The Dim-Post

December 6, 2011

The charter school scam

Filed under: education — danylmc @ 8:22 am

It works like this. Charter schools are funded by the taxpayer but not regulated by the public service. This means more competition – parents get more choice when choosing where to educate their kids. Yay!

But the Charter schools also get choice. Specifically, they get to pick and choose their students. So if you have a bright kid who is keen to learn (and cheap to educate) then they’ll get to go to the local charter school – and they take their taxpayer funding with them. But if you have a kid with a physical disability, learning disability, developmental problems, dyslexia, autism, etc, then they don’t get to go to the charter school. They get educated at the local public school, because they’re regulated by the state so they have an obligation to take those kids. They just have a lot less money and resources available to them to educate those children, because a chunk of the low maintenance, low cost students have transferred to the Charter school and taken their funding with them.

Then, at the end of the year, miraculously, the local Charter school outperforms the local public school! Even though they have the same funding! Which proves what a dazzling success they are, and how evil the teachers unions are, and how superior the free market is.

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88 Comments »

  1. Identical to the ACC partial-privatisation model, whereby private insurers siphon off the low-risk, high-premium-yield customers leaving the state-funded system with the forestry workers, commercial fishermen, coal miners, &c.

    L

    Comment by Lew — December 6, 2011 @ 8:24 am

  2. Banks as Assoc. minister of education….

    Comment by k.jones — December 6, 2011 @ 8:29 am

  3. Was this on the bloody tapes which sucked up all political coverage for a week and a half?

    Comment by George D — December 6, 2011 @ 8:38 am

  4. So we get to see the real John Key. A narcissist so obsessed with his own ego that his personal desire to be liked is the governments main political objective. A political coward who lacks the conviction to boil his own bunnies so he has got the barking mad John Banks to raid the rabbit hutch and do the dirty work for him. The Republican Prime Minister from Hawaii, complete with the political portfolio of a small time GOP governor.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 6, 2011 @ 8:43 am

  5. It depends almost entirely how you set up the charter of the school as to what you get.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_school

    Note that NZ public schools have many of the features of a charter school.

    JC

    Comment by JC — December 6, 2011 @ 8:52 am

  6. the local Charter school outperforms the local public school!

    Evidence from the United States doesn’t support this [pdf]. That Stanford study found that 17% of charter schools deliver better results than comparable public schools, 37% deliver worse results, and the rest do about as well as public schools. So on average, charter schools are worse than American public schools (which I guess proves how awesome the teachers’ unions are, and how superior socialised education funding is). The trick, though, is to ignore that “37%” bit.

    Comment by derp de derp — December 6, 2011 @ 8:52 am

  7. From what I have seen from articles in countries that have this sort of system, the outcomes show that Charter Schools have some who do better than State school counterparts, a large chunk who actually don’t see much change, and a large chunk who do worse.

    Couple that with the way similar schools have sucked money from the UK government and there is no real argument for setting up schools like this. State schools seem to educate better and cheaper, though more money for them would be good…

    Comment by Aaron — December 6, 2011 @ 8:52 am

  8. Real ambishus, Johnnyboy.

    Comment by Sacha — December 6, 2011 @ 8:53 am

  9. Come on Tom, tell us what you really think, don’t hold back

    Comment by Raymond A Francis — December 6, 2011 @ 8:53 am

  10. We could point to a number of integrated private schools who are pretty well charter schools in drag, anyway. And media help by keeping the ‘league table’ of NCEA results in the uncritical gaze of Joe Public.

    Comment by Galeandra — December 6, 2011 @ 8:54 am

  11. But its not my fault, its MMP goddammit… http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/6091158/Key-defends-charter-schools

    Comment by max — December 6, 2011 @ 9:04 am

  12. Interview on Radio NZ this morning (06/12/11) : it is often politically difficult to shut down a non-performing school. (Deb Davis, Stanford University)
    Doesn’t this mean the core concept is broken?

