archives

academies

This tag is associated with 11 posts

Education is being hijacked by profiteers

Education reformers like to say they are doing it for the kids. That the reforms will improve the education system. Mountains of evidence shows this is poppycock and that education reforms overwhelmingly lead to profits being more important than the children’s education.

England As An Example

In England, the government has ruled that by 2020 Academies (charter schools by another name) will take over ALL state schools. Forcibly.

Whether parents and students want it or not. Whether the staff want it or not. Whether the school board wants it or not. Whether the school is doing badly or brilliantly.

It’s been mandated: ALL England’s public schools will be handed over to Academies.

Do Academies/Charter Schools Improve Education Systems?

If Academies raised standards, perhaps it would be understandable that the government wishes to hand all schools over.  Acceptable, even. But they don’t.

Pro-reformers will point out this school or that as being improved under the charter school model. But the truth is, they are the exception. Under this model, there is a raft of bad practice: Suspensions rise. Inclusion goes down. Cherry-picking of students takes place. And when similar cohorts are compared between public and charter schools, it is clear that charter schools do not improve results.

Even the UK Department of Education’s own analysis shows that, overall, England’s state schools do better when run by the Local Education Authority than by an Academy Trust.

Which surely begs the question of why this is being done.

Follow The Money

If you want to know the reason for reforms, follow the money.

Ask yourself, who benefits from these changes?

It isn’t the students: England’s national and international test results have fallen since Academies were put in place.

It isn’t teachers: Classroom teachers’ work conditions and pay are often far worse in Academies.

So just who is raking in the money? You might want to take a look at Academy Trusts’ CEOs. And while you’re at it, have a look at the misappropriations and frauds that have already happened in Academies. (A reminder – that’s your tax money they are taking. Money that is meant to be used to educate students.)

And where are savings being made, to pay these CEOs? Excellent question.

Are Academy CEOs such brilliant businessfolk that they are able to use money so much more wisely than LEAs and school principals ever did? Is running a thriving carpet empire or a successful mobile phone business what it takes to make an education system great?

No, not so much.

UK Schools Minister Nick Gibb recently said, in a speech championing Academies, that “[n]o child should have to spend one day more than necessary in an underperforming school and as an urgent matter of social justice we are determined to spread educational excellence to every corner of the country.”

But does the rhetoric match the reality?

Indeed not, and the list of failures grows daily, with evidence showing that in England LEA schools out-perform Academies.

So what is really going on?

Cost Cutting and Untrained Staff

Let’s take this Academy school as an example.

Hatfield Academy primary school was, in 2015, rated inadequate at many levels.  The OFSTED report specifically said that teaching was inadequate and stated that the school must “[u]rgently improve the quality of teaching”.

And yet this failing Academy is happily advertising for someone with no training at all to teach its students: 

Academy job cropped

No training.

No knowledge of pedagogies. No research of good practice. No understanding of child development or psychology.

No. Training.

None.

To put this further into context, this is a school where a school survey of parents showed that:

  • 27% felt their child/ren were not making good progress at the school.
  • 45% felt the school is not well led or well managed.
  • 42% felt the school does not deal well with concerns raised, and
  • 40% of parents said they would NOT recommend this school to another parent.
This is a school that thinks, with all of the above in mind, that employing untrained staff to teach students is acceptable.

This is global education reform.

~ Dianne

New Zealand, a warning: The forcible conversion of England’s schools to Academies (Charter Schools), by John Palethorpe

no academy

I could never work in an Academy. As an educator, a professional and a passionate believer in universal education, they represent a corruption of the principles of equal access to free education. Not only that, the long litany of problems involving finance, curriculum alterations and mistreatment of students and staff clearly outline that Academy schools aren’t great places to work. A friend of mine wrote beautifully on the subject a little while ago now.

In New Zealand we have Charter Schools a half formed cargo cult version. They’re already in trouble due to finance, curriculum and mistreatment of students and staff. Sounds awfully familiar.

The first UK Academy opened in 2002. Their introduction was aimed at reinventing inner city schools with significant results and management problems. Then sponsors got involved, either rich individuals or corporations (including educorps). They were supposed to bring in private sector best practice and management, like most privatisation is supposed to.

In May 2010 the Conservative-Liberal Democrat (Lib Dem) Coalition came to power in the UK. There were, at the time, 203 Academies in the UK – mostly Secondary Schools.

nut-no-academies-placard1The term of the Tory education secretary Michael Gove saw a radical expansion of Academies. This was often as a result of OFSTED inspections, some of which classed schools as failing only a year or two after they had been called outstanding. Some schools were forced into becoming Academies, against the will of pupils’ parents.

Today there are 4,516 academies; 2,075 out of 3,381 secondary schools and 2,440 of 16,766 primary schools. The expansion was so rapid that many private Academy trusts took on more schools than they could cope with, leading to those schools failing and being taken back by the DfE until another Academy group could be found to take over. The free market of schools.

