.

                      Students in Finland sit no mandatory exams until the age of 17-19. Teacher based assessments are used by schools to monitor progress and these are not graded, scored or compared…

                    • English Breakfast

                      Note the words ‘mandatory’ and ‘exams’. Finland measures it’s student performance. That’s called teaching to the test, whether you understand this or not.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Whoosh! Watch those goalposts move.

                      How much standardised testing do they do?

                      Unless you’ve given up attempting to support notional standards, that is. In which case say so instead of pretending it’s the same thing as “not graded, scored or compared”.

                      Perhaps you need to learn English as well as Physics.

      • tricledrown 21.2.2

        Charter schools are a mechanism to break up the teachers union.
        Nothing more as all Charter schools have failed to meet there obligations so far.
        Costing 4 to 10 × more per pupil any fundamentalist f/wit right whinger would be up in arms about taxpayers money being wasted on a vanity project.Just about all Charter schools world wide have been an abject failure.
        Even the socold more successful one’s have relyied on cherry picking students and wrote learning to preprepared exam’s!
        When pupil’s move from secondry Charter schools to tertiary they have a very high dropout and failure rate!

        • English Breakfast

          “Costing 4 to 10 × more per pupil…”

          No, wrong.

          “Just about all Charter schools world wide have been an abject failure.”

          Wrong. Again. http://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2015/01/11/charter-success/

          “Charter schools are a mechanism to break up the teachers union.”

          Oh I do hope so.

          • tricledrown

            Forbes magazine right wing stockmarket funded.
            Many studies done on US Charter school show while children graduate high school.those children dropout of tertiary education at an alarming rate of 75% because they can’t think for themselves because of the wrote learning techniques used to help those students obtain pass marks.
            Ministery of education figures show the cheapest Charter school in NZ is 4 times dearer per pupil.
            This Northland School has only 1/4 of the pupils its funded for so that makes it 16× Dearer so I was wrong.
            This Northland School will have to close in 28 days.
            All of the Charter schools have failed to meet their obligations on enrolments.
            They all are having problems with extremely high staff turnover.
            Abject failure.
            Wasting Taxpayers money.

            • English Breakfast

              Have you been following the discussion? The funding to Charter Schools in their first year includes establishment funding. Charter Schools cost no more to run than do state schools. Also the Forbes cites quote third party reserach here http://www.mathematica-mpr.com/~/media/publications/PDFs/education/charter_long-term_wp.pdf and here http://credo.stanford.edu/documents/NCSS%202013%20Final%20Draft.pdf

              Here’s an extract:

              {While overall charters and public schools compare relatively closely, both the 2009 and 2013 study found that charters did better for students in poverty. In addition, performance gap is growing over time:

              Charter school impacts with students in poverty and English language learners were positive in 2009 in both reading and math. These positive results have sustained and in fact increased in 2013.

              And the results are especially strong for black students in poverty. As the CREDO study reports:

              “Black students in poverty who attend charter schools gain an additional 29 days of learning in reading and 36 days in math per year over their [traditional public school] counterparts (see Figure 30). This shows the impact of charter schooling is especially beneficial for black students who in poverty.”}

              Let’s have more!

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                And there it is: the wingnut can’t admit that household income is the largest single factor in education outcomes. So off we go on this self-serving lie-powered farce.

                The crimes act needs some clarity on what exactly constitutes an immediate threat to children.

  22. Sole ACT MP David Seymour presented on charter schools, sorry, ACT’s education policy, to a panel of educators last year.

    Apparently, all the problems everywhere can be solved with charter schools, because if a child isn’t doing well at one school you can just choose another school.

    I pointed out that having a child be so unhappy with a school that you move is actually a traumatic, inconvenient, and usually expensive experience for the whole family…and of course, sometimes impossible, depending on your family circumstances. (Yes, privilege.)

    He admitted he had been moved between schools and it “was a terrible thing for child and parent.” But that didn’t stop him from his keen support of a system whose checks and balances require voting with your feet, or your child’s.

    Charter schools would just be a way to give people with lots of choice already (like me), even more choice.

    • English Breakfast 22.1


      • repateet 22.1.1

        Choice is bad! You have identified the desire to control yourself. Think the compliance I have mentioned. Think Hekia Parata. Think control. Think, don’t give parents choice but then try to con them that they’ve got the ultimate choice.

      • Sorry, I thought it was clear. People like me already have lots of choice and don’t need more help. The people who really need help will not be helped by the “choice” of charter schools, because they are usually far more trapped in their jobs/homes/families and can’t just flit here and there to find the perfect school.

