More charter school fiascos

Written By: - Date published: 11:48 am, July 22nd, 2015 - 15 comments
Categories: accountability, blogs, schools - Tags: , ,

Two days ago, this happened:

Government under fire for charter school ‘rort’

The government is under fire for awarding a charter school a contract before ensuring it had somewhere to teach its kids.

Villa Education Trust was unable to find a big enough site to lease before it opened its Middle School West Auckland in January, and is now operating part of its school from ministry-owned land in Henderson. It is has not paid rent there for the first half of the year.

The Ministry of Education said having premises to teach from were not required as part of the school contract, and the rent for its land will be repaid.

Having actual premises is not required for charter school funding, so they got (rent free to date) state owned premises – that were too small for their roll. Unbelievable. And in today’s news:

KFC ‘used as charter school reward’

Ministry investigates complaints of bullying and cultural problems made by teachers and parents.

Fried chicken, pizza and cakes were used as rewards to keep a handle on spiralling student behaviour, according to angry parents and teachers from a new charter school. The claims, and further concerns about behaviour policy, bullying, lack of cultural awareness, safety and drugs at Middle School West Auckland, are under investigation by the Ministry of Education.

Mrs Allen said that on average, each year level had been fed takeaways four times over three weeks, with some promised KFC if they scored well on behaviour tracking sheets.

Another staff member wrote to the Education Review Office, saying the behaviour policy “highlights a lack of leadership management and lack of effective teaching practices”. The staff member informed ERO that bullying was rife at the school, and that there was drug use. She said one student had attempted suicide. Students were ejected from class, and left in the hallway with no supervision.

Imagine the uproar if these things were happening at a state school. Russell Brown takes the right-wing commentariat to task in this excellent post:

Political palatability and charter schools

It’s abundantly clear that [Villa Education Trust spokesman] Poole believes in what he’s doing, but whether we ought to is another matter. The trust’s website offers almost nothing in the way of background to or evidence for its practices and Poole’s default response to what are now very substantial and troubling questions seems to be to claim he’s misunderstood.

I think it’s time for Poole’s ideological enablers to stop providing space for his long, muddled manifestos and acknowledge that mere political palability is not an excuse for obscure, arbitrary and possibly damaging educational practices.

“Indeed”.


15 comments on “More charter school fiascos”

  1. Macro 1

    Dame schools never have been successful and never will be.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dame_school

    We are simply regressing to the early 19th C under this Govt. In working conditions, in our “education”, in our mental health services, in our welfare, and in the poor houses, and debtors prisons. This will be the legacy of Key – while he resides in his Versailles, with his courtiers and minions, the poor and the homeless are left to rot in the streets.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/69254737/Picton-family-still-sleeping-in-their-car

  2. Charles 2

    Crikey. Reading the Middle School West Auckland website it sounds like a well thought out idea, the kind of place I would’ve wanted to go as a young student. But when you read the management saying,

    “…school’s sponsor, Villa Education Trust, had confirmed there had not been any instances of drugs or bullying or any suicide attempt by a student at Middle School…”

    and they only have 40 students, you have to ask yourself, are these educational achievements to be proud of, or even selling points? Some kid’s résumé in 3 years will read, “Survived school. No one died.” That’s great, kid. Scary, but really great.

    How does anyone with a brain support National.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      How does anyone with a brain support National.

      Selfishness, greed, desire for power over others, sheer stupidity.

  3. Coffee Connoisseur 3

    I do wish that we got a lot smarter about what is taught in all schools though. We should be teaching kids how to think not what to think. We should be teaching them Civics, philosophy and history.

    • Clemgeopin 3.1

      Money management and ethics,
      Simple economics and accounting too.

    • Lara 3.2

      OMG I’m getting so sick of hearing this.

      I’m sorry dude, it’s not just you, its the whole fucking NZ.

      Thinking skills. It’s central to the curriculum. Very much so. It’s a central key aspect.

      Teachers DO try to teach thinking skills. Every. Day.

      This constant denigration of our education system, constant denigration of teachers in NZ (surely one of the least respected jobs in this country by a large sector of our population?) and constant political meddling… it’s got to stop.

      It’s pushing teachers out, it’s preventing passionate dedicated people from entering and it’s harming our kids.

      We need to start respecting our teachers, and teaching that respect to our kids so they don’t go into classrooms with huge attitudes towards their teachers.

      I taught high school science. South Auckland for a while. It was damn hard. I’ll never teach again now I can make 2-3 times the money at home in pyjamas without the disrespect and hassle from parents and their kids.

      But I do miss the kids and I really miss teaching science.

      Oh and while I’m on my soapbox, they do teach how our democracy system, FPP and MMP works. Every single election year. In detail. So each cohort is going to get this at least once.

  4. Smilin 4

    The right wing back them because its govt money paying the ridiculous waste of public money to run these abominations ,not the costs they would have to pay to have their spawn in private public partnership schools and solely govt funded state schools who have to scratch around to get grants
    Scumbag millionaires, Banks and co

  5. NZJester 5

    These charter schools are working out perfectly for Nationals future plans.
    Once the kids are of legal age they will be so messed up that they have a high likelihood of moving into crime.
    This fits in well with Nationals plans of privately run prisons.
    More kids leaving school with a bad education and getting into crime means more people to fill up the new privately run prisons they have planed and as a result a lower rate of unemployment.

  6. repateet 6

    Farrar says, “One has to put in context that there is a vigorous campaign to discredit and destroy charter schools.”

    Free of charge I’ll put in the bits he missed.

    “One has to put in context that there is a vigorous campaign to discredit and destroy public schools. One has to put in context that there is a vigorous campaign to praise and build up charter schools as if they are the greatest gift to education and schooling in this country. One has to put in context that there is a lot of money spent on education in this country and the sooner it goes to profit private pockets the better.”

    There David. You know all that stuff as you are one of the most ardent proponents of exactly that. You seem a bit shy to put it that way though.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Putting it that way would require telling the truth and National tries very hard to avoid that and when it’s impossible to avoid telling the truth they’ll spin it into a lie.

    • Clemgeopin 6.2

      If these schools are so good, why don’t the National party MPs send THEIR kids and grand kids there?

  7. Linda 7

    All about the money

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