    Comment by Roger Parkinson (@RogerParkinson) — December 6, 2011 @ 9:18 am

  13. National were strongly criticised for not trialling National Standards. Isn’t a good idea to trial charter schools and see how they might work here? It’s possible that different approaches might suit different demographics and areas. That 20% or thereabouts of students fail schooling (and often parenting) badly suggests there’s room for improvement.

    It’ll be interesting to see who is Minister of Education.

    Comment by Pete George — December 6, 2011 @ 9:20 am

  14. “1.Identical to the ACC partial-privatisation model, whereby private insurers siphon off the low-risk, high-premium-yield customers leaving the state-funded system with the forestry workers, commercial fishermen, coal miners, &c.

    L”

    Except that when it comes to insurance you have actuarily fair premia, not a set level of funding per worker. So it is not the same at all. At the margin, isnt it better that people go into safer rather than more dangerous jobs? Are you also against young males paying more for car insurance?

    Comment by swan — December 6, 2011 @ 9:30 am

  15. So a charter school is a ‘really terrible thing’ educationally, but a 50% fail rate at NCEA for Aranui HS is something the concerned educationalists can live with…

    Comment by insider — December 6, 2011 @ 9:35 am

  16. derp, surely 50% of public schools are worse than average?

    Comment by The Double Standard — December 6, 2011 @ 9:40 am

  17. “But the Charter schools also get choice. Specifically, they get to pick and choose their students”

    Is this a fact? Because it is crucial to your argument. I dont see this as being integral to the proposal.

    Comment by swan — December 6, 2011 @ 9:42 am

  18. Key was torn to shreds by Mary Wilson on Checkpoint yesterday …

    “You didn’t campaign on Charter Schools.”

    “Er, no but ACT did”.

    “ACT didn’t campaign on Charter Schools.’

    “Er, you have to talk to ACT about that.”

    They lied in the morning, they lied in the evening. But as long as we protect their privacy when they’re lying, then public morals are safe!

    Comment by sammy — December 6, 2011 @ 9:43 am

  19. That 20% or thereabouts of students fail schooling (and often parenting)

    Hmm….I wonder if there’s a connection there?

    I know, let’s fix the problem by tackling the schools! That’s MUCH easier and more politically acceptable than addressing the problem of dysfunctional families.

    Comment by Neil — December 6, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  20. Jesus, Dim. You could try a Google Scholar search sometime rather than just jumping for the ideological lever. There are ways of teasing out the effects of selection from the effects of schooling. Josh Angrist has done one of these studies; Caroline Hoxby another. These are not obscure studies. Angrist is one of the world’s top applied econometricians.

    Think a little.

    Comment by Eric Crampton — December 6, 2011 @ 9:51 am

  21. I thought Wilson came across as a bit shrill and tried to make the rules on how and when governments can make policies. Funny, I didn’t see her name on my ballot papers. Did Labour campaign on introducing Kiwisaver before it implemented it? Govts change policy directions all the time. They don’t have to lay them all out in advance.

    Comment by insider — December 6, 2011 @ 9:53 am

  22. “…Think a little….”

    Buy a mirror.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 6, 2011 @ 9:55 am

  23. sammy, if you’re surprised by Act promoting Charter Schools you must spend too much time following media coverage of cups of tea and Epsom.

    Very little United Future policy got media coverage, that shouldn’t exclude it from coalition negotiations either.

    Comment by Pete George — December 6, 2011 @ 9:58 am

  24. “they get to pick and choose their students.” … “at the end of the year, miraculously, the local Charter school outperforms the local public school!” … “So on average, charter schools are worse than American public schools”

    Dang, derp de derp – you just blew Danyl’s argument out of the water (assumning the results would be the same here).

    If the charter schools would perform more poorly, who would choose to send their kids there? A self-rectifying problem, surely.

    Comment by Rick Rowling — December 6, 2011 @ 10:00 am

  25. Pete George, if you think this was a policy “concession” to ACT grudgingly conceded by National, you must think Santa’s coming down your chimney.

    ACT is nothing. Key owns Banks. Everybody knows this.

