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Charter schools paid ideology bonuses

Written By: - Date published: 7:15 am, February 29th, 2016 - 30 comments
Categories: accountability, education, schools - Tags: , , ,

Charter schools have it pretty good – Charter schools given $60k in performance payments despite contract issues.

Four charter schools were awarded $60,000 in performance payments last year, despite only one of them fully meeting the terms of their contracts.

Since they didn’t meet their targets they’re being paid an ideology bonus (charter schools good!) not a performance bonus.

The Labour Party says the decision “defeats the purpose” of the contracts, and underlines the disparities between the well-funded charter schools and their struggling state equivalents.

Exactly. More in Labour’s press release – Bonuses for charter schools, deficits for state schools.

Fortunately David Seymour is here to clear all this up.

ACT leader David Seymour says critics of charter school funding “need to see the forest for the trees”.

Makes as much sense as anything else he says.

30 comments on “Charter schools paid ideology bonuses”

  1. Incognito 1

    Those ‘performance targets’ are aspirational, obviously, so it’s all good to pay those bonuses. As a gullible tax-payer I’m good with it.

    As to Seymour’s forest & trees comment, it is crystal clear (100% pure) that he’s been brain washed to recite the new green ACT mantra.

    A Q for Seymour: if a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound?

    Hint: it’s roughly the same sound that ACT makes in NZ politics – about 0.3% of the sound of a farting fly.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    So, one rule for Relationships Aotearoa, another rule for National’s pet Libertarian.

    People receiving cash they’re not entitled to in an obvious display of corruption. Looks like a good case can be made for retrospective legislation to address the problem.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      People receiving cash they’re not entitled to in an obvious display of corruption. Looks like a good case can be made for retrospective legislation to address the problem.


      • AmaKiwi 2.1.1

        What does Chris Hipkins have to say?

        “Blah, blah, blah” because whatever he said was not forceful enough to make the news.

        Labour caucus, learn from Donald Trump. People are angry. If you don’t express that anger I’ll be damned if I’ll get off my ass and campaign for you. If you Labour MPs can’t work up some rage, read The Standard and steal a few lines from us.

        A bloody hopeless excuse for an opposition party.

        • Draco T Bastard

          If you Labour MPs can’t work up some rage, read The Standard and steal a few lines from us.

          As I understand it a lot of Labour MPs really, really hate us Lefties here at The Standard. Possibly has something to do with us showing up how they’re not doing their jobs.

          • Lara


            Doesn’t surprise me.

            Labour aren’t left. Haven’t been since 1984.

            I think the sooner the left drops Labour and sees them for what they really are, National Lite, the better we shall all be.

            Plenty of other options on the left to vote for. Greens and Mana spring to mind.

  3. lprent 3

    Makes as much sense as anything else he says.

    I was thinking exactly that the other day when David Seymour said about the disappearing webpage on their environmental policy…

    Reached by telephone on Saturday morning, Seymour did not confirm or deny the deletion of the policy.

    “The thing about websites is that you can always say that something was or wasn’t on a website at some point in the past,” he said.

    “It’s the easiest thing in the world to claim and impossible to prove.”

    Yeah right. Now that is just idiotic. Obviously the munter needs to learn something about net resources like the Wayback Engine. I haven’t bothered to have a look, but since the site was collected on Feb 10, I suspect even a single link would show that idiotic PDF written by the scientific illiterates of ACT still attached to their site. Then there is google cache, and all of those damn crawlers.

    The BSc I earned decades ago in earth sciences doesn’t really qualify me to understand the braincell that produced Seymour’s statement…

    Seymour said the party had never denied the existence of climate change. He described himself as a “lukewarmer.”

    “I believe it is real, and a portion of it is manmade, but I question the extent to which it is dangerous,” he said.

    “Since the industrial revolution we’ve increased the concentration of C02 by about 100 part per million. No question about that.”

    FFS: Is this idiot completely illiterate? Wikipedia has a nice summary of the relevant facts which disagree considerably. When you are reading this, then remember that for the last billion years that natural changes in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 account for almost all changes in average earth atmospheric temperatures. In particular big swings in CO2 levels for different reasons mark the mass extinctions of the Devonian and the Permian periods.

    Seymour’s numbers are way out for ppm, and he carefully neglects that even a 100ppm is a massive increase in CO2 in terms of long-term effects on climate.

    Carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is a trace gas, currently (early 2016) having an average concentration of 402 parts per million by volume[3] (or 611 parts per million by mass).


    Combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation have caused the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide to increase by about 43% since the beginning of the age of industrialization.[46] Most carbon dioxide from human activities is released from burning coal and other fossil fuels. Other human activities, including deforestation, biomass burning, and cement production also produce carbon dioxide. Volcanoes emit between 0.2 and 0.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, while human activities emit about 29 billion tons.[47]

    Now I’d explain why this affects the viability of species like us at the top of the food chain. But based on their performances here, I suspect that ACToids are too poorly educated to be able to understand the explanation. Besides which they appear to be far too in love with faith in ridiculous theories built from analogies and personality cults to be able to use their brains. After all the munter apparently has an engineering degree. But I guess the curiosity to use his brain was extracted earlier by his Auckland Grammer education.

    David Seymour’s views on charter schools are of the same quality as their views on computer storage and his ability to understand pretty basic science.

    But hey – most ACToids through one of the earlier variants of charter schools called ‘private schools’ or one of a handful of public schools that act like them (Auckland Grammer being one of them). They are slightly less sponging on tax payers than charter schools – but to me they appear to be just as addicted to living in a weird coprophagy on taxpayers of proclaiming their independence and self-reliance while being totally dependent on excessive taxpayer handouts.

    As far as I can tell they appear to be where the really stupid scions of the well off go to be really badly educated enough so they can join the ACT party and not feel out of place.

    In the interests of disclosure, 45 years ago I went to Mt Albert Grammer which seems to be getting just as bad as AGS these days at chasing taxpayer scat.

    • tinfoilhat 3.1

      Having relieved at both Auckland Grammar and Mt Albert I can confidently say that both schools provide an excellent education and have extremely good teaching staff.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1

        Do any of them do a lot of crack and write turgid unreadable novels? I suspect Lprent may be looking in the wrong place…

      • lprent 3.1.2

        They were and probably are excellent schools. But Mt Albert in the 1970s was great not because of the teaching, but because of the local kids with its community mix of everything from first gen immigrants and migrants to Auckland through to families who’d lived there since it was farmland.

        I was referring more to the rather extreme self-selection of the parents who even then would move into the Auckland Grammer zone or would send their kids to private schools. My impression then and now is that schools like Kings and Auckland Grammer are rather successful mainly at producing adults with a sense of unearned self-entitlement and a rapacious amorality hidden lightly below a veneer of affability. Cameron Slater being a good example.

        David Seymour looks like being another example.

        • tinfoilhat

          Perhaps a visit to the schools in question might give you a less one eyed view.

          I’ve not taught at Kings but the students at grammar are a mix of personalities much the same as any other school, certainly there are probably a far larger proportion of asian students than there were in the 1970s but I haven’t seen any great “unearned self-entitlement and a rapacious amorality hidden lightly below a veneer of affability” amongst them.

          • lprent

            I don’t see them as students. I see them in the workplace. The best way to see those traits is to look at them 10-20 years after they leave those institutions.

            The ones who fail to live up to their own (or their family) expectations are pretty remarkable for the degree that they can find someone else to blame. I find that the worst and nastiest cases of the blame someone else syndrome seem to come from good schools.

            As I said, there is no better example than Cameron Slater and some of the whining idiots who congregate around him.

      • repateet 3.1.3

        Impossible, surely?
        Some of their staff must be union members which automatically means they are useless. Well according to the prevailing yobbo lack of wisdom on Kiwiblog and WO.

        • tinfoilhat

          Most of the teaching staff at Mt Albert and Auckland grammar are union members as are most of the staff at Auckland’s few charter schools as far as I know.

    • aerobubble 3.2

      So you are saying that over time the global biosphere collapses unable to adapt fast enough, what, due to adherance to a tighten of practices that were rewarded in the short term, leaving them comfortably unaware of the pending doom. Wow. So what did Gaia do next, evolve a species capable of adapting even faster? Where are they, coz all i see is dupes like Seymour who spout simplestic tighten practices that reward them in the short term ignoring massive change caused by them. Like the dinosaurs forcing an asteroid to strike the planet in order to prove they are the smartest geniuses yet at how joyfully ignorant they are of everything. Is that why a spoilt entitled brat who inherited a fortune, successfully running away to the modern equilivant of a circus (reality tv), will likely become the next President. We should not do anything because the magical free market will deliver us from risk, because we are all rational beings, and i’m comfortable with that, even comforted by that, and we can’t afford it , oh and pass the tax cut crimped from cuts in risk planning, mitigation and management. oh the joys of being a member of the smartes stupidest species ever.

