Red Alert

Integration of Charter Schools?

Posted by on February 13th, 2013

The Green Party have announced today that they would seek to integrate any Charter Schools setup under National into the public education system. I don’t agree with that approach. Labour doesn’t see the need for Charter Schools. We have enough schools already.

We don’t support having schools with unregistered teachers and that don’t teach to our world-leading curriculum. We don’t support a model of education that sees a proliferation of schools competing with each other for bums on seats. Why should we be offering these prospective schools a lifeline when we don’t need or want them in the first place?

Labour’s message to anyone looking to setup a Charter School under National’s proposed legislation is to think very carefully. A future Labour government will not guarantee ongoing funding, we will not guarantee integration into the state school system. In short, we will not guarantee these schools a future.

We don’t yet know what the contracts with these new Charter Schools will look like. Hopefully we’ll get more clarity around that during the select committee hearings. Until then Labour won’t be making any clear statement about what we’ll do with any Charter Schools National establishes, but we’re certainly not offering them the lifeline of integration.


24 Responses to “Integration of Charter Schools?”

  1. Geraint Scott says:

    My impression of the announcement was that the Greens are saying they will bring those schools into the PE system, therefore meaning that they are no longer ‘Charter Schools’. In fact, that seemed incredibly obvious to me.

  2. phillip ure says:

    so..mr hipkins..

    ..what would you do about the shocking educational results for maori/pacific islanders..?

    (btw..good job today in q-time rarking all over parata..)

    phillip ure..

  3. Stephen Doyle says:

    @ PU, isn’t one prong to bump up the numbers of reading recovery teachers in low decile schools?

  4. Grant Hay says:

    @SD, Speaking as someone who’s been close to teachers and the PE system all my life, I have to say that the kind of kids who’re failing massively in schools as they are currently configured (and very many of these are Maori or Pasifika), need a heck of a lot more than traditional reading recovery programmes to bring them up to speed. I’ve always thought (and I don’t think I’m alone), that although our schools do a very good job with the mainstream, they struggle to deal with “the tail”, which includes kids who are disadvantaged by various combinations of: socially disaffected / criminal families, non-mainstream ethnic backgrounds, personality / behaviour / mental disorders, poverty, etc. Although it has been terribly fashionable and PC to be all inclusive and “mainstream” everybody, I think many teachers would say, at least in private, that many of these kids would do much better in schools tailored to their needs run parallel to mainstream schools, where students have the ability to cross from one to the other as needs dictate. That doesn’t mean that I believe in charter schools. I don’t. I think the idea as it stands stinks. Alternative schools should be appropriately funded,staffed and managed under good supervision. But there are a lot of kids and their families out there at the moment who despair of success in the PE system and a lot of stressed schools and teachers who’d like to see the back of them. The combined push-pull effect would probably see a fair number of willing enrollments in what might superficially look like a better deal in a charter school. With this in mind, it might make better sense to upgrade and integrate any charter schools under way by the time any prospective Green / Labour coalition became Govt.

  5. phillip ure says:

    @ sd..it would seem obvious that any concentration of effort must be at the early/primary level..

    ..if kids are arriving @ high school basically illiterate..

    ..that is to late..

    (tho’ of course any catch-up for current students failing must kick in at all levels..we can’t afford just to abandon these kids to a life of poverty/unemployment/social-dislocation..)

    ..and really i am not trying to kick labour by pointing out they failed in their nine years in power to deal with this..

    ..so i wd submit that just more of what was done before..isn’t the/any answer..

    ..there must be a serious allocation/increase of resources/funding..

    ..and yes..soak the bl**dy rich/corporates to pay for it..

    and i think that there is the rub as far as labour is concerned..

    ..because i think/fear labour are scared of such bold moves..

    ..the clearly failed ideology of incrementalisation (?) has long had the party in its’ grip..

    ..and we need bold moves/increases in revenue to fix all that is wrong..not just in education..

    i mean..is labour even supporting a financial transaction tax on the banksters yet..?

    ..just ‘cos hone first suggested it dosen’t make the idea ‘untouchable’..eh..?

    ..even the european union has introduced one..and 32 different oecd countries already have some form of such a tax..

    ..here..?..the banksters just laugh their way to record profits/make out like the robbers they are….

    ..with the profits all sent overseas..

    ..all of that..has to change..

    ..i just hope labour has the testicular-fortitude to see/do that..

    phillip ure..

  6. Jack Ramaka says:

    Obviously there is a major problem in the Education Dept if they can not identify where the problems are and how to solve them.

    NZ Government and the NZ Education Dept smacks of total incompetence.

  7. PlanetOrphan says:

    Charter schools are just the Gnats’ “Scrap it and start again” policy in action.

    They’ll go great guns reinventing our education system, ignori ng the needs of the kids and community, until such time as all the current problems are in their faces again.

    No Future is the problem our country is facing, parents have no options, if they have a job they hang on to it religously for fear of unemployment. They can’t get a better education while working and have no support for wage increases because they can’t train and have 100 other people behind them waiting for the job they do have.