“It was the middle of last week when I heard that I could never work in the UK again as a teacher”

It was the middle of last week when I heard that I could never work in the UK again as a teacher. I’ve no plans to move back, I love Aotearoa New Zealand, but the crunching finality of knowing that there’d be no place that I could conscientiously work was sudden and upsetting.

In the Budget, Chancellor George Osborne (not the pig tampering one, the one who looks like a pig) announced that all English schools would be converted into Academies by 2020. Every single one of them.

What does this mean? Well, given the evidence already available it would mean none of the UK’s schools would be bound to teach the National Curriculum, instead being charged to provide a ‘broad and balanced’ curriculum. So what you’re taught in one school may be radically different from another. Not teaching style, actual content.

It’s not great for pupils, in more ways than one. Many Academies have operated a subtle and not so subtle selection process, choosing only pupils who are likely to be able to improve their results. Others, when dealing with those who are disruptive or failing, have placed pupils on study leave during exam or inspection periods, or placed them in study support centres outside of the school. This can take the form of pupils and parents being asked to leave by the school, rather than being excluded (which would show up in the all important league tables). Now that every school is to become an Academy, where do those pupils go?

Academies have, over the long term, not been proven to raise results any more significantly than schools in the UK operating under the LEA’s (Local Education Authorities, which will soon be defunded and dissolved). In fact, Academies have come under fire for exactly the same issues that LEA schools had in management, results and organisation, the same issues which saw the schools be forced to convert! Conversion turns every school into an individual Ltd company and scythes out the level of local support and oversight that was previously provided by the LEA. On such a huge scale, that’s far too much for the Department for Education to handle.

It’s going to cost money too. Newly converting Academies get a 10% funding boost, at a time when state funded schools have seen budgets cut year on year. But due to the rapid expansion of Academy schools and the lack of oversight, many have had to be bailed out by the Department for Education. I guess bringing in the ‘best of the private sector’ does mean being utterly sure the Government will spend millions trying to salvage the mess you make.

Overall, it’s had a huge impact on the profession. Academies are not bound by the collectively negotiated pay structure, meaning the UK’s Teaching Unions will have to bargain with individual Academy Trusts and schools. They’re also not bound by the negotiated terms and conditions of contract for teachers, which means many teachers find themselves on-call permanently or schools have employed teachers on the equivalent of zero hours contracts. The trend for Academies to lack unionisation, because of the ease with which you can be dismissed, makes this even harder.

NUT-save-our-schoolsIt’s not great for Academies, either, though. Without a national pay structure, schools who can find more money will get the better teachers. Schools with wealthy backers will have more than schools that don’t.

As a male Primary teacher, I’m relatively certain that I’d be paid more than a female doing the same job with the same experience. Why? Because I’m rarer. Teaching is one of the few professions where pay equality was built in already. And they’re getting rid of it.

“Academies don’t have to employ qualified teachers”

There’s also the question of professionalism itself. Academies don’t have to employ qualified teachers. And hidden in the announcement of Academisation was the change to Qualified Teacher Status.

Previously, Newly Qualified Teachers (NQT’s) were assessed over the course of a year or two to see if they were able to meet the standards for a qualified teacher. With a huge teacher shortage looming in the UK, the plan is to allow teachers to teach for longer in the classroom and be certified by their Headteacher and a Senior Staff member.Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says this will drive up standards, and drive is an important word. She announced that allowing teachers longer to qualify and removing the strict schedule teachers had to meet will allow those NQTs who struggle more chances to make it.

As an experienced teacher, I look back on my NQT period as far, far less intensive than doing the job in the years that followed. It’s being presented as like a driving test, just because you fail doesn’t mean you’re a bad driver, right?

“…reducing the standards you require of a teacher doesn’t drive up standards and professionalism, it drives it over a cliff”

Fair enough, but with one report saying teachers would have up to a DECADE to pass, it makes you ask – if it takes you ten years to pass your driving test, maybe you’re just not a driver? Buy a bike. Or walk. Some people just aren’t meant for the classroom, some people just aren’t teachers and the attempt to try and fill the rapidly depleting profession by reducing the standards you require of a teacher doesn’t drive up standards and professionalism, it drives it over a cliff.

It also makes it trickier for teachers to do as I did and head overseas. There’s been a mass exodus of teachers from the English system, coincidentally or otherwise, in the last six years. By shifting the QTS award to something less substantial, overseas authorities may very well view them as insufficient evidence of an ability to teach. I’m glad I left when I did; others in future may not be so lucky.

There is already a growing and vocal opposition to all of the plans outlined above, as well there should. Announcing you’re ditching LEA oversight and support of schools, dumping the need for any school to employ qualified teachers, dropping the National Curriculum, scrapping nationally negotiated terms and conditions and placing schools in a bidding war for new teachers is a huge and complete evidence free attack on the quality and professionalism of education in the UK.

“For me there’s sadness.”