    Comment by sammy — December 6, 2011 @ 10:02 am

  26. TDS: The three groups identified by CREDO will be relatively broad distributions as well, so among the 17% of better-performing schools, there will be a median with some performing better and some worse. The aggregate effect of Charter schools identified in the CREDO study was that students at Charter schools do worse than public school students in reading and math (which were what was measured to indicate learning), but the authors didn’t like lumping all Charter schools together in that manner, so they broke them up into groups in various ways.

    Comment by derp de derp — December 6, 2011 @ 10:08 am

  27. @Sanctuary: I invite you to go and pick a fight with Josh Angrist’s econometrics. Go and show me where he’s wrong. His study’s linked at Offsetting, along with Hoxby and a couple others. Show Angrist to be wrong, and you’ve a note ready for publication in a top economics journal.

    Upweight studies that use either lottery randomization or some reasonable instrumental variables strategy for handling selection effects and endogeneity; downweight those that don’t.

    Comment by Eric Crampton — December 6, 2011 @ 10:12 am

  28. sammy, obviously National don’t have a problem with it otherwise they wouldn’t have agreed to it.

    When parties work in coalition they tend to get to know what they have in common. Small parties that want to actually achieve something develop and promote policies they know will have a good chance of getting somewhere in coalition deals. That’s MMP pragmatism – in contrast to parties that make campaign ‘promises’ they know they have virtually no chance of implementing.

    Comment by Pete George — December 6, 2011 @ 10:13 am

  29. We already have ‘Charter schools’. Our state schools enjoy a degree of autonomy that is not enjoyed by their equivalents in the US or UK.

    They are more or less controlled and operated by their community with oversight from the MoE and ERO.

    Charter Schools will just see the school being taken out of community hands and run by multinational corporations.

    Comment by millsy — December 6, 2011 @ 10:14 am

  30. Govts change policy directions all the time.

    In little more than a week after a General Election? Even with United Future, Key said he’d investigate a free annual health check-up for the over-65s, not establish it immediately hope like hell it works.

    Comment by Ataahua — December 6, 2011 @ 10:15 am

  31. http://www.national.org.nz/PDF_Government/National-ACT_Confidence_and_Supply_Agreement.pdf

    As at other state schools, tuition fees would not be charged. Schools will be required to
    accept all students who apply for entrance (until they have reached capacity), irrespective of
    academic ability, although they may set geographical boundaries as long as these do not
    deny opportunities to disadvantaged students. Where demand exceeds supply schools may
    choose to conduct entrance on a ballot basis. Schools may co-locate with social service
    providers and/or early childhood providers and like other public school developments could
    use public designation powers to facilitate Resource Management Act consents.

    Comment by Anon — December 6, 2011 @ 10:18 am

  32. @Eric Crampton – the only fight I will be picking that involves you will be with the employment policies of the University of Canterburys economics department.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 6, 2011 @ 10:24 am

  33. Sanctuary – Why the hatred for empiricism?

    Comment by swan — December 6, 2011 @ 10:25 am

  34. I can see a problem with the charter schools if they suffer from that kind of selection bias problem (hoover up the motivated students, limit access for disabled kids etc) however we don’t know all the details of the trial so perhaps too early to say.

    If the objective is that schools want the ability to use performance pay, changed hours or operational budget control to lift educational performance then wouldn’t it make more sense just to implement a trial within the existing school system. There is nothing to prevent changes to allow this. If the benefits of the approach are as promised then it would make sense to prove them and implement throughout the country so everybody can benefit rather than just create a parallel privatised education system for some but not others.

    The critical factor in my view is that the trial should include a decent sample size of randomly selected schools across a range of school sizes, geographic regions and deciles. Detailed data should be gathered on the performance pre and post trial for the trial schools and control group schools.

    I was a student at Rangitoto college in the 90′s during the bulk funding period in the late nineties before it was scrapped by the incoming Labour govt. I didn’t mind the system, it didn’t seem to have any particular positive or negative impact on me as a student. However I think as a trial it was seriously flawed – Rangitoto College was one of the largest schools in the country, operating in a decile 10 area, with a massive staff, roll and budget, large fee paying international student component (the principal, Allan Peachey, was a business focussed educational reformist with strong links to the National Party). I think that makes it very difficult to argue that the experience of Rangitoto College might be comparable to a small rural school in a low decile area, with no fee paying international students and an average principal with more limited expertise.

