Charter Duped

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I want to understand why anyone would choose to start a charter school over any other kind of school, so I’ve been having conversations with people working for charters or with them or who are part of a community that want them.  What has struck me is how often these people say they wanted to set up within the pre-charter school system and were repeatedly turned down, only to finally get the chance to have their school once charter schools were brought in.

My question is this: why would that be?

John Key’s rationale for charters is:

“There will be families that will make the decision that they want to send their child to them because it gives them what they believe will be an education that they can’t get in the current system.” Source

Hmmm.  Another question: Why were they not allowed to join the system as it stood, prior to charter schools?

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There are heaps of special character schools, kura, independent schools and so on.  In fact, a new special character opened only this week in Christchurch and is said to have a “unique approach to learning [that] sets the school apart from other bilingual and immersion settings.”  So, why would government push for the addition of a new style of school entirely?

I have a lot of sympathy for schools that became charters because they felt they had no other option.  Schools such as Te Kura Hourua O Whangarei Terenga Paraoa, which Tracey Martin says:

“…was known for the fabulous work they did with students who were disconnected from mainstream schooling. It enjoyed a close working partnership with other local schools.”

“But the backers of charter schools seduced them and rushed them through the process to become a charter school.”

When I asked one commentator why she was advocating charterisation rather than another type of school, the answer she gave was telling:

Surleymaid quote Twitter

So, this leads to more questions:

Why would a government want to “seduce” a school to become a charter rather than, say, a special character school?

Why did government not want them “in the current system.”

What possible difference could it make to the government, so long as the school is there and is doing its job well?

This is what we need to ponder.

Could it be that govenment purposefully created a barrier so that, if those schools wanted to be state funded, they would have to become charter schools?

Is this government so determined to embed charter schools in NZ that it would stoop to dubious tactics?

Are people being hoodwinked?

Have some of the current charters been used?

smoke and mirrorsBecause if prospective new schools are being shut out only to be told that if they want to operate in the public system they have to become charter schools, then the push to charterisation is not about innovation or choice or improvement or the students.  It can’t be, as all of those things can and do happen in the non-charter school system – the system they have are not being helped to join.  It’s not about those things at all.

Charter schools are being pushed through for one reason and one reason only: privatisation of yet another public system.

It’s about economics and ideology, pure and simple.  And schools, communities and students are being duped.

134 COMMENTS

  1. Interestingly ( and sadly) that new Special character Kura in Christchurch is opening ‘temporarily’ in a local school closed by government policy.

    I support independent Maori schools but Richmond school was once the centre of the local community and now is, for the locals, just another business with no connection to those that live there.

    The neighbourhood school .. dying and going forever?

    • Hmmm, charter schools going into newly closed school premises in Christchurch….. now THERE’S a surprise….

      • @ Robyn Morris: I have a relative teaching in Christchurch. At the time all those closures were announced, I remarked to her that there’d be no prizes for guessing that at least some of them would re-open as charter schools. Sad….

  2. The trend these days is to monetise anything and everything that hasn’t already been monetised. THAT is what was behind it.

    Next on the agenda will be sunlight, motherhood and apple pie, the colour blue, morality, and the act of breathing in and out.

    Its all about “Shareholder profit margins”, you see. (There are bucks to be made our there, at the expense of all of the rest of us).

    • A charter school doesn’t actually have to make a profit. I can’t see anything stopping a non-profit from setting up a charter school, or a university from setting up a specialised school for research purposes (these already exist).

      There appear to be not very many designated special character schools in New Zealand, which would suggest that they are hard to get going.

      I’m sort of torn about the charter schools. In general, I think the average charter school will be worse than the average state school, but it would be nice to try a school that specialises in secular Classical education, and I have no personal problems with letting religious nuts send their kids to religious nut schools, since we already have Catholic and Protestant schools (and these only look less nuts because people are used to them).

      • You’re right re for-profit/not-for-profit charter schools – they don’t have to and some don’t go that route, but others do. Either way, the school is privatised.

        • We already have private schools taking money from the state with arguably less oversight than the Charter Schools will have.

          To be perfectly honest, I don’t think charter schools are any sort of threat, because most people will choose to send their kids to state schools. Charter schools only have an advantage for people who want a special kind of education, and most New Zealand parents are too conservative to risk that.

          Since people don’t actually pay for either type of school (unless I am reading the policy wrong), there is no obvious advantage to sending a child to a charter school. Who would take the risk unless they had a good reason?

          The charter school policy seems less like a threat to education and more of an indulgence to a weird and destined to fail ACT policy.

          • “To be perfectly honest, I don’t think charter schools are any sort of threat…”

            They aren’t, unless you are part of the teachers union.

            • They aren’t, unless you are part of the teachers union.

              So… let’s get this straight… You’re basing your support on State subsidies for private education firms on a paranoia toward Unions?

              Mate, paranoia is not a sound basis for economic and social reality. Or reality of any sort.

      • …and I have no personal problems with letting religious nuts send their kids to religious nut schools, since we already have Catholic and Protestant schools (and these only look less nuts because people are used to them).

        Heh heh heh… Classic. Quote of the Week. 😀

      • my son went 2 a small religion based (charter type) school and it was the best thing l did…there where more male 2 female teacher ratio’s, they cld adapt the childs education 2 what was required and assisted his education 2 a much higher level (where my child was put up from yr9/form 3 to yr11/form 5 and passed, that wldnt happen in a public school, well lve never heard of it be4) l was able 2 come in and assist with my childs education and being his teacher 2 he career direction (chef) and as the school timetable cldnt fit it in, l was a teacher at home with some accredited units etc and there wasnt many of those so they had 2 get wrk through open polytech as local wldnt take him (they are ppfftt now they didnt, cus after l educated the child and showed them the wrk, they said “it was more and above what they do in the chef course”)… l know have been trying 2 set-up a cooking school and have been told by ppl in the local tech and industry that no 1 will support it because of 2 reasons: 1 is they feel threatened by the calibra of my students and 2: industry want my students now, even knowing my history and they have seen some of what l plan 2 teach….thus many wld be employed as apprentice chef’s and not go 2 tech and do chef papers.
        l have industry chef’s in this country and from others around the world that cant understand why l cant get help 2 be up and running when cooks/chef’s are on the nz short list 4 jobs.
        Probably not the place 2 advertise my other fb pg where l show some of what l want 2 teach although you can contact me through here or leave msg and l’ll inbox you if l can.
        l was going 2 put in 4 a charter school and was told not 2 bother by ppl in govt cus there was 1 already in pipe wrks and l wldnt get it cus (what l was told) lm not maori, lve contacted many of the countries wealthiest and as high as the PM in nz govt and no1 will help….WHY?… cus there are 2 many hidden agenda’s.
        thus my child got a very good education, was top chef through tech 4 2 yrs and at 21 yrs old had awards, industry medals and so much more 2 his name….that is what tech is worried about…”O” and he had also done a cookbook at 14 yrs old that he was classed as “an un-papered qualified chef” now qualified, that is what a good private/charter school education can do 4 a student.

