Save Charter Schools Rally

ACT (David Seymour) organised a rally to protest against Government (Chris Hipkins) handling of Partnership Schools, commonly referred to as charter schools:

“This Sunday, Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins will hear directly from students and parents who are devastated by their decision to close Partnership Schools”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Government this week decided to disregard the popularity and success of the schools opting instead to listen to the teachers’ unions.

“Partnership Schools are working. Over 1500 students attend the fledgling schools, most of which have had to turn students away due to rapid growth. Struggling kids are having their lives turned around.

“Neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of Education have visited a Partnership School, nor have they spoken to any of the sponsors of the schools they plan to shut down.

“On Sunday, they will get a chance to listen to the people they have so blatantly disregarded”, says Mr Seymour.

Hipkins seems to be driving an agenda on behalf of the teacher unions who strongly opposed partnership schools, with criticism of a lack of consultation with the schools that currently have contracts to operate.

ACT has a petition here (no numbers of signatories given):

SAVE CHARTER SCHOOLS.

TELL CHRIS HIPKINS TO LEAVE OUR KIDS ALONE.

The kids who go to partnership schools tend to be round bricks in a square education hole.

There was a sizable attendance on a wet day for an issue affecting a small number of people:

Stuff – Seymour: Govt’s ‘weasel’ words on charter school move

ACT leader David Seymour labelled Education Minister Chris Hipkins a “weasel” over legislation to scrap charter schools.

The Labour-led Government was “arrogant” in its consultative approach with charter schools, the MP for Epsom – and the political architect of such schools – said.

Seymour made the comments marching in driving rain with dozens of charter school pupils, their families and supporters up Auckland’s Queen St on Sunday.

Seymour labelled Hipkins a “weasel – so far he’s hiding behind misinformation”.

“He’s refusing to front up to the people that he’s truly affecting”.

“If he thinks making these schools into state schools keeping their special character that attracted the kids in the first place then he does not understand education let alone partner schools.”

“We’re here today to send a message to the government they cannot arrogantly cancel theses kids’ futures.

“If they wanted to be in a state school, they’d be in a state school – why take away their choice?”

Seymour said 12 existing and four planned charter schools officially given the previous National Government’s approval would be affected if the new government’s legislation passes.

“More than 1500 pupils” would lose the schooling their parents had chosen for them, Seymour said.

Several uniformed pupils from Albany’s military academy style Vanguard Military School attended the march.

“I hope the government will realise they’ve made an error that they need to take a take a step back and realise the success of these schools and ask themselves if they shouldn’t be keeping the partnership school model in some form rather than chopping it off the knees before they’ve even really consulted anybody.”

First-time protester Jan Franklin said she was marching “because I believe in these charter schools”.

Despite all his children being educated in state schools, Warkworth resident Barry Houlbrooke said he was there because he “liked the concept of charter schools”.

“I just want to get Jacinda [Ardern] out of education I just want to see people educate their kids outside the state system.”

The vast majority will be happy to remain in traditional type state schools, but they fail a significant number of children who for various reasons don’t fit in to normal education.

Hipkins is determined to deliver a promise made to education unions who support Labour, despite strong concerns of a number of Maori MPs – charter schools are popular as a Maori orientated alternative style of education.

Key questions:

  • Do Partnership Schools provide an effective alternative to kids who have failed in mainstream education?
  • Could ‘special character schools’ do as well within the State system?

 

Leave a comment

36 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  February 12, 2018

    Much better turn out then I predicted- well done. Unfortunately it wont save Charter Schools but it will drive a wedge into Labour Party solidarity. Better still this issue is a mallet that’s useful time and again to knock the stuffing out of our arrogant government.

    To be fair, Labour signalled Charter Schools would be scrutinised closely post election. But that wasn’t what Maori MP’s who supported such schools said. They will now face the wrath of angry Maori parents who know this government may have signed their children’s death warrant… quite literally.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 12, 2018

      Labour’s Maori MP’s are going to be shown up for the hypocrites and liars they are. Door opening for the Maori party next election if they are smart.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  February 12, 2018

        Yes, time for the Maori Party to pull finger and harvest some political goodwill and point scoring.

        Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 12, 2018

    Hipkins is a creep. The worst kind of Labour MP.

    Reply
  3. david in aus

     /  February 12, 2018

    Charter schools are hated by unions because it gives schools and community flexibility outside union rules.
    There is nothing particularly special about charter school except you can change leadership quickly. Leadership and school culture are important factors in a school’s success.
    I hope there is a space in the NZ education system for doing things differently. There are broad range of approaches to education that may work for some. If it does work, you can change pretty quickly.
    I would like to see new charter school specializing in different aspects like art, vocationally orientated, gifted programs and performance arts.

    Reply
  4. alloytoo

     /  February 12, 2018

    is it just me, or was this protest all but invisible to the MSM.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 12, 2018

      Doesn’t fit the false-narrative that the unions care about the student.

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  February 12, 2018

        Is this a false narrative?

        “New Zealand charter schools are repeating the pattern set by US charter schools – cream off the kids you want at enrolment time and leave the most difficult kids for the public schools. Then crow about your success and slag off the public schools to which you have discarded kids with behaviour issues and/or those of lower academic ability.

        Vanguard Military Academy for example, which features in ACT’s campaign to keep charter schools open, has a very high dropout/expulsion rate compared to public schools.
        And despite ACT’s claims that they would expect children with special education needs to be disproportionately enrolled in charter schools, former education minister Hekia Parata was forced to admit that not a single child who would qualify for ORRS funding (special targeted funding for children with special needs) was enrolled in any of the nine charter schools established at that time.”

        I don’t know whether the writer is still a teacher or a union member. (John Minto)

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  February 12, 2018

          Bill on here yesterday was saying how poorly partnership schools were doing academically whilst Minto says today they are creaming the best academic students.

          Doesn’t matter how well partnership schools do the unions will always oppose them as power is more important to them than the students.

          Reply
          • duperez

             /  February 12, 2018

            Is there a corollary?
            Doesn’t matter how well partnership schools don’t do some will always support them as ideology is more important to them than how well specific students do?

            Reply
            • PDB

               /  February 12, 2018

              Not at all – some partnership schools have failed and have been closed down, others are doing very well. What we do have is students, Maori MP’s, Maori groups and parents involved with these partnership schools saying they are making a big difference to kids lives – that is important.

      • Blazer

         /  February 12, 2018

        did you pop …along?

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  February 12, 2018

      I think it’s just you alloytoo. It was on 1ewes & covered in Stuff, The Herald & the ODT. Haven’t checked other online papers but online Stuff & Herald are widely read.

      Was it on NewShub? I never watch that.

      Reply
  5. Bill Courtney

     /  February 12, 2018

    Here is the link I posted recently to my paper looking at the School Leavers stats for charter schools:
    https://saveourschoolsnz.com/2018/01/30/charter-secondary-schools-under-perform-system-level-benchmarks/

    School Leavers is the metric the government uses to assess outcomes from the schooling system and is the metric used in the charter secondary school contracts. 20% of school leavers leaving school without even attaining NCEA Level 1 is a poor result. Also, as the paper sets out, the achievement at Level 2 and above is below that of Decile 3 schools and also for Maori students as a whole within the school system.

    There is little conclusive evidence that the model as a whole produces better outcomes, and this is consistent with the evidence in the USA.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 12, 2018

      All those letters from partnership school students saying they wouldn’t even bother to attend a state school & would just go back to their previous life of drink and drugs must be all a big fraud then Bill?

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  February 12, 2018

        Can you quote figures of kids in charter schools who previously had a ‘previous life of drink and drugs’? How do they match with figures of kids in other schools who had previous lives of drink and drugs?

        Reply
  6. Bill Courtney

     /  February 12, 2018

    Both interesting questions but they also emphasise the key point of the exercise: there is absolutely no rigorous data looking at the true “before” and “after” effects of real students and why they did – or did not – achieve.

    All of your stories are anecdotal and the real concern is that the so-called “strong” evaluation by Martin Jenkins has never gone into this in any detail.