    I would be delighted if the Prime Minister were interested in a genuine scientific study of different educational options. I think there are two key benefits of this approach – as a trial you can scrap it if it is not successful or change a couple of variables and launch a different study. If it is successful and the trial itself has credibility then it is very difficult for Labour to argue against it.

    My concern is that a study with ‘one or two schools’ in a strategically picked area like South Auckland (where selection bias excluding poor performing or disadvantaged students would have a massive impact on the school results) won’t deliver meaningful scientific results. It will be seen as a political showcase project of the National/Act coalition and will be scrapped by the next Labour Government to hold office.

    Comment by Richard29 — December 6, 2011 @ 10:26 am

  35. Thanks for the link Anon – Turns out Danyl is making shit up again.

    Comment by swan — December 6, 2011 @ 10:29 am

  36. +1 to Richard29, nice post.

    Comment by Jordan — December 6, 2011 @ 10:36 am

  37. @ millsy

    I doubt multinats will be lining up to take over schools; they are not money makers. Look at the struggles independent schools already have, with many trying to get integrated because they just can’t survive. More liekly self employed entrpreneurial types. One opportunity could be the creation of specialist schools for kids with gifts, problems or particular interests, eg science schools, music schools, remedial schools. IMO the focus for such schools should be on lifting the bottom end.

    Comment by insider — December 6, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  38. Mary Wilson might have been advised to actually follow the election campaign. Stephen Whittington wouldn’t shut up about charter-type schools.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — December 6, 2011 @ 10:55 am

  39. Mary Wilson might have been advised to actually follow the election campaign. Stephen Whittington wouldn’t shut up about charter-type schools.

    That’s not really good enough though is it? Could the Greens and Labour justify, say, legalising pot after the election because someone impossibly far down the Green list talked about it during the campaign?

    IMO the focus for such schools should be on lifting the bottom end.

    It should, and maybe I’ll be proved happily wrong. But my bet is that we’ll replicate the US and UK experience. These schools won’t have facilities for problem children, so they simply won’t be able to apply.

    Comment by danylmc — December 6, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  40. I could see iwi buying into these kind of schools to extend the kura-type schools. Or vocational schools, a bit like the old technical colleges perhaps. I don’t see why every state school has to be the same blandness. We could see single sex schools re-emerging when no new state ones have been built for about 40 years. Plus ca change

    Comment by insider — December 6, 2011 @ 11:08 am

  41. Sanctuary – Why the hatred for empiricism?

    If we don’t grimly hold onto our ideology, then the empiricists will have won.

    Comment by Gregor W — December 6, 2011 @ 11:20 am

  42. That’s not really good enough though is it? Could the Greens and Labour justify, say, legalising pot after the election because someone impossibly far down the Green list talked about it during the campaign?

    If that person was the Green Party spokesperson on drug law reform, and said that legalisation of marijuana was Green Party policy, I would think it a little off if Mary Wilson told Phil Goff that the Green Party hadn’t campaigned on the legalisation of marijuana, yes.

    Whether it’s a good idea, and whether it’s something that the major party should have agreed to take on are different questions. But your hypothetical Green Party and the actual ACT had such policies. They might not have been the headline policies but they were the policies.

    This is carried on the ACT Party website for goodness’ sake:

    ACT believes that if we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get the same results that we’ve always had. The education system must do better for these New Zealanders. What we have done for too long is run education as a centrally planned, Wellington-dictated bureaucracy that gives little autonomy to schools and little choice to parents.

    Meanwhile, education policy in Australia, Sweden, parts of Canada and the United States, and Great Britain is showing the benefits of making education more market-like and entrepreneurial. Such policies lead to a wider range of education opportunities being available. ACT supports decentralisation in education, giving more autonomy to principals and teachers and more choice to students and parents.

    And was expanded on by (one of?) the ACT education spokesperson(s) on numerous occasions. Not only that, but allowing for special character school is already the law.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — December 6, 2011 @ 11:21 am

  43. someone impossibly far down the … list

    For ACT, that was number one on the list. Even he didn’t make it.

    An historic (unprecedented) achievement for a party in Parliament. Mandate, not so much.

    Comment by sammy — December 6, 2011 @ 11:26 am

  44. Someone’s had a go at Wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charter_school#New_Zealand

    “In December 2011 the extreme right wing Associate Minister of Education and leader of the minor Act party,John Banks,….”

    Comment by Chris Bull — December 6, 2011 @ 11:26 am

  45. I also refer you to the report of the inter-party working group on school choice, issued in the last Parliament, and the ACT Party minority views thereon. If this is a surprise to a political journalist, they should consider a new trade.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — December 6, 2011 @ 11:27 am

  46. sammy: #1 on the Maori Party list didn’t make it into Parliament either.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — December 6, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  47. The interesting thing is I did a search for charter schools on the the ACT website.
    There were no hits. I suggested I might be looking for ‘carter schools.
    Odd.

    Comment by DS — December 6, 2011 @ 11:29 am

  48. A rose by any other name, DS

    Comment by swan — December 6, 2011 @ 11:33 am

  49. I don’t know shit about charter schools, but wait, upweight instrumental variables studies? I swear I will never understand econometricians.

    (to be fair Crampton did say studies using “some reasonable instrumental strategy”, which could imply an extremely small set)

    Comment by bradluen — December 6, 2011 @ 11:37 am

  50. #1 on the Maori Party list didn’t make it into Parliament either.

    You’re quite right, my mistake. Change to “party leader”?

    But the essential point remains: John Banks was elected in Epsom, but not by campaigning on ACT policy. I live in the electorate and all we heard was his support for a “John Key-led government”. The party policies – even the leader – were sidelined.

    Comment by sammy — December 6, 2011 @ 11:38 am

  51. centrally planned, Wellington-dictated bureaucracy that gives little autonomy to schools

    I wonder if ACT has heard of Tomorrow’s Schools? Then again, I suppose this reform has only been with us since 1989.

    Comment by Neil — December 6, 2011 @ 11:43 am

  52. The most telling argument against Charter Schools is that the very elements that are claimed to be advantages of the system already exist in our state education system, autonomous governance and flexibility in curriculum delivery. With our Boards of Trustees and flexible National Curriculum we are already largely there without the introduction of another new but flawed system. http://localbodies-bsprout.blogspot.com/2011/12/charter-schools-in-nz.html

    Comment by Dave Kennedy — December 6, 2011 @ 11:50 am

  53. I like the bit where Crampton asked Sanctuary to put up or shut up and Sanctuary said he wished Crampton didn’t have a job, and ran off for a sulk. I LOL’d

    Comment by Bed Rater — December 6, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

  54. Or he ran off to do his job, one of the two.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 6, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

  55. The party policies – even the leader – were sidelined.

    Not just with Act. How many Labour electorate candidates sidelined their leader and their main party policies?
    What were Labour’s main policies apart from trying to stop one National policy?

    Does anyone know what the Maori Party policy priorities will be?

    Comment by Pete George — December 6, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

  56. ‘ACT believes that if we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get the same results that we’ve always had. ‘

    Yeah well, it ain’t that bad actually.

    http://www.pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/34/60/46619703.pdf

    Comment by Peter Martin — December 6, 2011 @ 12:23 pm

  57. @Graeme Edgeler

    Probably, ACT’s position towards charter schools shouldn’t be a surprise to a political journalist.

    However, there is nothing explicitly about it under ACT policies on their website. Sure, there is lots of rhetoric about “decentralisation in education, giving more autonomy to principals and teachers and more choice to students and parents” and “making education more market-like and entrepreneurial”. But that sort of meaningless rhetoric can be construed to mean whatever ACT wants.

    ACT certainly didn’t campaign on an explicit policy about charter schools.

    Comment by Richard — December 6, 2011 @ 12:32 pm

  58. > Govts change policy directions all the time. They don’t have to lay them all out in advance.

    No, they don’t have to but it’s nice if they do. And remember this government hasn’t even been sworn in yet. You’d think they would get the fromalities out of the way first before adopting policy they haven’t campaigned on.

    Comment by Ross — December 6, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  59. David Lange before 1989 described the element of Tomorrows Schools whereby a group of interested like minded people could set up a school using perhaps empty buildings on a school site and be Government funded. A sort of Charter School? But it never happened.

    Comment by ianmac — December 6, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

  60. Charter Schools must comply with the National Standards? Autonomy or Compliance? Ha!

    Comment by ianmac — December 6, 2011 @ 12:40 pm

  61. ACT certainly didn’t campaign on an explicit policy about charter schools.

    How can you be sure? Because the media didn’t report it?

    United Future campaigned hard on policies that were never or hardly reported. The flexible super policy got a little coverage but was overshadowed by Labour’s on the fly policy tweaks on their un-superb version. The UF heli hunting ban was campaigned on at many public meetings and was hardly if ever reported.

    There was far more publicity on policies that were never going to make it to reality, like free breakfast and lunch for kids, and creating 100,000 ‘Green’ jobs, and whatever Winston promised.

    Comment by Pete George — December 6, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  62. ACT certainly didn’t campaign on an explicit policy about charter schools.

    Yes they did. I went to a meeting where the ACT education spokesperson said pretty much exactly that.

    Also, why would they need to? They don’t need a law change: special character and kura kaupapa schools are already provided for in the all-party-supported Education Act.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — December 6, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

  63. “But that sort of meaningless rhetoric can be construed to mean whatever ACT wants.”

    Actually, I think ACT’s policy wordings are a lot more informative than the Greens nonsense 100,000 green jobs etc. They point in the direction ACT wants the government to head, whilst recognising that as a minor party ACT are not going to get their ideal policies implemented.

    ACT could have campaigned on a fully fledged voucher system and complete privitisation of provision of education, but it would have done so in the knowledge it would never be implemented. And that seems facile

    Comment by swan — December 6, 2011 @ 12:55 pm

  64. TL;DR version of the below: the Angrist study doesn’t measure quite what I would want it to.

    ***

    I skimmed the ungated version of the Angrist et al. paper (feel free to correct me if I missed something). I’ll spare you my stock “aargh regression” complaints that no one cares about, and assume the study is robust. If so, it shows that Boston students that enter charter school lotteries do a bit better on standard tests if they win a place than they do if they lose. But this isn’t quite the counterfactual we’re interested in — or at least it’s not the one that I, being childless, am interested in. What I care about is not the effect of charter schooling on individual children, but the effect of charter schooling in the aggregate. While the latter is the sum of the former, it’s not just a multiple of the Angrist study effect, because that study omits kids who don’t enter lotteries, whom I assume are the majority.

    Here’s a fake example to show why this might matter. Suppose there are a hundred students. There are fifty high-income kids, all of whom score 60 on a standardised test, and fifty low-income kids, all of whom score 40. In scenario one, they all go to the same public school, and all score the same as they did before.

    In scenario two, a charter school opens, and admits 40 high-income kids (at random) and 10 low-income kids (also at random). The public school takes the remaining kids. Because the charter school has better resources, or because the rich kids push everyone to new heights of nerdiness, everyone at that school does ten points better. So the rich kids score 70 and the poor kids score 50. Meanwhile, the lack of nerds at the public school means everyone slacks off and does ten points worse: the rich kids score 50 and the poor kids score 30.

    So in the second scenario, you absolutely want your kid to go to the charter school: there’s a whopping 20 point difference in test score. But the overall average in both scenarios is the same.

    Of course this is fiction; you could easily make up numbers where the overall average in the second scenario is higher or lower. The point is the Angrist paper doesn’t get at this. The closest they get is the section on peer effects, but there they’re considering pre-treatment peers, not post-treatment ones (which are a lot more dangerous to deal with).

    You can’t come up with definitive answers for the effect I care about, but I think you could get a very good guess if you combined the randomisation of the lottery with careful pair-matching. Would have to think very carefully about the design, though.