    All the Maori and Pacific Island kids I’ve met are intelligent thoughtfull people, their educational results do not add up with who they are … why ? , the lack of a Future for their parents is the most likely cause IMO.

  8. Sally Cron says:

    A teacher in ChCh in a low decile primary school has been given an all boy class this year. He has 20 boys, asked and received 2 trestle tables and an oven. The lads sit at the tables every morning for weetbix snd toast (bread) supplied by the Salvation Army, milk from the milk in schools programme and he takes in his own free range eggs and jam he has made from fruit from his fruit trees. Those lads have breakfast every day and he makes sure they have lunch. It will be interesting to see what the results are at the end of the year.
    There have always been some kids not interested in the scholastic side of school but who are really good with their hands. However a lot of the practical education (woodwork etc.) seems to count for little now.

  9. Jack Ramaka says:

    Yep reinventing the wheel.

    I don’t think John Banks got past standard two when he was at school. However I do agree that the education sytem should be geared to your target market, however the curriculum should be changed within the existing framework.

    The school system has never been targeted at Pacific Island and Maori children, it has been targeted at academics,lawyers, accountants, & doctors etc. Unfortunately not everybody can be an accountant, lawyer or a doctor.

    Aunty Hekia should know that coming from Ruatoria High School.

  10. Grant Hay says:

    Hi Jack. That’s more or less the point I’m making in a more wordy and round-about way. :) I’m not saying that every kid in every class in every decile one to three school needs to attend an alternative school. What I am saying is that some do and they should not have a choice about it! My opinion is based on personal experience and other people’s graphic anecdotal stories about the almost impossible task facing teachers in some schools where nearly all the kids in the class come from deprived circumstances. The majority of them want to learn, they have supportive parents and can be taught successfully. It’s uphill work but not impossible. But nearly every one of those classes has a minority within it of kids who’se pre-school experience has effectively ruined them. The problems range from foetal alcohol syndrome or the mothers drug use when they are in utero, through all the things I listed in my comment above and many more besides and can include some or many things on that list, each one of which compounds the problems for both the child, the teacher, the class and the school. Eventually of course they become society’s problems. I doubt if there is a state school anywhere in the country that is sufficiently well resourced to cope with these “ruined” kids and do the best job possible for the rest of the class at the same time. These kids are almost impossible to teach and spend their entire day challenging the teacher and disrupting the class. This is the elephant in the room that is always ignored and never spoken about. It’s the thing that has to be addressed in order to make headway. If there are some charter schools in existence that could be brought into the PE system and used to help with this problem it would be stupid not to do so.

  11. PlanetOrphan says:

    Those kids act out because they have no future Grant.
    Putting them into a “Prison” style reform school only reinforces that conclusion.

  12. Grant Hay says:

    @PO. That is not what I’m talking about and it is unfair to characterise my comment in that way. If you thought about what I was saying in an objective and honest manner you would probably acknowledge that I’m not talking about “normal” kids “acting out”. I’d like to see all the “experts” who’ve never seen the inside of a classroom since they left school decades ago, try to teach thirty odd kids while five of them are climbing out the window or hitting other kids or sometimes the teacher.

  13. PlanetOrphan says:

    I heard u Grant, just saying “Policy” speaks their future too them.

  14. Grant Hay says:

    @PO and moderator. My apologies. I was in the middle of editing the above comment when it timed out. Here is what I wanted to say and sorry again for any duplication.

    @PO. That is not what I’m talking about and it is unfair to characterise my comment in that way. If you thought about what I was saying in an objective manner you would probably acknowledge that I’m not talking about “normal” kids “acting out”. I’d like to see all the “experts” who’ve never seen the inside of a classroom since they left school decades ago, try to teach thirty odd kids, while five of them are climbing out the window or hitting other kids or sometimes the teacher. I’m actually talking about trying to build them some sort of future in a small and practical way that is internalised to themselves. In other words trying to make them into better people who can function in a non-destructive way. These kids at primary school level aren’t acting out because of the neo-liberal, laissez faire capitalist system. They don’t have that kind of world view. They are acting out because they haven’t experienced any of the things that make a successful human being. Sometimes their brains have been fried before they are even born. That’s how you get your Bell’s and your Houses’ and all the rest of them. Teachers can usually pick these people before they even leave primary school and sometimes earlier than that. But very little is in place to address their issues in a systematic way.

  15. Wendy says:

    Quite right Chris. Charter schools and unregistered teachers are not the answer. They are a huge step back to the Victorian era. The whole proposal is a Nat/Act distraction from the real worth of a good public education system. Bulk funding and performance pay for teaching staff are other planks in their pernicious agenda. Good education policy that keeps our public education system world-leading is what we need.
    Consider what good education outcomes could be achieved with the additional millions being thrown at the NovoPay debacle.

  16. Grant Hay says:

    The Tail. And the tail of the tail. That’s what I’m trying to describe in my comments above. Everyone keeps skirting the issue. It’s been effectively ignored under successive administrations for decades and the problem is getting worse as society becomes more fractured and less fair and equitable. Keeping on talking about doing more of what’s been done endlessly for decades is not going to work. A different approach is required. NOT Charter schools, but something..We’re great at wasting resources by closing things down in this country, rather than intelligently re-deploying those resources to solve problems in the most practical way.