    You scoffed at my comment when I asked, were there any letters from the kids that Vanguard expelled? But ignoring the failures, removing the trouble makers, will do wonders for any set of stats.

    Even given these advantages, the overall result across the model is not flattering.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 12, 2018

      Talking about expelled students is simply your scattergun approach when attacking partnership schools. Over 1000 exclusions/expulsions happen each year in state schools – is that something to be proud of? Should we shut them all down too if it isn’t?

      Bill: “there is absolutely no rigorous data looking at the true “before” and “after” effects of real students and why they did – or did not – achieve.”

      So what are you basing your opposition to partnership schools on? If that is the case shouldn’t the govt be leaving them as they are until such data is available and then make an informed decision as to whether the go or stay based on that?

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  February 12, 2018

        My scattergun approach to attack attacking partnership schools? I just looked back to find an attack.

        Talking about expelled students might be a scattergun approach. That’s how it’s used to proclaim the worth of charter schools.
        “We need charter schools because of all the kids being excluded from state schools,”
        the implication being that those kids end up in charter schools. And the implication being made is that state schools are failing because kids are being excluded. Where does a kid excluded for ongoing violence go? To the charter school or hop on the treadmill of state schools?

        Over 1000 exclusions is nothing to be proud of. Most people whose children are victims of violence at school are most likely to be happy for the perpetrators to be chucked out of the school.

        Any attack I’d make is about the myths surrounding charter schools and how those notions are being used. The chief selling point of the schools to the general public was that they were for the kids who weren’t doing well or couldn’t do well in a state school. At least the chief supporters could acknowledge that in reality they’re just an alternative schooling with rolls as ordinary and diverse as those in other schools.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  February 12, 2018

          duperez: “My scattergun approach to attack attacking partnership schools? I just looked back to find an attack.”

          I was obviously talking to Bill in a conversation you were not part of until the above post – so why are you answering as if you are Bill??

          Have something to confess?

          Reply
          • duperez

             /  February 12, 2018

            I confess I thought I was being accused of attacking.
            I confess I am not Bill and don’t know him.

            I confess I will continue to comment on some of the propaganda people repeat about charter schools.

            Reply
  7. Bill Courtney

     /  February 12, 2018

    Except that Vanguard has a contract with performance standards specifying maximum numbers of expulsions / suspensions / stand downs that it has failed to meet in each year of operation.

    So, the so-called “Rigorous accountability against clearly agreed objectives” that Seymour pushes is just bullshit.

    Reply
    • PDB

       /  February 12, 2018

      How many performance standards do public schools have in regards to expulsions/ suspensions/ stand downs? None?

      How many expulsions/exclusions have partnership schools had and how does it compare to public schools? Do you know?

      Reply
      • duperez

         /  February 12, 2018

        At the risk of being accused of answering for Bill, how big a deal was made in the establishment of state schools or in their history, of them having measurable performance standards in regards to expulsions/ suspensions/ stand downs?

        It should seem strange that a much vaunted critical difference between the systems, a key part of the establishment of the newer system, can be simply be ignored because the results aren’t favourable.

        Should seem strange but it’s no surprise.

        Reply
        • PDB

           /  February 12, 2018

          The irony of course is the PPTA are complaining that the partnership schools aren’t performing perfectly to the standards they wish to attain when they themselves now have no standards.

          Reply
          • david in aus

             /  February 12, 2018

            Unions are against any school standards except for those outside the Union’s influence. Hypocritical.

            Reply
  8. Bill Courtney

     /  February 12, 2018

    PDB: “partnership schools aren’t performing perfectly to the standards they wish to attain when they themselves now have no standards.”

    Can’t understand this.

    The system-wide results I write about are the actual results now – not anything to do with targets of any sort. So, if the charter schools are underperforming the system stats, aren’t the PPTA schools (as you call them) already outperforming the charters?

    By the way, individual school stats on things like age-standardised suspension rates etc. can be found on the Find A School app within the Education Counts website:
    http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/find-school/school/student-engagement/suspensions?district=7603&region=2&school=694

    It’s annoying that they show exclusions but not expulsions.
    .

    Reply

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