        • music4menz

          What a patronising view. You want to remove the right to choice because in your view people who struggle can’t actually exercise that choice. Who are you to make such decisions for others?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Yeah, that’s totes what Jessica said.

            No, wait, this just in: your lies are showing. Way to go, Wormtongue.

          • One Anonymous Bloke


            Dimwit fails at reality check, cites press release.

            • English Breakfast

              Well it’s a bit early for any research, eh! But the kids have a great story to tell, don’t they? Of course for you, this isn’t about the kids, it isn’t about parental choice, it is about protecting a failed ideology that says the state does everything better. The world has moved on from the collapse of the Soviet Union. It’s time you did to.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Yawn. More lame lies.

                The best schools in the world are in Finland, you monumental ignoramus. Our schools used to be able to compete with them.

                • English Breakfast

                  Says you. And are you suggesting Finland has no student assessment? Read and learn my friend.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    It produces the best students in the world and has no standardised testing of the sort that has failed and failed and failed everywhere on the Planet, like every single one of your other witless conceits.

                    Every. Single. One. From education to economics and all points in between you people demonstrate your incompetence over and over and over again.

                    That’s why you enjoy 0% support in the polls: people can spot a loser.

  23. millsy 23

    Supporters of charter schools are just opposed to the state owning and operating schools. That’s all there is to it.

    Otherwise they would pull their heads out of Ayn Rand’s arse and realise that this every school of this country, effectively is a charter school and has been since 1989. Strictly speaking.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 23.1

      Not just that: they seek an avenue to reproduce their worldview without scrutiny, and the worst of them are simply sadists looking for victims.

    • English Breakfast 23.2

      Rubbish. I am a supporter of a mixed model for education, involving state and private sector involvement. It’s a great model that has worked in education for decades. Charter Schools are simply the latest successful variant.

    • Chaz 23.3


      When this Northland schools deservedly goes tits up every single teacher in it will be fired.

      When is the last time you saw a teacher in a state school fired for incompetence?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 23.3.1

        How many teachers were deregistered last year, and why? No doubt you have this figure to hand, since you’re so convinced that your spoon-fed ‘opinion’ is true.

        Come on, put up or shut up. Or are you just a witless dupe who parrots right wing bullshit.

        It’s the latter, isn’t it. Polly wanna cracker?

        • Chaz

          One thing I have noticed about many on the left is their ability to exceed the speed of light to reach personal attack mode when they are confronted by someone who disagrees with them. Shows Einstein wasn’t right about everything. if i wanted to get personal in return I could mention that his strength was not the study of extremely small objects hence the mentality of the average left winger was better left to experts in quantum mechanics.

          Careful study of my post will inform readers that I am talking about teachers being fired for incompetence – indeed those were the exact words used, indisputable evidence in my view.

          I’m preeety sure that incompetence is not a substantive cause for deregistration but it does illustrate my point; Practically the only way to get rid of a teacher is if they behave so egregiously they are deregistered, otherwise they are rock solid protected no matter how bad they are.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            “Pretty sure”.

            No, you aren’t – you don’t have the first idea. You have no idea how professional development works, or the standards teachers are required to meet. I assumed you hadn’t checked the statistics and you just confirmed it for me.

            Is it even your opinion? I think you’re just repeating the stuff other right wingers say.

            PS: if you don’t like hostility how about you stop attacking children with destructive lies about schools?

          • English Breakfast

            Oh don;t worry about OAB..he hasn’t demonstrated a solid grasp of reality in any post I’ve seen, and I don;t expect that begin any time soon.

  24. Sacha 24

    John Minto notes that Parata has confirmed none of the current 9 charter schools have any disabled students receiving support funding. Not one student, despite trumpeting how this model would serve disabled students well.

    • English Breakfast 24.1

      Actually that’s not what John said. What he actually claimed was “Charter schools scandal – no special needs children enrolled”.

      He’s being deliberately disingenuous. There are special needs kids enrolled at Charter schools, just none as yet qualify for ORRS funding.

      • Sacha 24.1.1

        Plausible. Do you have a link to back that up?

        • English Breakfast

          “Of the 110 students, 93 per cent come from the Government’s “priority learners” group. Eighty one per cent of the students are Maori or Pacific Islander. ”


          • Psycho Milt

            Being a Maori or Pacific Islander makes you “special needs” these days? Who knew?

            • Chaz

              Yep . When Labour was in power they called it “closing the gaps” until they lost their balls somewhere between a certain court of appeal ruling and a subsequent confiscation by them of the foreshore and seabed, whereupon the initiative was abandoned.

            • English Breakfast

              ‘Priority leaners’.

