LB: Rich Schools, Poor Schools

Written By: - Date published: 3:33 pm, February 14th, 2014 - 6 comments
Categories: education, schools - Tags: ,

Local bodies makes points about the changes in the school system over the years. The nett effect over decades has been to force the inter-generational inequality that a good school system is meant to prevent. The type of school system that this government favours appears to be designed to remove the opportunities for those whose parents aren’t lucky. Time to start again?

I am a strong advocate for public schools and the philosophy behind quality public education. It should be a basic right of any child, in any affluent first world country, to have ready access to a good education, no matter their social economic status or culture. All public schools should be funded equitably so that, as much as possible, a child’s local school can be expected to deliver teaching and learning of a high standard.

When I started teaching in 1980 the system wasn’t perfect but there was little noticeable difference between schools in resourcing and professional support. We had inspectors and advisors who had a good idea of the needs of individual schools and took a fairly paternalistic approach to ensuring their support went where it was needed most. I also remember a clear career pathway where one was expected to build experience in different roles before taking on leadership positions. Beginning teachers were not employed in small rural schools, for example, because it was recognised that they needed the professional guidance provided by larger teaching communities. In two or three teacher schools, where children would have the same teacher for several years, they needed experienced professionals in those jobs.

The sense of equitability has largely left education now and we appear to have abandoned the idea that all schools should be supported in a similar way. We now have winners and losers. Private schools now capture a much greater level of public funding despite the fact they teach a small minority of our students. Private Secondary Schools also grab a greater share of special needs funding because low decile parents cannot afford the assessments to access the support. Small private schools are saved with public money, at great expense, while similar sized state schools are closed.

While the Government claims parents now have choice, this isn’t actually true in reality. Despite the fact that schools can’t impose fees, most high decile schools now expect large donations that are beyond struggling families and those who can’t pay them can be publicly shamed. Struggling parents are having their children excluded from some schools because it is too embarrassing to be not able to pay the ‘donation’. Even in the public system we have ‘rich’ schools and ‘poor’ schools and despite the decile weighting that provides greater funding for lower deciles there can be as much as $1,000 a year difference in available funds per pupil between high and low decile schools.

Into this mix we have the new Charter (or Partnership) Schools where the concept of a level playing field has again been thrown out the window. These schools are being funded at a rate well above a similar sized public schools and teachers are being grabbed from previous positions with the attraction of much higher salaries. It will be hardly fair to compare the success of the Charter Schools against the public schools when the level of public funding per student can be around $3500 greater. What is even more obscene is that the Charter schools don’t even have to use the state funding for educational purposes and can filter some off for profit or other purposes.

The Government’s latest plan to pay some principals and teachers much higher salaries, based partly on their National Standards results, will likely destroy what little collegiately is left in the profession. Teachers and principals will be pitted against each other for an increase in salary of up to $50,000 and the temptation to fudge results and narrow teaching to access the money will be strong. This is the experience of other education systems using similar policies.

The once level playing field for New Zealand schools is but a memory and for many school communities it is like playing up hill into a strong wind with no half time or change of sides possible (and the score difference is growing rapidly).

6 comments on “LB: Rich Schools, Poor Schools”

  1. ianmac 1

    Since politicians started used education to win points we have lost the innovative world leading reputation that once we had. We are poorly funded on the World comparisons but in spite of this we were world leaders. Innovations occurred by ideas being tested and developed from the classrooms upwards. Via the Inspectorate good ideas were expanded and exchanged.
    But now politicians believe that if they impose a business model that schools will improve and they will claim progress. This top down imposition diminishes the previous innovative cooperative model. Sadly the insanity of the Competitive model destroys that which made us famous around the world. By the time this is recognised, Key, Parata, Joyce and Tolley will be long gone. Sigh!

  2. Bill 2

    I guess in a western world where the poor have been discarded (all that ‘off-shoring’) in preference of profit, then there is little need to have a generally well educated population. But what to do with ‘the discards’? Why! Make profit from them through a privatised education system!

    At least then, in the eyes of the money grabbers, discards continue to make a contribution, aye?

    • Murray Olsen 2.1

      And once they’ve made profits for private education, they can move on to private prisons. Wonderful world these pricks have made for us. And, collectively, we have let them.

      • bad12 2.1.1

        Murray, in between attending the private profit making schools and being incarcerated in the private profit making prisons the target demographic, the children of the bottom 20% of the economic equation will provide further profit to the privateers having inserted themselves in to the welfare system where such privateers will be paid ten times the amount a beneficiary is able to wrest from the State to ‘mentor’ them into unstable employment situations run by other private profiteers receiving Government subsidies for employing such people,

        The Tory tangled web, they cannot be seen to openly destroy the welfare state so they will simply suck it dry from within…

  3. Chooky 3

    +1000 great post!

    there needs to be a revolution in education back to the free, egalitarian, high quality, secular, state education system that was first established in New Zealand in the 1800s……and an education system which once led the world, as Finland does today.

    Lets hope the Left parties jump up and down and make a meal out of this one ….

  4. tricledrown 4

    Partnehipship schools in the UK and Charter schools in the US have been a failure.
    Wrote learnining for passing exams make their stats look good.
    But when these children leave shool and Go on to tertiary education they fail because they may be able to pass exams but they can’t think for themselves.
    IThat is how the right wing behaves so they can’t see this as a problem.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • All Kiwis to have same standard of cancer care
    Labour is promising that all New Zealanders will have access to the same level of cancer care no matter where they live in the country, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “As someone who has survived cancer I ...
    13 hours ago
  • Infrastructure announcement too long coming
    “What took you so long?” is Labour’s response to the Government’s announcement of a new infrastructure investment vehicle. Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says Labour announced its policy in 2015 to debt-finance infrastructure and service that debt with targeted ...
    13 hours ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    National has no idea how to house the record number of people entering New Zealand, let alone cope with the pressure on health, education, and transport from this record population growth, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour to invest $4 billion in education
    Labour’s Education Manifesto will bring positive change across the education sector and is backed by a massive investment, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Labour’s plan will see an extra $4 billion invested over the next four years. It’s organised ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s shame: worst homelessness in the OECD
    National’s legacy is a housing crisis that has given New Zealand the worst homeless rate in the developed world, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour taking action on school donations
    Labour will end so-called voluntary school donations for the majority of parents across the country under its $4 billion plan to revitalise the education sector, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour has always been committed to a world-class free education ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour to work with Queenstown to build more houses
    Labour will work with Queenstown-Lakes District Council, iwi, and the Community Housing Trust to build the modern, affordable housing Queenstown desperately needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    4 days ago
  • Nats blow the Budget on motels after bowling state houses
    National is spending $140,000 a day putting homeless families in motels, the legacy of nine years of selling off and knocking down state houses, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    4 days ago
  • New revelations in Joanne Harrison report
    The State Services Commission’s report into the treatment of whistle-blowers by Joanne Harrison has revealed new accusations against the convicted fraudster, says Labour MP Sue Moroney.  “The report found that four staff inside the Ministry of Transport who had raised ...
    4 days ago
  • Snafu at Princess Margaret
    Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “The Government must accept that Christchurch is still recovering ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour’s fiscal plan to build a fairer New Zealand
    Labour will re-build our housing, health and education while responsibly managing New Zealand’s finances, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “Under Labour’s Fiscal Plan we will deliver big investments in the services we all need and care about, invest ...
    5 days ago
  • Nats show they’re the tax dodgers’ best friends
    The government is taking the knife to IRD at a time when we need a highly skilled department to ensure that multinationals and speculators don’t get away with dodging tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour secures the future for NZ Super
    A Labour Government will secure the future for New Zealand Superannuation so we can continue to provide superannuation to those retiring at age 65, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “One of the first things a Labour-led Government will ...
    5 days ago
  • Multinationals must pay fair share of tax
    A Labour Government will crack down on multinational companies that are dodging paying their fair share of tax, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealanders are missing out by hundreds of millions according to the IRD because multinational companies can ...
    6 days ago
  • ACT’s approach to children backward and ill informed
