you're reading...
Charter Schools, Education, GERM (Global Education Reform Movement), Government Policy, Maori & Pasifika Education, New Zealand, Partnership Schools, Privatisation of state schools, SOSNZ

Charter school rhetoric and scaremongering

fearThere was a comment on the blog this morning that covers many of the criticisms myself and others arguing against charter schools face.  The message from Grant says:

“Of course trained teachers would NEVER accept payment should they fail to achieve the results expected of them.

Isn’t it interesting that the Government still leaves children in the care of untrained teachers between the hours of 3pm and 9 am and during school holidays (their parents) and somehow these bumbling fools manage to educate their offspring.

There is a lot of rhetoric and scaremongering going on from a sector of society who I think fears that their monopoly situation being undermined might expose them for what they are.

Let’s review this blog in 5 years time and see if the predictions are realised, or whether your unspoken fears are really what is at stake there. (Maybe you should honestly own up to what you really fear).”

This is my reply:


My concerns are not unspoken – they are spoken loudly and with conviction, and are based on a lot of very detailed research.

change is a good thing chopI do not fear change; I fear ill-thought-out change.

This particular change is for political gain not for children.  I am very happy to keep reviewing the situation, indeed that is just what I do every day – I wouldn’t be much of an educator if I didn’t!  So far, with every passing day there is just more evidence that we should be concerned.


To address your assumptions that I support a monopoly in education I will point out (yet again) that I support Steiner, Montessori, state integrated, kura kaupapa, private schools, special schools,  and so on.   Oh yes, and I do support parents who wish to teach their children themselves.   In fact one of the SOSNZ admins is a home schooler.  Go figure.

Poor Learning Results

What I do not support is public funds being spent on an ideological experiment that does not provide a better education for students.

I would advise you to read through the CREDO research, which is part states that there is a “wide variation in the effect of charter schools upon pupils’ achievement.  At the national level, 17 percent of the charter schools examined, “provide[d] superior education opportunities for their students,” 46 percent produced results that were not statistically different from local schools and 37 percent provided learning results that were worse than their pupils would have achieved if they had stayed in regular state schools.”

This is hardly a compelling improvement, is it?

The Big Question

In the end, it seems some charters perform well, some perform okay, and some perform poorly – just like any other system in fact.

So my big question is this: why throw money at charters instead of improving the schools we have?   Better teacher training, better professional development, more support for children struggling or with special needs, keeping the programmes that have shown to work with Maori and Pasifika, and so on?  All of these things are being cut back.  How does that help improve teaching and learning?

Your Evidence, Please

If you have good quality research and information (not funded by the charters themselves) that shows charters working well for poorer and minority groups and if you have any information whatsoever about what charters in New Zealand are to offer that is so miraculous, then I would ask you to share it so I can review and consider it.

I leave you with this thought:  Given the outrageously negative way you and others speak about Kiwi public schools and teachers, is it not the pro-charter school lobby that are scaremongering, rather than those opposing them?


About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


3 thoughts on “Charter school rhetoric and scaremongering

  1. Well said Dianne. When Charter schools (and National Standards for that matter) were first mooted by this education hating government I went searching for evidence that might support their sad educational policies.
    What i found was plenty of independent evidence that showed the policies were flawed.
    The only information that supported these policies was produced and perpetuated by political groups. That immediately told me what my position should be.
    Thanks for the awesome job you are doing.
    Kelvin Woodley
    Principal – Tapawera Area School


    Posted by Kelvin Woodley | June 8, 2013, 11:15 am
  2. Yes, very well said, Dianne. Thank you for saying so well what so many of us are thinking. As you say, we do not fear change – we just fear change for change’s sake, and change that is designed to make a profit for businessmen at the expense of our young people.


    Posted by Alison | June 8, 2013, 6:54 pm
  3. What is interesting about these Charter Schools is the NIMBY (not in my backyard) attitude of its main proponents from National and ACT. The spurious argument that it will benefit Maori and Pasifika underachievers is another more sinister slant on why It’s OK to carry out educational experiments on Decile 1 and 2 school children. Because, inherently there’s [racist] assumptions by the drivers of this educational ideology that poor parents (and mainly left-leaning voter parents) won’t have the wherewithal, to fight to protect their state school educational rights. Why not open these schools in Fendalton or Avonhead in Christchurch? The early ‘Red Herrings’ of merging Shirley Boys and Christchurch Boys and CGHS and AGS were cases in point, more likely to show Chch voters that “we [all deciles] are all in this together”. Not one person I spoke to in Chch believed that these elite single-sex, high decile school mergers could even get past the rumour-stage.

    Why not CMS (closures, mergers and supersizingclusters) in Epsom in Auckland – Banks’ electorate, or in Auckland Central – Nikki Kaye’s electorate, or Kohimarama her alma mater suburb? For the same cynical reason. Money and influence. Think how many lawsuits and shoulder-tapping by old-boys and old-girls, if CMS were mooted for the wealthy or 5++ decile schools? Commentators on social media sites have rightly identified that Chisnallwood, a decile 5 school, gained a [temporary] reprieve from closure because of its decile rating. The more cynical kiwis would see Decile rating as an overlay of the political spectrum, with 10’s and 9’s NACT voters and the poor Decile 1’s and 2’s, the sandal-clad voting block squatting on the left fringe.

    The Brave New Aotearoa World has the Alpha’s and Beta’s as captains of industry and fiscal, beneficiary-bashing conservatives labelling themslves as centrist, whne in fact they are ‘neo-liberal’ idealogues. The ‘loonie-left’ (Key’s rhetoric) and other sandal-wearing, tree-hugging Iota’s and Kappa’s inhabit the poorest fringes of society. Alphas and Betas rape and pillage conservation estate areas, fire conservation workers and take away the right to protest about deep-sea oil, while the Decile 1’s and 2’s parents are perceived to be too busy struggling to put more than 2 ‘tax-free’ Weetbix and some ‘Eco-Friendly’ Fonterra milk in their kids’ tummies, to worry about politics of closures.

    Can you imagine in your wildest dreams Banks, Kaye, Parata and Pita Sharples closing, merging and supersizing in their own electorates (or Decile 9 and 10 areas if they are List seats)? The NIMBY expedient educational political experiment was waiting for the perfect storm and it happened in Christchurch. They had an Earthquake, EQC , Decile 1 and 2 schools ripe for the picking, ACT Party Charter Schools skulking like vultures in the wings, and waiting for the scraps once the “Shock Doctrine” Mr Banks – the archetypal villainous Mr Burns from “The Simpsons” and his capitalist-cronie henchmen and hyenas devoured and CSM’d the poor state schools.

    I’d be more tolerant of Charter Schools’ experiments if we have an egalitarian rollout that includes higher decile experimental schools. Examples might be the Banks Street Epsom Cluster, a Kaye Kohimarama Kluster, a Decile 9 and 10 Parata Mana Electorate Cluster and a Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland City) Sharples Cluster. If the political hard-right educational idealogues are going to experiment with the education of children, don’t just “Charlie Foxtrot.” poor schools, “Charlie Foxtrot.” high decile schools as well, then wait for the backlash.


    Posted by Simon Smith | June 9, 2013, 12:27 pm

Share your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Save Our Schools NZ on

Category list:


%d bloggers like this: