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Lining up for charter schools

Written By: - Date published: 10:40 am, May 23rd, 2013 - 34 comments
Categories: accountability, education, religion, schools - Tags: , ,

Charter schools are a bad idea:

Charter schools ‘harmful’ says study
Former director: Introducing charter schools ‘horrendous’
Charter schools a ‘failed experiment in New Orleans’
Charter schools damage students and teachers

To make them even worse, they aren’t going to be subject to the usual checks and balances:

Untrained teachers at charter schools
Charter schools escape scrutiny

The Nats have the gall to foist these unaccountable schools with possibly untrained teachers on the country (the Ministry of Education thinks that’s daft) while simultaneously insisting that the quality of the teachers is the most important factor in education. Hypocrites.

Yesterday the PPTA published a list of organisations that have expressed an interest in running a charter school:

PPTA outs charter school hopefuls

A list of organisations that have expressed interest in running charter schools has been outed, revealing a high proportion of religious groups, including a Manawatu church arguing it has the right to teach creationism using taxpayer money because state schools teach evolution.

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) has defended its decision to print the list in this month’s edition of its members’ magazine, which names 21 organisations that registered interest – almost half of them religious groups – with president Angela Roberts arguing that the process had been shrouded in secrecy. …

However, the PPTA yesterday named organisations including The Sabbath Rest Adventist Church. The church had been interested in the options presented by partnership schools but had decided not to make an application this year while charter schools legislation remained before Parliament, trustee Jill Friar said.

Asked if she thought taxpayer money should be allocated to schools teaching creationism, Mrs Friar responded it was tantamount to funding secular schools to teach evolution.

“Look at the state school system – they teach evolution as if it’s a fact and it’s not a fact. Even scientists say it’s a theory, so what’s the difference at the end of the day? Why should we teach evolution as if it were a fact when there is a theory that is an alternative?” Mrs Friar said.

“It’s education and caring for children that is important – to me that’s what the argument should be all about.”

PPTA president Angela Roberts said taxpayer cash should not go to schools teaching creationism. “They have the right to teach that in their school, of course, but they have no right to do that with money for the public education system.”

Labour education spokesman Chris Hipkins said it was an example of why critics feared the charter school model. “Those are their beliefs – but the state should not be paying for it. Those parents and kids can choose to believe and to receive a religious education. But not to the exclusion of other sciences, and I think in this case that is really inappropriate,” Mr Hipkins said.

See also: ‘Church and state’ defines debate.

Not all of the groups listed have actually applied yet, but the PPTA list gives an indication of the kinds of groups that are interested in starting charter schools, and the kinds of issues that are going to arise. Do we really want scarce state education funding being used to teach creationism?

Final note, check out these videos on charter schools.

AN excellent speech in Parliament by Dr Megan Woods (Labour Wigram):

CHARTER SCHOOLS – things we need to know, by Assocociate Professor Peter O’Connor:

34 comments on “Lining up for charter schools ”

  1. ianmac 1

    Ominous development. Peter O’Connor says it all.
    I have yet to hear just what a NZ Charter School will actually do. I have not heard that question asked.
    What will it not do that State Schools currently do?
    What will it fill the school day up with?
    What will happen to the kids who do not respond?
    And perhaps those parents who work long hours, might welcome a long school day. Baby sitting?

  2. Dv 2

    I saw a Parata comment the other day that charter schools will improve NZEA passes BUT they are not obliged to offer the national Curriculum.

  3. Winston Smith 3

    Good call, gotta protect the teacher unions…

    • Te Reo Putake 3.1

      It’s actually about protecting children (and taxpayers), but then, you knew that already.

      • Winston Smith 3.1.1

        No its about protecting unionists, using kids and scare tactics.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Sorry, do you have a problem with teachers joining unions? Who do you think you are, trying to trample all over their freedoms of speech and assembly? Piss off to North Korea.

        • Colonial Viper

          Unions and union membership is critical for the balance between employers and employees, Winston. Unions should be encouraged and supported.

        • framu

          really? – you of course have evidence of this i expect

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          …scare tactics.

          Really? Funny that, I thought they were using pedagogy and overseas experience from multiple countries. Do you think we should just check to make sure you aren’t a mendacious wretch?

          Yep, I checked, and they’re using pedagogy and overseas examples. You need better lies.

          • McFlock

            Nah. The chap who believes Orwell was only talking about left wing totalitarianism is being straight with us.

            References to educational studies and overseas experience scare the shit out of tories.

            Tories are afraid of references to the real world, what with reality’s known liberal bias 🙂

      • Rob 3.1.2

        Yes we must protect them and ensure that their studies do not drift away from the important issues of being able to pack a bowl of K2.

        • One Anonymous Knucklehead

          Is drivel the best you can do?

          Why is it that no wingnut can use facts or reason to explain why they want the National Party’s clients to run schools? Is it a case of “failed NCEA level 2, join the National Party”? Because that’s what it looks like.

          • Rob

            Maybe if you looked at the way you frame your questions, you might get a more engaged coversation if that is in fact what you are after.

            People who think that charter schools may offer a large percentage of low acheivers and ultimate under qualified leavers an alternative method do not think that it’s all about Nationals clients.

            In regards to evolution debate I am struggling to even recall any more than a few periods on it in the 5th form for School C. The ammount of time devoted to evolution was almost non – existant and in fact I learnt more of it watching David Attenborough “Life on Earth” .

            Also why would you pour scorn on me for failing NCEA 2. Plenty of kids are doing that every year and some us are concerned. You are obviously not because you will just use it to demean them even further.

            • One Anonymous Knucklehead

              Oh, you’re concerned? What is it that’s concerning you? The fact that we’re copying failed right wing education policies from countries with worse education systems than ours, as opposed to successful education policies from countries that do better?

              Or the fact that (despite the excellent work that our teachers do) household income is the largest factor in education outcomes?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 3.2

      Yes Winston, strong teachers’ unions help protect education standards and are well worthy of support, but this is about protecting children from the National Party’s clients.

  4. Tiger Mountain 4

    Let the “Lord” provide for these religious nutters experiments surely, not us secular taxpayers.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      They can allready use their own funds to establish semi private schools, with the government only paying the teachers salaries.

      But , hey throw money at a problem, and the answer is there all along , apparently

  5. tracey 5

    Will they be like Private schools which don’t have to publish results the way Public schools do.

  6. ghostrider888 6

    Give ’em enough rope. Just another step down on the slide into the abyss; Consider the conflicts that will arise in the near future between institutionalised, radicalized, worldview bearers. Another gang-nail in the corpse of democracy, and as Draco concurred some time ago, hopefully in the carcass of capitalism as presently practised.
    One thing about a small country social laboratory, the effects are magnified.

  7. ghostrider888 7

    Furthermore, from the “Church and state, defines debate” link;
    “let the funding of religious studies … be in the context of theology…” – those church leaders that do have a sound theological understanding appear to keep it amongst themselves and not release it to empower the body; those that do not have a sound theological understanding- they are the majority!
    If they teach scripture to adults as “bed-time” stories, then it will be nursery rhymes for the students.

  8. prism 8

    Centrepoint Potter was very interested in girls’ education. Passionate even!

  9. Descendant Of Sssmith 9

    So when the NZ education was set up it was clearly secular and funded from taxation.

    Several private schools set themselves up for fee paying elites and several groups of Christians, predominantly Catholics, set up their own schools rather than have a state funded secular education.

    Both groups consciously opted out of a state funded education system – although some like Wanganui Collegiate still relied on the state to give them their land.

    In the 70’s as religious beliefs started to decline the religious schools were not able to sustain themselves due to both declining rolls and increasing costs. They then started filching funds from the state by becoming “integrated” when in fact they simply should have shut their doors.

    Since 85 as the middle class have slowly vanished due to neoliberal reforms private schools are struggling for enough pupils to fund their fancy schools, their lower to student to teacher ratios and their expensive property and despite the wealthy have more of the countries income than ever they don’t apply the market philosophy they profess to love (stand on your own two feet, if no demand for your service then market forces say shut the business down, reduce taxation esp on the wealthy, user pays) they instead look to also filch from the taxpayer whether via lump sum payments, integration or voucher systems.