          • Sacha

            “Targeted at the Government’s priority groups: Maori, Pasifika, learners from low socio-economic backgrounds or with special education needs, charter schools claim they are already showing achievement and engagement benefits. ”

            Nothing in that article to actually show they’re including any disabled students though, is there? Some good stories about the others, which shows what a difference extra funding and attention can make. The education sector persists in calling disabled students “special needs”. I wish they wouldn’t.

            • English Breakfast

              Disabled and special needs can mean very different things. A wheel chair bound child is disabled, but may have no special needs as far as education is concerned. A dyslexic child is not disabled, but most certainly may have special education needs.

              • Sacha

                One of you and me is a disability specialist.
                Oh, not you?

                • One Anonymous Bloke



                • English Breakfast

                  Then you should know this stuff, eh? I have a special needs son, but he isn’t disabled. Do I really need to spell this out to you?

                  • Sacha

                    As explained, the education sector sucks at applying the terminology the rest of public agencies have recognised for many years now. Disabilty includes a wide range of impairments including dyslexia, autism, mental illness, etc.

                    Parents and teachers may prefer calling children ‘special’ but that term certainly does not include ethnic groups as you have claimed.

      • Sacha 24.1.2

        Minto writes: “not a single child who would qualify for ORRS funding (special targeted funding for children with special needs) is enrolled in any of the nine charter schools so far established.” Note the ‘would’.

        • English Breakfast

          Yes, and Minto also headed his article with “Charter schools scandal – no special needs children enrolled” which is just a little dishonest when he is referring to ORRS funding.

          • Sacha

            But you still have not provided any evidence to show he is wrong. How do you know there are disabled students enrolled, by the way?

            • English Breakfast

              I didn’t say ‘disabled’, and nor did Minto and nor did Delahunty. The term is special needs, which in an education setting means children with a whole raft of learning and behavioural difficulties, including the kids cited in my example.

              • Sacha

                Disability means more than you think it does. There is nothing ‘special’ about the needs that disabled students have. They’re quite normal, like anyone else’s needs. The education sector needs a kick up the jacksie.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Trash hasn’t finished kicking it in the head yet: gotta get education standards into line with National Party values.

                • English Breakfast

                  “There is nothing ‘special’ about the needs that disabled students have.”

                  Gosh, isn;t that exactly what I said?
                  “A wheel chair bound child is disabled, but may have no special needs as far as education is concerned. “

              • Sacha

                “Learning and behavioural diffculties” = disability = ‘special needs’. Being Maori or Pasifika does not mean that, even in education circles. That’s why the article is clear about calling them priority populations instead.

                • English Breakfast

                  You are conflating several terms, and frankly I am astonished at your ignorance. But the bigger issue is this…I didn’t claim Maori and Pasifika, a s a group, had special needs. Read the cite.

      • McFlock 24.1.3

        OK, I’ll bite:
        1) How many kids overall qualify for ORRS funding, as a percentage of students?

        2) Now, how many students are enrolled in charter schools?

        3) finally, how many ORRS-eligible students are enrolled in charter schools?

        • Sacha

          Great questions.

        • English Breakfast

          1) How many kids overall qualify for ORRS funding, as a percentage of students?

          “About 7000 students receive this assistance at any one time.”

          In 2014, there were 767,258 student enrolled at schools in NZ.

          Result: 1% of all students receive ORRS funding.

          2) Now, how many students are enrolled in charter schools?
          “The five publicly funded charter – or partnership – schools had enrolled nearly 360 children by the middle of the year and expect to grow to 550 next year.”

          3) finally, how many ORRS-eligible students are enrolled in charter schools?
          0. 1% would be 3.6 children in 2014.

          Summary…the obsession with ORRS funding as a measurement is totally misplaced. Charter Schools are accepting children with a wide range of special educational needs, as testified by their early successes with kids who were already off the rails. Not only that, but he ORRS funding in the general population is such a small % that it provides no meaningful benchmark.

          I suspect you will be more than a little surprised!

          • McFlock

            Lol, you fudged number 3.

            Not “would be”, how many actually are?

            After all, semantics aside, that is actually Minto’s basic point: charter schools (one of the first five of which is failing) might well be cherry-picking their students and still be performing unacceptably.

            • English Breakfast

              You didn’t read my answer. I said 0. Then I gave a calculation of what the equivalent of the non-Charter school proportion would be. Three of the four Charter schools are performing very well. There is no evidence the Charter Schools are cherry picking. My data shows that the proportion of students on ORRS funding in the general school population is so small as to be statistically irrelevant as a measurement.

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