        • Just to clarify, there are only 5 charter schools in NZ at the moment. The school you sent your child to could not have been a charter school, but a school within the system as it stood before charters, which rather supports my argument that there always was room for innovation and charterisation is about privatisation not about improving education.

  3. Charter schools are being pushed through for one reason and one reason only: privatisation of yet another public system. blockquote>

    I fear you are 100% correct, Dianne.

    Since the Rogernomics and Ruthenasioa upheavals of the late ’80s and early ’90s, successive governments have been more circumspect in their neo-liberal advancements. Instead it’s been neo-liberalism by stealth.

    Even Labour has not been as resistant as we’d hoped.

    Charter schools is a toe-in-the-door to further encroachments of user-pays in education. We already have $250 million a year demanded of parents for “voluntary” school “donations”. This carries on the user-pays implemented for tertiary education in the early 1990s.

    It will be interesting if an incoming Labour-led government follows through on it’s promise to ditch the Charter schools programme.

    But more than that, will a new government roll back any of the neo liberal policies that have been implemented in education over the last 30 years?

    Here’s a “cat amongst the pigeons”; a return to fully-funded, free tertiary education! (The same free education that Key and Bennett received in their youth.)

    • >Here’s a “cat amongst the pigeons”; a return to fully-funded, free tertiary education! (The same free education that Key and Bennett received in their youth.)

      Sweet, and we’d return to highly-restricted entry while we were at it, when only the top tier of school leavers were able to attend university.

  4. “Charter schools are being pushed through for one reason and one reason only: privatisation of yet another public system.”

    Even if that were true, who cares? Charter schools give parents choice. If no-one chooses to support them, they’ll fail. What are you worried about? the fact that they might work?

    • Oh puh-leese, IV, not that old hoary “choice” cliche?!

      “Choice” is one thing.

      But National is using taxpayer’s money to fund these things.

      You want private schools? Go pay for it yourself.

      • Taxpayers money is being used to fund education at Charter Schools just as it would be at a public school, so there is no difference in cost to the taxpayer. The difference is in outcomes. A Charter school can provide a particular educational need that public schools are currently failing to provide, to children who currently slip through the cracks.

        Your opposition to these schools is purely ideological; you don’t like the idea that your precious teachers unions could somehow lose influence. I don’t give a rats backside about unions. I care about providing quality education to children are are currently not succeeding in the public system.

        • You need to check your facts and figures. The funding is not the same, and there is a huge set up cost to the tax payer, aside from the money given to each school to run.

          Can you point me to the evidence of what charter schools will offer that CANNOT be offered in the system as it stood before charters, please. I truly would love to know what it is that they are meant to be able to do that is impossible in any other school.

          I’ve asked MPs and those starting the first batch of charters, but no-one seems to want to answer that important question…

          • “The funding is not the same, and there is a huge set up cost to the tax payer, aside from the money given to each school to run.”

            Which is exactly the same concept as for a public school. Public schools are establishment funded and then funded per pupil.

            • “Can you point me to the evidence of what charter schools will offer that CANNOT be offered in the system as it stood before charters, please.”

              Still waiting ….

        • Taxpayers money is being used to fund education at Charter Schools just as it would be at a public school, so there is no difference in cost to the taxpayer.

          Really?!

          No difference?!

          So what you’re trying to tell us, IV, in one of your classic pieces of bullshitry, is that there is no difference between taxpayer’s money going toward a profit-making private company/institution – and a non-profit State owned body?!?!

          Good lord! You’re just validated re-nationalising every single state owned enterprise that has ever been privatised!!! 😀

          After all, if there’s no difference who owns an institution/company…!!! 😀

          As I said, sunshine – if you want private education, you pay for it yourself. Don’t expect Muldoonist-style subsidies for private enterprise. That crap went out with SMPs for farmers.

          • “there is no difference between taxpayer’s money going toward a profit-making private company/institution – and a non-profit State owned body?!?!”

            Exactly. Why should public schools have a monopoly on education?

            “Good lord! You’re just validated re-nationalising every single state owned enterprise that has ever been privatised!!!”

            Ah, no. Not unless you can prove a cost and benefit advantage in doing so.

            “if you want private education, you pay for it yourself. ”

            Oh I would be. Via my taxes, which either go to public schools to educate my kids or private ones. Either way it provides choice.

            “Don’t expect Muldoonist-style subsidies for private enterprise.”

            Subsidies? No, Frank, payment for services provided.

            If kids with particular needs get those needs satisfied in a charter school, all power to them.

            • ” Not unless you can prove a cost and benefit advantage in doing so”

              So, can you? Because that’s the point of this article – so far NO-ONE has even tried to do that for me.

              So fire away.

            • Me: “if you want private education, you pay for it yourself. ”

              You: Oh I would be. Via my taxes, which either go to public schools to educate my kids or private ones. Either way it provides choice.

              Nope. Your taxes go toward bailing out failed private schools and integrating them into the State system.

              Isn’t it interesting that Integrated Schools and Charter Schools can’t survive without taxpayer handouts?

              So much for the free market system, eh?

              As I said, IV, you want private schools? Fine. But don’t expect to bludge of the taxpayer to run your business.

              Isn’t that what you free marketeers keep telling us Lefties?

              • “Your taxes go toward bailing out failed private schools and integrating them into the State system.
                Isn’t it interesting that Integrated Schools and Charter Schools can’t survive without taxpayer handouts?”