    Sticking with the existing formula will produce more of the same results.

  17. phillip ure says:

    something big-picture that is being missed in this charter school debate..

    ..is that charter schools are part of a one-two ideology-driven plan to privatise all education..

    ..the tories here..in just about everything..are just copying the playbook of the tories in britain..

    ..(this is from an op-ed/critique i did on a herald editorial back on 18th jan..)

    “..ed:..this editorial sneers at the teachers’ union for warning that charter schools are the first step towards the privatising of the education system..

    ..maybe..before making such accusations/’sneers’ the editorial writer should remove his head from his lowest down-facing orifice..

    ..and look to britain..where the pattern/path that key is following originated..

    ..they are further down the board than key..

    ..and after setting up the charter schools..

    ..the british tories have now announced plans to campaign in 2015 on turning the education system over to be run by private-enterprise..

    ..i guess this editorial writer dosen’t know that fact..eh..?..(evidence/link in whoar-searchengine..)..”

    people should be aware that this is the master-plan from key & co..

    ..phillip ure..

  18. Jack Ramaka says:

    Key, Banks & Hekia are so far out of their depth it does not matter thinking about, it is a political diversion.

    Why don’t we use the existing school framework we have and readjust the curriculum, I have lived and worked on the East Coast and have a attended numerous academic institutions graduate and post graduate.

    You are not going to get a fist full of nuclear scientists, merchant bankers or brain surgeons out of Ruatoria High School however you will get good shepherds, truck drivers, forestry workers or commercial divers/fisherman if you train them from a young age.

    The education system should be looking at itself and identifying it’s weaknesses. The education of our youth in tertiary institutions only to have them come out and find a job at Macdonalds or Kentucky Fried is a misallocation of resources.

  19. Grant Hay says:

    @ Jack Ramaka. I totally agree with your last paragraph Jack. I don’t know much about schools in rural areas and small towns as you obviously do. My comments above were mainly about the situation in major urban areas like Sth Auckland or Porirua or East Chch or even the more depressed areas of towns like Hamilton etc. I’d be interested to hear what you think could be done for disaffected and disengaged kids who’re failing school and have dysfunctional home lives in The “mean streets” of our larger cities. I imagine some of the rural kids also come from pretty rugged family backgrounds in some cases? How do you think you’d go about reaching out to them, changing their attitudes and engaging thenm in learning life skills etc. Would you do it from a traditional mainstream classroom or from seperate units within existing schools, or something else?

  20. Jack Ramaka says:

    In the urban areas you need to teach children how to use tools, the most exciting thing I did at primary school apart from sport was going down to the local high school once a week to do woodwork.

    Showing children how to grow fruit and vegetables, flowers etc would be a good start I am sure every school in NZ has few square metres where they could grow some beans or some cucumbers.

    The whole system has become regimented and technical, the basics are still the fundamentals of life, have computers really made life easier I think they have sped things up.

  21. Grant Hay says:

    I think we’re on the same page but I’m not sure whether the kids would agree with us :) .

  22. Kane O'Connell says:

    Thankfully Labour’s position on charter schools is much more stronger than the Green’s middle of the road proposal of integrating charter schools into the public system. If Labour take office in 2014, the tap that pours public money into charter schools should immediately be turned off, as with any private school.

    The public education system requires greater funding and increasingly many teachers are being forced to use their own funds to purchase classroom resources.

    Section 156 of the Education Act (designated special character schools) already allows for alternative type schools to be established within the state system, such as Discovery 1 and Unlimited in Christchurch.

    Hopefully come the 2014 election Labour will adopt an equally strong position and abort National’s Standards.

  23. Grant Hay says:

    Hi Kane:

    Is there a substantive difference (apart from an ideological one) between the Green’s proposal to integrate certain charter schools into the State system and your alternative of closing a charter school down and almost immediately opening an alternative school designed to meet the same need?

    How many alternative schools has the public education sector facilitated under various administrations over the last (say) forty years?

    How many of those have been aimed at rehabilitating the bottom (failing) 20% (also known as “the tail”)?

    What are the barriers faced by people wanting to open alternative schools to cater to this section of the population? If it was relatively easy to do and the State had been a willing partner in such ventures over the last couple of generations do you think there would be much call for Charter schools?

    Of course Charter schools may fizzle anyway in which case this whole debate becomes moot…:)

  24. Chrissie McCartney says:

    We have a world class education system and it is true that we need to improve achievement for children in the low decile schools, however we can not lay all the blame for under achievement on schools, many of these children come from situations that do not enhance their ablity to learn. Charters have long been mooted by the Nats As quoted in Snook [1997:6] Ruth Richardson the then Minister of finance stated, “ A voucher system would transform the New Zealand education system into a competitive market. Entrepreneurs could be expected to purchase state sector assets and the government would gradually divest itself of all the schools it owned.” Personally I believe that this is still on the National Governments agenda. We must resist Charters/(Secret) Partnership Schools.

    http://www.salon.com/2013/02/24/charter_schools_and_disaster_capitalism_partner/