    Act’s new deputy leader’s claim that Labour’s support for families could “extend the misery of child poverty and even child abuse” is ill informed and offensive, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury hatchet job a disgrace
    The Government’s glib acceptance of advice that the Canterbury District Health Board doesn’t need more money is a hatchet job and a disgrace, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “To claim that the DHB was using tactics to leverage more ...
    1 week ago
  • Quality for Kiwi kids at ECE
    After more than a decade of rapid growth in the number of children participating in Early Childhood Education (ECE), it’s time to take stock and map out a clear plan for the future, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to boost ECE quality
    Labour will ensure kids get the best start in life by boosting funding for Early Childhood Centres to employ 100 per cent qualified and registered teachers, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will stump up a million dollars for Maniototo Hospital
    A Labour led Government will make a million dollars available to rebuild the Maniototo Base hospital in Ranfurly, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “This will be a much needed boost for a long overdue rebuild that has ...
    1 week ago
  • No vision for the West Coast
    The West Coast welcomes any Government investment in our region but the lack of any real alternative vision for the West Coast’s economy is disappointing, says Damien O’Connor Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP.  “The establishment of a Mining Research Unit will ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s youth work scheme too little too late
    After nine years, National’s belated attempt to provide work opportunities for unemployed youth should be seen for what it is, a half-hearted, election gimmick from a party that’s ignored the problem till now, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis won’t fall for Joyce’s spin
    Steven Joyce’s embarrassingly obvious spin on Labour’s Families Package won’t fool anyone, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour prioritises families and public services
    Labour’s Families Package delivers a bigger income boost to more than 70 per cent of families with children than Budget 2017. By not spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts, Labour is able to do more for lower and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis can’t sleep in your ghost houses, Nick
    The Government’s housing infrastructure announcement is another Nick Smith special – over-promising with no detail on delivery, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour helps older New Zealanders and low income families with winter heating bills
    Labour will further boost its commitment to warm, healthy housing with a Winter Energy Payment for superannuitants and people receiving main benefits, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Everyone deserves a warm, healthy home to live in. But that’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must rule out retrospective override for Ruataniwha
    National must categorically rule out using retrospective legislation to override the Supreme Court’s decision that the land swap of conservation land flooded by the proposed Ruataniwha Dam was illegal, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney General David Parker. “Having not got their ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Flavell’s failure a win for Māori landowners
    The Māori Development Minister’s admission that his unpopular Ture Whenua Māori Bill won’t pass into law prior to the election is a victory for Māori landowners, but only a change of government will keep the Bill gone for good, says ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stats confirm growing housing shortfall
    National’s failure to fix the housing shortage has been starkly illustrated by new statistics, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Systemic abuse of kids in state care
    After admitting there was systemic abuse of children in State care the Government must do the right thing and launch an independent inquiry, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Migrant worker exploitation needs sharper focus
    The astonishing number of employers found guilty of exploiting migrants shows that migrant exploitation is a serious problem in New Zealand, says Labour Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “A total of 53 companies have been banned from recruiting ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister faces questions over dam debacle
    Today’s Supreme Court ruling dismissing an appeal to allow a land swap for the controversial Ruataniwha Dam is a victory for our conservation estate and Hawke’s Bay ratepayers, but leaves the Conservation Minister with serious questions to answer, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Too little too late on Wellington housing
    The announcement today on social housing in Wellington by the National Government is a pitiful and cynical election ploy, says Labour’s Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson. “In 2012 Housing New Zealand emptied out the Gordon Wilson Flats, taking 130 places ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Foreign trusts wilt in the sunlight, but more transparency needed
    The fact that the numbers of foreign trusts registered in New Zealand has plummeted after the Government’s belated and reluctant imposition of a new reporting regime, in the wake of the Panama Papers scandal, shows the need for a transparent, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Speech by Grant Robertson: The Future of Work and Labour’s Economic Vision
    At the election in September voters will face a choice between a government led by Andrew Little with a fresh approach to give every New Zealander a fair share in prosperity or the continuation of a tired government, out of ...
    3 weeks ago