    Comment by bradluen — December 6, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  65. I (briefly) covered the release of Act’s education policy and don’t recall mention of “charter” schools as such, but I picked up on “trust” schools as being something I hadn’t seen them pushing before:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10766865

    Comment by Adam Bennett — December 6, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  66. I’m not really sure that ACTs policy positioning on this (or the absurd spending cap) matters – their policy positioning delivered them 1.07% of the vote which I would say is hardly a mandate to deliver on those policies. National did not campaign on those policies and is the one choosing to accept and implement them. You can claim MMP all you like, but National are adopting fairly controversial policies in high impact areas for one seat support in Parliament. And they’ve accepted them in a matter of days.

    Of course, they are policies from the party they took over in order to do exactly this – position stuff they’d like to do (but can’t be seen to do) inside this ACT vehicle that they can then claim they just had to deliver to make Government work. Normally I’d think political incompetence would outweigh the likelihood of such a conspiracy but here it’s just all to clean and obvious.

    Comment by garethw — December 6, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

  67. So what happens then is that the remaning kids with physical disability, learning disability, developmental problems, dyslexia, autism, etc, get picked up by a specialist private educator in the market that has developed the skills to educate them. It seems perfectly logical to me, but then I have the interest of the kids and parents at heart.

    Comment by Kevin Campbell — December 6, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  68. Teachers statistically account for 10-20% of student outcomes. The most important factors are non-school related (eg poverty). Reducing or eliminating poverty should therefore have a greater effect than introducing charter schools. It’s strange that the former is not on the government’s agenda. Too hard basket?

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/nov/11/myth-charter-schools/?pagination=false

    Comment by Ross — December 6, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  69. Thanks to Kevin, for thinking of the children. What a swell guy.

    Comment by garethw — December 6, 2011 @ 1:58 pm

  70. .> but then I have the interest of the kids and parents at heart.

    in comparison with all those in the teaching profession eat babies for brekkie. Geez, it’s minor miracle that 4 out of 5 kids leave school with a qualification. If teachers didn’t get in the way, it would be 5 out of 5.

    Comment by Ross — December 6, 2011 @ 2:05 pm

  71. ‘get picked up by a specialist private educator in the market ‘

    Oh. There will be a slew of them eh. Wonder what would motivate a specialist in the public education sector now to go private. Loot?

    Comment by Peter Martin — December 6, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

  72. So what happens then is that the remaning kids with physical disability, learning disability, developmental problems, dyslexia, autism, etc, get picked up by a specialist private educator in the market that has developed the skills to educate them

    I guess like how the free market automatically aims for low value outliers, eh.

    Comment by Gregor W — December 6, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

  73. So what happens then is that the remaning kids with physical disability, learning disability, developmental problems, dyslexia, autism, etc, get picked up by a specialist private educator in the market that has developed the skills to educate them

    Yeh, right. I can’t wait for all those dedicated experts to jump into this lucrative market.

    Let me know when you get back to this planet.

    Comment by Neil — December 6, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

  74. See, the trouble with you guys is you don’t have the interests of the kids and parents at heart.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — December 6, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  75. @64 Bradluen, in the 1970s my brothers went to a school that was attached to a teachers college. They were experimented on – which is why I went somewhere else. Anyway, one of the experiments involved putting the really really bright kids (the nerds) with no behavioural issues into classes with kids who had a raft of problems. The theory was that the bright kids would set a good example and lift the other kids up. Of course, the exact opposite happened and two of my brothers wasted their intermediate school years learning nothing except how to goof off (something that adn’t occured to them before).

    (BTW – high income household does not equal nerd)

    Comment by MeToo — December 6, 2011 @ 4:33 pm

  76. So what happens then is that the remaning kids with physical disability, learning disability, developmental problems, dyslexia, autism, etc, get picked up by a specialist private educator in the market that has developed the skills to educate them

    I’ve observed that the parents of many physically/mentally handicapped kids will do almost anything to get their children into an educational environment that caters to specific needs – Hillmorten High in Chch has a shining example of a specialist special-needs unit that performs magnificently.

    I see no fundamental reason why a private sector provider wouldn’t exist.