                You don’t understand the market Frank. And you don’t understand what a subsidy is. The market provides products and services at a cost. The Govt. sometimes contracts those services (e.g. private health providers) to complement the public system in areas where the public system isn’t delivering. The Govt has decided to allow Charter schools to operate within the ‘public’ education space by making them free to attend. This is the same model as the ECE sector.

                There is no subsidy, and the market is proven to work.

    • Choice is many splendoured thing. How strange the various Ministers who now preach the sanctity of choice in schooling have for so long denied local boards of trustees the same pleasures, freedom and advantages of choice instead restricting, restraining and confining them.

    • IV, work how? What do you think they will bring that could NOT be brought by another type of non-privatised school? What does privatisation add for the students? That’s the issue.

      • No, the issue is that if you don’t like privatised charter schools, the onus is on you to justify your aversion.

        • Not at all, lack of value. The onus is on the people who want to take money away from a system that works reasonably well and give it to something that is, at best, unproven. The fact that it’s happening to keep a corrupt fool with memory problems in parliament is a disgrace. There should be a justification for change and, in this case as with many things this government does, a decent justification via anything but simplistic slogans is lacking.

          Moerewa School was having some success within the state system. The minister stepped in and put a stop to it. Don’t insult us with Tory lies about helping the disadvantaged. We are not as gullible as you.

              • Oh that’s only one Frank.

                Try this one:

                http://credo.stanford.edu/documents/NCSS%202013%20Final%20Draft.pdf

                “The analysis of the pooled 27 states shows that charter schools now advance the
                learning gains of their students’ more than traditional public schools in reading.”

                “Improvement is seen
                in the academic growth of charter students in math, which is now comparable to the learning gains in
                traditional public schools.”

                “On average, students attending charter schools have eight additional days
                of learning in reading and the same days of learning in math per year compared to their peers in
                traditional public schools. In both subjects, the trend since 2009 is on an upward trajectory, with the
                relative performance of the charter sector improving each year.

                “Related results for different student
                groups indicate that black students, students in poverty, and English language learners benefit from
                attending charter schools.”

                They aren’t perfect, but they certainly do work in circumstances where public schools don’t.

                • Again, IV, you are LYING by omission.

                  Every time you post a statement and link, it pays to check on your sources.

                  Because what you’ve left out is the crux of the matter;

                  The 2013 CREDO study finds that charters in the original 16 states have made modest progress in raising student performance in both reading and mathematics, caused in part by the closure of 8 percent of the charters in those states in the intervening years since the 2009 report as well as declining performance in the comparison traditional public schools over the same period.

                  Across the charter schools in the 26 states studied, 25 percent have significantly stronger learning gains in reading than their traditional school counterparts, while 56 percent showed no significant difference and 19 percent of charter schools have significantly weaker learning gains.

                  In mathematics, 29 percent of charter schools showed student learning gains that were significantly stronger than their traditional public school peers’, while 40 percent were not significantly different and 31 percent were significantly weaker.

                  So only about a quarter of Charter Schools showed significantly stronger learning gains compared to public schools?!?!

                  And when were you going to share that salient fact with us???

                  Keep it up, IV. All you are achieving is destroying your credibility; creating a reputation for lying by omission; and showing yourself as another right wing fanatic who cherry picks data to validate your ideology.

                  I’m happy to assist you.

                  No doubt you’ll be changing your User-name again shortly?

                  • Oh but you are selective.

                    “The analysis of the pooled 27 states shows that charter schools now advance the
                    learning gains of their students’ more than traditional public schools in reading.”
                    “Improvement is seen
                    in the academic growth of charter students in math, which is now comparable to the learning gains in
                    traditional public schools.”
                    “On average, students attending charter schools have eight additional days
                    of learning in reading and the same days of learning in math per year compared to their peers in
                    traditional public schools. In both subjects, the trend since 2009 is on an upward trajectory, with the
                    relative performance of the charter sector improving each year.
                    “Related results for different student
                    groups indicate that black students, students in poverty, and English language learners benefit from
                    attending charter schools.”

                    • Rubbish.

                      Once again, you’ve left out the most salient aspects of the CREDO report, to wit,

                      “Across the charter schools in the 26 states studied, 25 percent have significantly stronger learning gains in reading than their traditional school counterparts, while 56 percent showed no significant difference and 19 percent of charter schools have significantly weaker learning gains. In mathematics, 29 percent of charter schools showed student learning gains that were significantly stronger than their traditional public school peers’, while 40 percent were not significantly different and 31 percent were significantly weaker.

                      As per usual usual style, you’ve conveniently over-looked the most damaging part of the report; the majority of Charter Schools – up to 75%! – are either no better or worse than public schools.

                      Poor use of a information.

                      F minus.

                • Oh my lord, so it took over ten years for the USA to get to the point where charters were on average *as good as* public schools, with a whopping 8 days further forward in reading. What does a reader who is 8 days ahead of another reader look like? 8 days is not even statistically significant. And what about the years leading up to that where children got a far worse deal?

                  The truth is, some charters are good, some average and some not so good, like all other types of school. What charterisation has done, though, is divide and split a system so that it is not not functioning well in very many places.

                  The neediest children still fare the worst in those schools, not given a place or excluded at a higher rate.

                  If charters are here to help our neediest students, then HOW. And for any solution you offer, I want to know why it CANNOT work in public schools.

                  http://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2013/07/23/maori-needs-more-than-charter-schools/

                  • Here, I’ll repost, so you can be lazy and still read the response. Here is what Charter schools deliver that public schools don’t:

                    1. Genuine accountability (providing there are no unions involved!)
                    2. The ability to teach specific ethical/moral values without a small number of fruit loops stopping it.
                    3. The ability to focus specifically on a particular set of subject areas, and at depths of complexity often unavailable in the public system.
                    4. Competition – Charter schools compete with each other and with public schools, providing families with choice for where they choose to educate their children.

                    • “1. Genuine accountability”

                      HA HA HA – seriously – thats the stupiudest thing youve said on this subject.

                      How are they more accountable? – the ONLY things you can access are the ERO reports and published results, you cant OIA them. So thats 3 three things you can do at a public school compared to 2 at a charter school

                      can you tell me which number is less?

                      Oh – i just figured it out – you think they will be more accountable because your not thinking “unionised scumbag” when your talking to one of the teachers isnt it

                    • Do you have children? If so, you will know that some schools have an ‘open door’ policy for parents, which is a particularly common characteristic of charter schools, yet alarmingly uncommon in public schools.

                      The accountability I’m referring to is to parents. I don’t give a rats backside about the pointy heads in the MOE, I’m talking about accountability to parents.

                    • @ IV – Re your February 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm post: That is opinion based on failed neo-liberal ideology. Bugger all else.

                      That competition certainly didn’t help the health system when it was tried by National in the 1990s. Remember?

                      So screw competition between schools! That is the last thing we need. You may want to treat your kids as “consumers” – the rest of us see them as students.

                    • You’ve got it all wrong Frank. It’s not the students who are the consumers, it;s the parents. Adults with the savy to make decisions for their families, not have those decisions captured by unions and incompetent teachers. Schools compete now and it works well. PS there is still competition in the health system, and it gives the sector accountability and vitality. As competition almost always does.

                    • Nah, mate. It’s not competition you’re after. It’s the taxpayer subsiding a business. And you’re insulting and denigrating hard working teachers who probably do more in one day than you do in a week, sitting on your butt, expecting a handout from the State.

                      We did away with that bullshit in the 1980s and now you so-called free marketeers want to bring subsidies back when it suits you?!

                      Screw that.

                      We don’t have subsidies to save the hundreds of jobs lost to cheaper manufacturing overseas so why should you expect it for your pet projects?

                      If your private schools are so much more efficient, fine. They will survive nicely on their own. They can seek private investor funding from investors like any other business.

                      But don’t try to justify your bludging of the taxpayer for your own lifestyle choice.

                      Christ, your ideology stinks of hypocrisy.

                      The biggest bludgers aren’t those on social welfare. The biggest bludgers are those wanting corporate welfare.

                      You, IV, and your ilk, are bludgers.

                      You just dress it up in nice words like “choice”. But it’s still bludging.

                    • So private hospitals who supply hip replacements for the public system are bludgers?

                      As are private dental providers who contract to the Govt. for children?

                      Doctors in private practice.?

                      IT contractors?

                      EC Centres?

                      Roading contractors?

                      The list is very long Frank. All bludgers are they?

                    • Intrinsicvalue says:
                      February 25, 2014 at 10:01 am

                      So private hospitals who supply hip replacements for the public system are bludgers?

                      As are private dental providers who contract to the Govt. for children?

                      Doctors in private practice.?

                      IT contractors?

                      EC Centres?

                      Roading contractors?

                      You and Gosman are marching in lock-step on this point, IV. I gather it’s ACT rhetoric that you’re repeating here? What’s the bet Gosman will be posting exactly the same justification?

                      Let me spell it out for you;

                      1. The State buys services it can no longer provide because of the dismantling of departments such as the Ministry of Works, or privatisation of services such as Telecom.

                      Otherwise the State would have no need for contracting out.

                      2. Using private healthcare providers for hip replacements indicates just how badly our own public health system is under-funded. I’m surprised you’d bring that up as an example, as it does National no credit.

                      3. Using IT contractors (or other contractors) when the State has no similar internal provider is unavoidable. Though I have no problem is resurrecting a new Ministry of Works & IT – MoWIT! (I wonder if they could do lawns as well?)

                      By contrast, there is no need for Charter schools as New Zealand has sufficient numbers to fill demand. In fact, National has been busy closing down schools!

                      4. Roading contractors? Ditto; they used to be done by the MoW once upon a time. Now you’re using the privatisation of that department as an example of the need for more state subsidisation of private business – because the State can’t provide the service it privatised?!

                      Circular logic? Nah, mad logic more like.

                      5. ECE – state funding for private institutions – which the State cannot provide – in some instances is necessary. It’s not a black and white issue.

                      However, state subsidies for Charter Schools is not a necessity; is not filling a void caused by privatisation; and is an ideological junket through the education system.

                      So trying to justify subsidising private enterprise fails on this score. Partly because the issues you raised to justify subsidising Charters schools were, in themselves, caused by neo-liberal economic policies.

                      And as I said, if we start subsidising Charter schools – why not farms or the corner dairy?!

                      I’ve made that point earlier and neither of you (IV/Gosman) have addressed it.

                      That’s because it illustrates the barking mad nature of taxpayers subsidising private commercial activities for no good reason.

                      Hmmmm… “MoWIT”… you’ve given me an idea…

                    • “1. The State buys services it can no longer provide because of the dismantling of departments such as the Ministry of Works, or privatisation of services such as Telecom.”

                      The MoW was dismantled because the private sector can build infrastructure far more efficiently. Likewise, Telecom. Unless you want to return to days of it taking 12 weeks to get a phone connection?

                      “2. Using private healthcare providers for hip replacements indicates just how badly our own public health system is under-funded.”

                      No, it indicates that private sector providers deliver such services at better value for money.

                      “3. Using IT contractors (or other contractors) when the State has no similar internal provider is unavoidable.”

                      Now you’re getting the picture.

                      “5. ECE – state funding for private institutions – which the State cannot provide – in some instances is necessary.”

                      Nonsense. The state could easily provide ECE services, as it used to many years ago through public kindergartens.

                      “However, state subsidies for Charter Schools is not a necessity; is not filling a void caused by privatisation; and is an ideological junket through the education system.”

                      No, it is another example of Govt. contracting our services that the private sector can deliver which the public sector isn’t.

                      “So trying to justify subsidising private enterprise fails on this score. Partly because the issues you raised to justify subsidising Charters schools were, in themselves, caused by neo-liberal economic policies.”

                      Neo-liberal policies are not responsible for the obvious fact that the private sector generally provides a more efficient solution than can the public sector.

                      “And as I said, if we start subsidising Charter schools – why not farms or the corner dairy?! ”

                      a> It isn’t a subsidy, as I have demonstrated. 2> The Govt. doesn’t play a role in feeding people or running farms. The Govt. does play a role in the provision of education.


                    • “1.

                      “The MoW was dismantled because the private sector can build infrastructure far more efficiently. Likewise, Telecom. Unless you want to return to days of it taking 12 weeks to get a phone connection?”

                      Twelve weeks?! Rubbish. Now you’re making shit up again. Aka, a lie. (I bought several homes in the ’70s and ’80s and the longest it took a phone to be connected, if memory serves, was three weeks. Basically it was installed during the settlement process, and was good to go by the time I moved in.)

                      The worst phone connection I ever had was by Telecom in 1997, which took two weeks to transfer a phone between two adjacent suburbs!

                      “2.

                      “No, it indicates that private sector providers deliver such services at better value for money.”

                      Really?

                      Like Canterbury Finance”

                      Lehmann Bros?

                      Lloyds of London

                      Air New Zealand, prior to October 2001?

                      Mainzeal?

                      Yeah, nah.

                      Bullshit.

                      And IV – if the “private sector providers deliver such services at better value for money” – why does it need taxpayer subsidies for a commercial activity such as Charter Schools?!

                      Eh? WHY???

                      Because – and this is what you haven’t answered – if the private sector is so super-dooper efficient, why aren’t private investors lining up to invest in Chart Schools?

                      Why do they have their hands out for taxpayer subsidies?

                      Why not stand on their own like private schools?

                      Because they are inefficient, ineffective, and dodgy-as-hell, that’s why.

                      “3.

                      “Now you’re getting the picture.”

                      More than you, IV.

                      4. Roading contractors?

                      Ditto; they used to be done by the MoW once upon a time. Now you’re using the privatisation of that department as an example of the need for more state subsidisation of private business – because the State can’t provide the service it privatised?!

                      I notice you left that bit out? Truth cut a bit close to the bone, eh?

                      “5.

                      “Nonsense. The state could easily provide ECE services, as it used to many years ago through public kindergartens.”

                      I have no problem with that. As long as they are fully State-owned.

                      “No, it is another example of Govt. contracting our services that the private sector can deliver which the public sector isn’t.”

                      WTF?

                      What do you mean the public sector isn’t delivering? There are 2,500+ State schools in this country.

                      In fact, the number of schools (private and State) in NZ has dropped from 2,581 in 2008 to 2,539 last year.

                      “Neo-liberal policies are not responsible for the obvious fact that the private sector generally provides a more efficient solution than can the public sector.”

                      That is crap.

                      It’s crap because having to finance Charter Schools through taxpayer subsidies proves that it is not an “efficient solution”.

                      How the fuck can it be “efficient” if it relies on a handout?!

                      “a> It isn’t a subsidy, as I have demonstrated. 2> The Govt. doesn’t play a role in feeding people or running farms. The Govt. does play a role in the provision of education.”

                      Your sophistry is laughable.

                      Private enterprise also plays a role in education. Education is not a State monopoly.

                      You are suggesting that some subsidies are good but others are not so good?!

                      Double standards.

                      Your argument is a joke.

                      The only reason you endorse state subsidies for commercial activities is that National/ACT are promoting it. If it was a Labour proposal, you and Gosman would be spitting tacks! 😀

                    • Charter schools have been a complete and unmitigated disaster in the US where they originated. They have been conclusively linked to fraud and embezzlement and the latest scandal is the Gulen Charter chains link to fundamentalist muslim schools.
                      And the evidence is clear cut and incontrovertible – they are no better than public schools. The best public schools in America are every bit as good as the best charters, and the worst charters worse than even the worst public schools. And this is aside from the fact that charter schools are able to cherry pick students, whereas public schools are required to take any and every student living in their zone regardless of if they have learning disorders etc, as evidenced by the court case which played out this week.
                      Moreover, every cent given to public schools directly takes away from funding available for the public schools who then have to pick up the students who need more help and so cost more. As you are so fond of saying, there is a limited public purse – public education funding vs charter schools really is a zero sum game.
                      And this funding goes to what? Your taxpayer funding, that you spend so much time decrying and complaining over, is already paying for advertising for charter schools. Are you happy about this? Where is the outrage over how your taxpayer dollars are being spent?
                      I suggest you head to:
                      http://dianeravitch.net/
                      and read about the fight back against the dismantling of public education in America. There is all the evidence you need and more. What’s more all the ‘evidence’ you point to above has been thoroughly debunked. Once you have finished reading come back here and try again.
                      Brilliant – posted this then went to The Independent, where the first thing I saw was the headline:
                      http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/we-could-be-at-a-tipping-point–when-parents-who-think-private-education-is-the-only-option-finally-see-that-state-schools-make-sense-9150106.html
                      Very timely.

                    • The state should always have a reason for contracting out Frank. To think otherwise is essentially buying in to old school socialist thinking which equates private enterprise as a bad thing. If you want to go back to system where the government sector performed like a Polish shipyard then accept the consequences of that. Massive amounts of waste and inefficiencies.

                    • The Government is still getting something in return for the money it provides Charter Schools so therefore does not qualify as a subsidy.

                      The State also received something when it subsidised farmers with the SMP.

                      So you’re keen on returning to those days?

                      Good lord, you’re more marxist than I am!

                      Gosman – you need to be more consistent. You decry the “Polish shipyard” theme – but yet you have no problem with taxpayer’s money being used as a subsidy for private commercial centures.

                      And yet, you haven’t addressed the point I made; would you welcome State subsidies for farmers and corner dairy stores?

                      If not, why not?

                    • No, the government did not receive the output that the payment was made in relation to SMP’s. The lambs etc were sold on the open market to private sector players. If the State purchased lambs from farmers directly then it wouldn’t qualify as a subsidy. It is a different level of support though. I think you need to research the economic terms you throw around because it seems to me you don’t really understand them.

                    • “The State also received something when it subsidised farmers with the SMP.”

                      I’m not sure the state received anything from SMP’s. As an a side, SMP’s were welfare for farmers. They artificially inflated farm prices, and distorted the ‘market’ by paying farmers to produce products the world didn’t want or wouldn’t pay a commercial price for.

                    • You think the State purchasing something is a subsidy. That is not the definition of a subsidy. A subsidy is providing funds for someone to do something for someone else. The Government is still getting something in return for the money it provides Charter Schools so therefore does not qualify as a subsidy.

                    • IV:

                      You’ve got it all wrong Frank. It’s not the students who are the consumers, it;s the parents. Adults with the savy to make decisions for their families, not have those decisions captured by unions and incompetent teachers. Schools compete now and it works well. PS there is still competition in the health system, and it gives the sector accountability and vitality. As competition almost always does.

                      I don’t give a rats.

                      Your opinions about unions are your own. You’re obsessed about teachers and hostile to Unions – we get that. But don’t expect taxpayers to finance your ideological wish-list of State-subsidised life-style choices.

                      Pay for it yourself.

                      And schools do not compete. In your fantasy world, maybe, but not in reality.

                      Christ, what the hell could they compete for? There’s no profit motive involved! You really are in La La Land.

                    • “Christ, what the hell could they compete for? There’s no profit motive involved! ”

                      Are you serious? Schools compete for prestige, for bragging rights, for the name of the school. Where have you been???

                    • Intrinsicvalue says:
                      February 25, 2014 at 9:48 am

                      “Christ, what the hell could they compete for? There’s no profit motive involved! ”

                      Are you serious? Schools compete for prestige, for bragging rights, for the name of the school. Where have you been???

                      Now you’re just making up any old bullshit.

                      You’re not just an ACT/National ideologue – but quite mad.

                      Honestly, IV, you are a joke. No wonder you hide behind a pseudonym!!! LMAO!!! 😀

                    • To argue that Public Schools don’t attempt to improve their image and standing in the wider community ignores reality. Auckland Grammar would regard itself as a premier school and parents acknowledge this by the premium placed on houses in he Auckland Grammar school zone.

                    • Gosman says:
                      February 25, 2014 at 12:42 pm

                      To argue that Public Schools don’t attempt to improve their image and standing in the wider community ignores reality. Auckland Grammar would regard itself as a premier school and parents acknowledge this by the premium placed on houses in he Auckland Grammar school zone.

                      Just because State schools have a good reputation and track record does not necessarily mean competition between schools.

                      That is a false premise not supported by any evidence.

                      There is no profit incentive for State schools to compete.

                      In effect, you are subscribing motives to State institutions – motives which do not exist, except in your ideological fantasies.

                  • “Oh my lord, so it took over ten years for the USA to get to the point where charters were on average *as good as* public schools,”

                    No, you didn’t read it did you Dianne?

                    “The analysis of the pooled 27 states shows that charter schools now advance the learning gains of their students’ more than traditional public schools in reading.”

                    and

                    “Related results for different student groups indicate that black students, students in poverty, and English language learners benefit from attending charter schools.”

          • Ovicula, I could give you many examples of children who slip through the cracks of the current system, and no amount of money would have helped. My severely dyslexic son is one such example. Charter schools have the potential to offer an education to kids for whom the one size fits all restrictions of schools run by the unions don’t work.

              • No, Dianne, they can’t. My son went to a primary school that was considered to be a ‘star’, with a headmaster who has gone on to lead the NZ Principals Federation. The school is decile 8, with huge community support.

                My son attended that school from year 1 through year 6, and only at the beginning of year 6 did the school pick up our son had a learning difficulty. When we had expressed our concerns previously, we had been repetitively been told he was ‘lazy’, or just ‘a typical boy’.

                We have since learned that our son is just one of a significant number of children who fall through the cracks of our education system, because of incompetent teachers protected by militant union intransigence.

                My son is now a savvy 16 year old, in his last year of school. He’ll do ok because he is a determined and street smart kid, and because along the way we have paid for many hours of private tuition, and worked almost entirely outside of the public system he has attended, a system that failed him.

                You can theorise all you like, but no amount of money thrown at a system controlled by the teachers union, and underpinned by mediocrity will help people like my son.

                • Your anger is leading you to mistake the need for better training, especially in relation to special needs, with the need for an addition school type. They are entirely different arguments, and I totally support the need for far better training for teachers in that regard and support far better funding for support in schools. You might want to join me in my fight with this government on that one. As as aside, it hardly helps that New Zealand only formally recognised dyslexia as a real thing in the past few years. I hope your child gets good support, whichever school they go to, but be prepared to pay for it or fight for it because the funding is just not there.

                  • Oh I’m not angry. I’m just determined to try to prevent it happening to anyone else. And your comment about better training is a joke. The public system has ample funding to do that now. There just isn’t any accountability.

                    • No accountability?!

                      Has no one told you about ERO?

                      You seem to be under the illusion that schools are unaccountable and this is simply not true.

                      Schools are accountable and boards have been replaced due to poor performance.

                      You’ve been reading too much ACT propaganda mate.

                    • Your words indicate you are very angry and bitter. Whatever, if you say you’re not then fair enough.

                      There is barely any time spent on special needs on teacher training courses.

                      Can you tell me what the average training budget is for a school, to cover all training and professional development, and then cost me out the courses/PD, please? Because my understanding is that there is not enough funding nor enough good courses to go around. If you know more, I would like to know, too, please.

            • You are deluded if you think teacher’s unions run schools.

              But then again, your anti-Union bias is no secret, I guess.

              It’s a shame you’re willing to support a policy that will use children as pawns to attack teacher unions and state education…

              • Children are being used as pawns by the teacher unions Frank. Incompetent teachers virtually can’t be fired, and unions fight every attempt at accountability. Without them, public schools may well be able to provide the services Charter schools provide. With them, there is no chance.

      • “What does privatisation add for the students?”

        Well there must be something, because people are clambering to get in to private and integrated schools, while there are public schools fighting for survival. Makes you think eh?

        • sure IV, just go on believing the Nat’s lies. No they’re not clamouring for private education – see point 2 below.
          Don’t you stop to think of the bigger picture – why the Nat’s hate unions so much, why they reflexively take money from public systems like education and give it to private enterprise with no oversight, no accountability and no care for those they screw over in the process?

          Two great examples:

          1. destroying adult education by removing $30 million, then giving private schools $33 million – and they hadn’t asked for it, although 2/3 of cabinet send their kids to private school. BTW, this is adult education that PWC assessed as returning up to $97 per $ invested – but who gives a fuck about adults that need to learn to read when your bum chums at the club might go without another iPad or two

          2. bailing out Whanganui Collegiate to the tune of $3 million, against official advice

          Facts dear boy, facts. Oh, but they don’t support righties distorted world views.