  4. paaparakauta 4


  5. joe90 5

    Fuck up, get paid.

    The Crown will enter formal negotiations with a failed Northland charter school over its remaining assets despite a prior agreement in which the school’s trust agreed to reimburse the Crown in exchange for one last chance.


    She then set conditions the trust had to agree with if the school remained open. One condition was: “In the event of termination, realise the value of the land and chattels to reimburse the Crown for as much of the funds invested as possible.”


    • Bill 5.1

      The first comment below that piece claims to be from a parent who sent their child to that school saying that the land was gifted by a private landowner. Something about freely given land being cashed up by government not sitting quite right with me.

      • Andre 5.1.1

        I’m pretty sure the farmland the school was set up on was bought for $800,000 using “establishment” funds from the government.

        It shouldn’t take much searching to dig that up again, there was a big discussion here on the Standard a month or so ago.

  6. Steve Withers 6

    Charter schools are a disgraceful abuse of public funds. Taxpayer money to fund special interests…and undermine teacher unions.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Exactly what they were set up to be.

      • greywarshark 6.1.1

        Another time for the Love Canal to be paraded as an example of what can happen when government delegates its responsibilities and businesspeople looking for efficiency and advantage (for them) pick that responsibility up, bag it and file it away under Done Deal.

        DTB put this up

        David Seymour thinks ACT is the environmental party

        Charter Schools and having a flaccid government – if not criminally negligent – can lead to such stupendous outcomes as in the above USA case, that it makes sending rockets to Mars and planning a colony there seem acceptable and rational.

  7. Bill 7

    So if $60 000 is 1% of ‘expected’ payment, we’re looking at $6 million spread over 4 schools in one year, or $1.5 million per school in “operational payments”.

    Question 1. What exactly do “operational payments” cover?

    Question 2. (Depending on the answer to the first question) Isn’t $1.5 million a hell of a lot of money for “operational” costs?


    Vanguard (one of the schools that missed its targets) had 108 students in 2014 and 9 teaching staff. Some of those teaching staff were getting paid $16 000 per annum more than they got when teaching at a state school.

    Funding per pupil at Vanguard was just under $20 000 in 2014 compared to $7 000 in state schools. Now, apparently the disparity is false because the likes of Vanguard may have very many more pupils in the future…but enrollment was the target they just missed, innit?

    • NZJester 7.1

      Well a large part of the operational costs I’m told is to pay a dividend to those who are initial investors in the charter school.
      Charter schools need more money to run due to all those money leaches legally sucking out all the extra money into their personal bank accounts. The school part most likely gets less funds to spend on the education and teaching staff part of the school than most state schools after that money drain from its coffers. That is what will be causing a lot of them to fail.

      • Bill 7.1.1

        Not buying that line. If dividends were paid from funds (operational costs) before a profit was spun, when what’s the point of spinning a profit?

    • I did a quick check of schools in the Wellington Central region. I counted 16. According to the ministry, they funded schools in Wellington Central for about $13 million.

      So yes, $1.5 million sounds above the level they are funding other schools for. This may be because the charter schools are secondary schools, and the difference is due to the primary schools in the region. There are 7 schools that do either primary or intermediate years only, one that goes from the beginning of primary years to the end of secondary years, and 8 that do secondary only in that region. If we say that primary-only costs half of a secondary school and adjust on that basis, the govt is still only paying 1 million per effective secondary school to Wellington Central schools.

  8. If Seymour thought these issues were minor, why did he and the Govt put them in the contractual requirements? If they’re not actually necessary to making the bonus decision, they should have been left out of the criteria, and he should have amended said criteria in advance rather than decide to pay the bonus anyway.

    This is just more favouritism to charter schools with ad-hoc reasoning.

  9. whateva next? 9

    Something to do with grinding down all state services and then saying corporate people can do it better……except they can’t. Like Aged Care being run by the corporates, and staff being utterly miserable, but are trapped, how can they deliver quality care when they are treated like robots?
    Ultimately this government don’t want to be responsible for ANYTHING, and believe they can just throw (our) money at everything to avoid getting their hands dirty, but we pay them and give them power…to do what. They even have auditors to audit the auditors, how much does that cost? FFS. Biggest bludgers of the lot.

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