    The religious schools have integrated and accessed taxpayers money and benefited by way of student numbers from white flight in the last 15 years or so many parents of such pupils lying about their religious affiliation, still faced declining rolls still don’t want to close and now want unique funding specifically for them. Minority religions also want to jump on the bandwagon.

    Neither of these groups are advocating that increased taxation pay for the schools they set up independently. Quite the contrary they predominantly advocate for less tax and less government.

    This can only get worse if we keep going down this track.

    It’s time we went back to a clear unequivocal govt only funding free secular education and non secular and private education rising or falling on it’s own merits.

    Public schools are closing due to reduced demand in both population size and location and their is no good reason why these independently set up schools shouldn’t do the same.

    What is needed is a no more than 10 year plan to remove state funding from all private and religious schools. No ifs no buts.

    • Populuxe1 9.1

      “Since 85 as the middle class have slowly vanished due to neoliberal reforms private schools are struggling for enough pupils to fund their fancy schools, their lower to student to teacher ratios and their expensive property…”

      Given that the expensive property is actually a big part of what funds the fancy schools, I’m calling bullshit. Kings and Christs seem to be doing just fine.

      • Colonial Viper 9.1.1

        Yes they are…but a bit of extra tax payer funding is pretty handy too.

  10. Descendant Of Sssmith 10


    Collegiate is the most obvious but if you look you’ll easily find evidence that it’s the case.

    • Nordy 10.1

      Yes DoS – a ‘no-brainer’ really…probably why P1 is having real difficulty with it……

      One of the ‘wonderful ironies’ of the hollowmen is that the so-called ‘price signal’ of the market never applies to them (only everyone else), they clearly think that a govt subsidy is OK for them but not for anyone else……pure unadulterated hypocrisy.

      • Descendant Of Sssmith 10.1.1

        And we should also remember that despite being private they do receive government subsidies which are increasing at alarming rate while the state school my kids go to for instance has lost over 100,000 dollars in funding in the last three years.


        2009 2010 2011

        Kings College 1,663,585 2,152,669 2,325,587

        St Cuthbert’s 2,027,070 2,553,203 2,836,908

        Kristin School 2,222,284 2,734,602 2,912,394

        AGC Parnell 789,880 1,206,459 1,426,547

        Diocesan School 2,057,681 2,740,298 2,940,455

        Scot’s College 1,072,920 1,378,084 1,509,437

        Christ’s College 1,172,637 1,461,804 1,633,170

        Rangi Ruru 1,160,013 1,446,897 1,580,950

        Kings College has had it’s funding increased by $700,000 dollars – no wonder it’s doing just fine.

        • kiwicommie

          I never went to those schools, even though I could have. They appeared to be snobbish, homophobic and pretty boring.

  11. Descendant Of Sssmith 11

    From memory schools like Woodford, Iona and Lindisfarne in Hawkes Bay also became integrated in the 90’s as rolls and finances dropped.

  12. Murray Olsen 12

    It worries me that Hipkins says this: “Those are their beliefs – but the state should not be paying for it. Those parents and kids can choose to believe and to receive a religious education. But not to the exclusion of other sciences, and I think in this case that is really inappropriate,”

    This indicates that he considers creationism to be a science. To be fair though, it’s far from being my biggest worry about the authoritarian little git.

    • peterlepaysan 12.1

      Hipkins is the final straw for me. I have voted labour all of my adult life.

      While hipkins and his cronies control the caucus cabal I will never vote labour.

      hipkins is why

  13. What New Zealand has to look forward to:

    A charter school mogul has been charged in a multimillion-dollar charter school fraud…

    Charter School Fraud: If This Were Public School, Libertarians Would Scream

  14. I grind my teeth with amger every time I drive past St Peters Cambridge which is about 3 times a week . Because the place is flood lighted like a city and must spend more on lighting than Cambridge High Schools spends on any single subject .Yet recieves taxpayers money to subsidy it’s wealthy clients,,

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