          • “why they reflexively take money from public systems like education and give it to private enterprise with no oversight, no accountability and no care for those they screw over in the process? ”

            What utter crap. What utterly emotive bollocks. Private education providers are being contracted to provide services because it is perceived they can do it better, and that perception is supported by overseas studies. No one’s getting ‘screwed over’. No-one. Children with particular needs are getting an education the public system simply can’t provide. What on earth is wrong with that?

      • “What do you think they will bring that could NOT be brought by another type of non-privatised school?”

        Here’s just a few…

        1. Genuine accountability (providing there are no unions involved!)
        2. The ability to teach specific ethical/moral values without a small number of fruit loops stopping it.
        3. The ability to focus specifically on a particular set of subject areas, and at depths of complexity often unavailable in the public system.
        4. Competition – Charter schools compete with each other and with public schools, providing families with choice for where they choose to educate their children.

        • Hahahaha sorry, you lost me at “genuine accountability”…
          Okay, carry on trolling, I will save further discussion for someone who is wanting to discuss, not rant.

        • Fine. All well and good.

          But if they are so great and provide so much competitive advantage, why do they require taxpayer subsidies?!?!

          I thought private enterprise was more efficient than the State?

          • “But if they are so great and provide so much competitive advantage, why do they require taxpayer subsidies?!?!”

            There is no subsidy Frank. Charter schools work in exactly the same way as EC centres. These are simply services the Govt contracts out and then delivers to the public for free, as opposed to a fully private model where fee paying parents provide the bulk of the schools revenues.

            The model also exists in the health sector, and indeed many others.

            • There is no subsidy Frank. Charter schools work in exactly the same way as EC centres.

              Oh don’t be so dis-ingenuous.

              It’s a subsidy pure and simple.

              The fact that you’re trying to paint it as something else shows your desperation to defend more business subsidies.

              The fact that subsidies exist elsewhere is not a justification, IV. Because if it were, you wouldn’t be defending it on a selective basis. You’d be happy for all manner of other subsidies such as NZ Power.

              Admit it. It’s a State subsidy for businesses that can’t stand on their own legs.

              What next, subsidies for farmers and the corner Dairy store?

              And why the hell not? If it’s good in principle for some…

              • So every time the Govt. contracts a service from the private sector it is a subsidy? You’re a laugh a minute Frank.

                • And you’re a constant laugh, IV. That, plus your tendency to bullshit.

                  In case I need to spell it out for you, a subsidy is when the end user doesn’t pay the FULL COST of a service. The balance is picked up by the tax-payer.

                  If you aren’t aware of this, go back to school. (Preferably a State school.)

                  • The Charter schools are providing a service to the state. The state is paying for this service via the grant they give it. It is no difference to if a government department employs a company to provide services such as I.T. support. Are you aware that there are multiple arrangements such as this going on all the time?

                  • Your not answering the question Frank. Are you saying that every time the Govt contracts a service it is a subsidy? If the public health system can’t provide an urgent hip replacement and contracts that to the private sector, is that a subsidy?

                    Answer up Frank.

                    • Indeed if a government control entity even bought stationary from a private supplier according to Franks warped logic it would constitute a subsidy. Therefore to avoid this all government agencies should be fully integrated service providers. It is the sort of nutty logic that leads to a huge amount of waste and duplication.

          • We already have lots of special character schools that receive taxpayer funding. e.g Steiner, Catholic Schools etc

            How does a charter school differ from these special character schools?

            I don’t really get this bit.

  5. Indeed Dianne, your opposition to Charter schools is ideology, pure and simple. And schools, communities and students are being duped by control-freak teacher unions and hard-core left-wing fanatics such as yourself. All hell-bent on promoting the nanny state and the ‘we will think for you’ paradigm.

    • No my aversion came after a lot of research. I support alternative styles of schooling wholeheartedly. I do not support the privatisation of the public school system because I believe it does more harm than good, by dividing the system and removing collaboration. We have already seen that happening. I am just as likely to give the unions a hard time as the government, I am interested only in the students.

      • “I do not support the privatisation of the public school system because I believe it does more harm than good, by dividing the system and removing collaboration.”

        Which is unadulterated BS.

        The private schooling system in NZ is a huge success, based solely on the greatest and most reliable poll of all…demand.

      • Based on your arguments to date, the only research you appear to have done is in support of the teacher unions.

    • You are right on the money Kroese. Teacher Unions and the left hate choice in education because it means they lose control. It;s purely ideological.

      • You are right on the money Kroese. Teacher Unions and the left hate choice in education because it means they lose control. It;s purely ideological.

        Not at all, IV. This is where your blind adherence to your failed neo-liberal ideology confuses you.

        1. It is a failed ideology. If Charter schools were more efficient than state run schools, they wouldn’t need taxpayer subsidies.

        What next? Subsidies for farmers? What about subsidies for the corner dairy? Or car assembly plants?

        2. I’ve no problem with private schools. Knock yerself out.

        Just don’t expect us taxpayers to foot the bill for your lifestyle choices. Bludging of the taxpayer for your private life-choices is not cool.

        … and it stuns me that a free-market fanatic like you has his hand out for taxpayer subsidies?

        Hypocrite much?

        • “If Charter schools were more efficient than state run schools, they wouldn’t need taxpayer subsidies. ”

          They don’t.

          “Just don’t expect us taxpayers to foot the bill for your lifestyle choices.”

          So you don’t like the Govt. contracting health services when they can’t meet a need?

  6. The trouble with people who accuse others of having an ideology is that they fail to recognise their own. IV, your on-going chant that the opposition to charter schools is anti-choice and anti-private is of course self-serving nonsense given your business interests.
    In reality most of those who oppose charters are strong supporters of the right of communities to have schools of a character that meet their needs. Sadly, recent Governments have acted against such difference. National Standards, the increased imposition of statutory management, and the new policy of super principals are part of the strangulation of community choice within the public education. So it is deeply ironic that the current Government and its supporters claim choice is the motivation for Charter schools.
    In reality, charter schooling, as in the US, Britain and Sweden will become a bonanza for big business in New Zealand. (In Sweden, Government is currently taking measures to regulate a system where the buying and selling of schools by private equity companies is damaging the futures of children.)
    If you want to have a look at whether charters will look differently here, just glance at the ece sector where construction company operators, with no expertise in education, are currently gobbling up the sector. They currently run around 250 centres catering for 15,000 children and do so using the Government’s “20 hours free” grants and Ministerial co-operation.