    Comment by Phil — December 6, 2011 @ 5:46 pm

  77. ‘I’ve observed that the parents of many physically/mentally handicapped kids will do almost anything to get their children into an educational environment that caters to specific needs ‘

    In theory, this is every school. In practice, many schools simply can’t afford special needs children and those that can and do become ‘magnet schools’.
    Would a ‘private sector provider’ replace a magnet school? Or operate in opposition? The funding that goes to another ‘private sector provider’ is this at the expense of existing schools or in addition to? And if it’s the latter why not simply increase the funding now such that every school has the ability to educate special needs children?

    Perhaps the hidden strength of the New Zealand education system is the collegiality of those who teach and work in it. Convince me that a teacher or a special needs specialist would be happy to donate their plans to someone whose motivation is to be better paid rather than add to the education pool.

    Comment by Peter Martin — December 6, 2011 @ 6:04 pm

  78. I’m surprised no-one picked up on this bit yet (though it may have been added after, the quote from Wikipedia mentioned above has been sanitised)

    ” There are no fixed salary scales and teachers will be paid on results rather than on teaching ability. The Associate Minister said that this will enable people in the community who do not have normal teacher training to be employed to teach children.”

    (Disclaimer: there’s no source and I can’t find it elsewhere)

    Comment by Flynn the Cat — December 6, 2011 @ 7:04 pm

  79. Charter Schools are such a scam even non-American foreign special interest groups are savvy to sucking as much money out of America and indoctrinating our children. Ever heard of the Gulen Movement out of Turkey? They follow exiled Islamic Imam Fethullah Gulen and now operate over 140 charter schools in the USA and over 600 schools worldwide. They abuse H1-b Visas, have layers of foundations they wash money through and use ONLY members of their group to award contracts to for building the schools, catering and other services.

    http://www.gulencharterschools.weebly.com

    http://www.charterschoolwatchdog.com

    http://www.gulenschoolsworldwide.blogspot.com

    http://www.gulencharterschoolsUSA.blogspot.com

    Comment by kdosu — December 6, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

  80. kdosu, can you send those link to Winston Peters? Ta.

    Comment by MeToo — December 6, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  81. I’m just waiting for the Exclusive Bretheren church to find a way to exploit this with their Westmount Schools – then we’ll seesome real weeping and a-wailing.

    Comment by Cossack — December 6, 2011 @ 8:24 pm

  82. Golden Arches Junior High and Exxon Mobil Senior High are taking enrolments soon.

    Comment by DeepRed — December 6, 2011 @ 10:39 pm

  83. And let’s not forget the train wreck that is the Texas Board of Education’s textbook revisionism.

    Comment by DeepRed — December 6, 2011 @ 10:41 pm

  84. YES YES YES. We hear you, trying to improve the education of those failing the most is bad and should be banned.

    Comment by will — December 7, 2011 @ 6:07 am

  85. I see no fundamental reason why a private sector provider wouldn’t exist.

    Do they exist now? Do private schools currently cater to this highly motivated market?
    Genuine questions.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — December 7, 2011 @ 7:15 am

  86. Gee, no one on this blog if for the Charter schools.

    What we need to do is be truthful.

    Comment by Redbaiter — December 7, 2011 @ 7:37 am

  87. http://www.freakonomics.com/2011/12/06/roland-fryer-identifies-five-habits-of-successful-charter-schools/

    To quote the article:

    Harvard economist Roland Fryer has a new paper out that takes a look at the specific successful habits of charter schools. Fryer collected “unparalleled data” on 35 elementary and middle charter schools in New York City by conducting extensive interviews and videotaping classrooms.

    They showed that traditional solutions like class size, per-pupil expenditure, and the number of teachers with advanced degrees are not correlated with effectiveness, and in fact, “resource-based solutions” actually lowered school effectiveness.

    Instead, they found five qualities that made up about 50 percent of a charter school’s effectiveness. These are:

    1. Frequent teacher feedback
    2. Data driven instruction
    3. High-dosage tutoring
    4. Increased instructional time
    5. Relentless focus on academic achievement.

    Comment by Phil — December 7, 2011 @ 12:16 pm


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