      • Intrinsicvalue says:
        February 24, 2014 at 8:56 am

        Rather than opinion piece, read the research posted above

        I did.

        And as per usual, your selective use of information renders your quotes useless.

        To remind you of the most salient aspects of the CREDO report, I quote,

        “Across the charter schools in the 26 states studied, 25 percent have significantly stronger learning gains in reading than their traditional school counterparts, while 56 percent showed no significant difference and 19 percent of charter schools have significantly weaker learning gains.

        In mathematics, 29 percent of charter schools showed student learning gains that were significantly stronger than their traditional public school peers’, while 40 percent were not significantly different and 31 percent were significantly weaker.

        As per usual usual style, you’ve conveniently over-looked the most damaging part of the report; the majority of Charter Schools – up to 75%! – are either no better or worse than public schools.

        But you didn’t want to mention that bit, did you?

          • But I note the absence of any research cited by either yourself or Dianne, Frank. Which just goes to show your opposition is purely ideological.

            • “Purely ideological”?!

              Jeez, you can talk!

              Everything you’ve written here refers to “choice”, “competition”, “consumers”, etc. Your whole rant is ideological.

              In fact, it comes though loud and clear that you care more for “choice”, “competition”, “consumers”, than the actual children.

              You are a neo-liberal ideologue of the worst sort; willing to bludge of taxpayers to pay for your lifestyle decisions.

            • But I note the absence of any research cited by either yourself or Dianne, Frank. Which just goes to show your opposition is purely ideological.

              To remind you of the most salient aspects of the CREDO report (which you linked to, by the way), I quote,

              “Across the charter schools in the 26 states studied, 25 percent have significantly stronger learning gains in reading than their traditional school counterparts, while 56 percent showed no significant difference and 19 percent of charter schools have significantly weaker learning gains.

              In mathematics, 29 percent of charter schools showed student learning gains that were significantly stronger than their traditional public school peers’,while 40 percent were not significantly different and 31 percent were significantly weaker.

              You’ve conveniently over-looked the most damaging part of the report; the majority of Charter Schools – up to 75%! – are either no better or worse than public schools.

              And claiming we haven’t cited research is just another lie from you, IV.

  7. If this Charter School business model is so shit hot why isn’t John Banks and his NACT cronies setting them up all over NZ without Government subsidies.

    • Then it would be a private school and not a charter school. The whole point of them is to provide greater flexibility in the public education system.

      • Then it would be a private school and not a charter school. The whole point of them is to provide greater flexibility in the public education system.

        Bullshit! Flexibility my arse. The whole point is to wedge privatisation into the public education system and use taxpayer’s money as subsidies.

        I’ll tell you something for free, Gosman – next time you and IV complain again State subsidies, I’ll remind you both how crash-hot you both are, when it comes to milking the taxpayer for private benefit.

        Jeez, you right wingers are hypocrites. You rail against State interference in business and subsidies when it suits you.

        But the moment you can stick your snouts in the public trough, you’re in like pigs in mud.

        The only “flexibility” is that you both demand subsidies for your neo liberal policies when it suits you. Hypocrites, both of you.

        Thankfully, a Labour-led government will close down this rort and send the policy where it belongs; the rubbish bin.

        • It isn’t a subsidy though. It is a private supplier providing a service to the State. It would be no different to the Crown law office employing a law firm for prosecuting or defending people before the courts. Will Labour close down this ‘rort’ as well?

    • What subsidies? Charter schools are simply ways by which the Govt subcontracts education to the private sector. Much like ECE, health, etc etc.

  8. New Zealands standing in education internationally has gone BACKWARDS under the nats.

    Charter schools under National will be a expensive disaster ( like the asset sales ) and probably accelerate our drop in international educational standings.

    One of the main problem with the Nats is they bring in every discredited and failed idea/policy from the u.s.a .

    Private/charter schools, private prisons, private power stations built and paid for by previous taxpayers.

    Where the John Key national government has excelled is opening up tax payer money to greedy national voting business men …….

    Using public money to help the rich get richer ………….

  9. Intinsicvalue is spinning those National porkies ……

    1) There is FAR LESS accountability and standards ….no OIA’s or anything like that … and they can hire the janitors as teachers because unlike the public schools they can hire anyone they like, without qualifications, as a teacher

    2) The ability to teach any fruit loop morals and ethics ( like a fundamental Islamic school for instance ), because unlike public schools the charter ones can be set up by any fruit loop organisation

    3) A fundamental Islamic school certainly could focus on fundamental Islam ……. unlike a public school

    4) Competition : A right wing obsession because they are to obnoxious to partake in that great human attribute ….. cooperation

    • 1. There is NOT less accountability, but there is less stifling bureacracy and union nazism. And given the media spotlight they will be under, there may well be MORE accountability.

      2. Who are you to judge whether someone else’s ethics are ‘fruit loop’? As long as they comply with the law, it’s none of your business.

      3. And who cares? As long as they aren’t breaking the law, like teaching kids to be terrorists, who cares?

      4. Have you never heard of idea that competitors also cooperate? It happens all the time. Competition provides choice, and improves the quality of the service being offered.

  10. Charter Schools ………… where the janitors can also be your kids teachers …………..another right wing stuff up proudly brought to you by the Nats 🙂

  11. Education in NZ has gone BACKWARDS under national

    Higher education has become more expensive under the Nats making it harder on poor kids and their family’s

    Community education has been WIPED OUT by the Nats

    Charter schools where teachers with no qualifications can teach things like fundamental Islam could only come form the Nats …

    And intrinsicretard will try and tell us all this is a good thing as it is anti-union ……. I suppose it has been an education into the retarded workings of a right wing brain 🙂

  12. Frank

    So you want to nationalise:

    Private hospitals.
    Private private dental providers.
    Private medical practices.
    Private IT contractors.
    Private EC Centres.
    Private Roading contractors.

    Welcome to the world according to Frank Lenin Macskasy.

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