For me there’s sadness. My love of teaching was developed, as a student, in the UK system that’s now being explosively dismantled. I spent the first five years of my teaching career safe in the knowledge that I was a public servant, providing fair and equal education to all of my children as a professional. I was paid the same as anyone else who was experienced as I was, and I could talk with teachers from around the country about the curriculum and its delivery in the knowledge that we were all working together as equals. It was an education system for the whole country. If these plans are implemented, it won’t be any more.

In Aotearoa we should take lessons from the way in which Academy failures were written off or marginalised to the public and how concerted political pressure on inspection agencies led to the dramatic spread of privatised schools. The few Charter Schools in this country are already struggling, and what has happened in the UK this week shows us the future of education if they’re allowed to spread further.

no-to-an-academy_nut.jpg

~ John Palethorpe

Further reading:

Michael Rosen on academy schools: ‘Local democracy bites the dust’ – Guardian

England’s largest academy chain ‘failing too many pupils’ – BBC news

New academies laws were passed by Parliament last night: here is what they mean for you and your school – Time Educational Supplement (TES)

Anti Academy Alliance

 

 

Who is benefiting from the education reform movement?

Just who benefits from the education reform movement? In countries with charter schools and academies, exam passes and PISA scores have gone down. Teachers’ working conditions have worsened. But someone must be benefiting otherwise why would reformers be pushing so much money into lobbying politicians to open even more charter schools?

With that in mind, ponder this list:

swag bag

 

Sir Bruce Liddington, former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and head of the Academies Division.He was one of the chief architects of the Academies Programme before sliding seamlessly into the private sector to pocket £300,000 (NZ$600k) pa. salary plus benefits as CEO of EACT Academy chain (England). Source

 

 

 

swag bagFormer teachers from the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School in Dayton testified at the board’s monthly meeting in Columbus about years of misconduct. Some said they had been afraid to come forward before finding new jobs.”

““I know of one student who failed the 7th grade and then had to repeat the year with the agreement with (an administrator) that she would be promoted to the 9th grade if she passed 7th grade during the second attempt. She indeed completely skipped 8th grade and all associated curriculum,” [testifying teacher] Kochensparger said.”  Source

 

swag bag

 

Kings Science Academy, England, was last year investigated and ““serious failings” were found in the school’s financial management with allegations that £80,000 worth of public money had not been used for its intended purpose”. Source

 

 

swag bag

 

“COLUMBUS, OH—A federal grand jury has indicted four people, alleging that they offered and accepted bribes and kickbacks as part of a public corruption conspiracy in their roles as managers and a consultant for Arise! Academy, a charter school in Dayton, Ohio.”  Source: FBI Press Release, June 2014

 

 

swag bag

 

Michael Gove (ex UK Education Minister)’s favourite Academy chain, run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust, is in the middle of a £2m (~$4m NZ) fraud investigation.  The Guardian reports “The alleged fraud, which comes after Haberdashers’ Knights Academy was judged by Ofsted in November to have “serious weaknesses”, is likely to raise questions about the freedom given to academies.”

 

 

swag bag

 

Charter School Fraud Totals $30 Million, Education Groups Launch State-by-State Investigation: “the Center for Popular Democracy, Integrity in Education and ACTION United released a report titled “Fraud and Financial Mismanagement in Pennsylvania’s Charter Schools” that exposes at least $30 million lost to waste, fraud, and abuse in Pennsylvania since the passage of that state’s charter school law in 1997 and was the subject of a Philadelphia Inquirer exclusive

 

 

swag bagThe “Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud and Abuse” report focused on 15 states representing large charter markets, out of the 42 states that have charter schools.

Drawing on news reports, criminal complaints, regulatory findings, audits and other sources, it “found fraud, waste and abuse cases totaling over $100 million in losses to taxpayers,” but warned that due to inadequate oversight, “the fraud and mismanagement that has been uncovered thus far might be just the tip of the iceberg.” Source 

 

swag bag

 

Academy hear teacher, Sir Greg Martin’s pay jumped by 56% last year giving him him a total salary package of £229,138 (~ NZ$460k).  “Sir Greg is the executive head of Durand Academy in South London.

The National Audit Office said there were a ‘large number of conflicts of interest’ in the way the academy was managed.” Source 

 

 

swag bag

 

A study of KIPP charter schools found that they receive “‘an estimated $6,500 more per pupil in revenues from public or private sources’ compared to local school districts.” But only a scant portion of that disproportionate funding – just $457 in spending per pupil – could accurately be accounted for “because KIPP does not disclose how it uses money received from private sources. Source

 

 

swag bag

 

The director of the now-closed New Hope Institute of Science and Technology charter school in Milwaukee, was convicted in federal court of embezzling $300,000 in public money and sentenced to two years in prison.  She spent about $200,000 on personal expenses, including cars, funeral arrangements and home improvement.

 

 

 

swag bag

 

The troubled Hartford charter school operator FUSE was dealt another blow Friday when FBI agents served it with subpoenas to a grand jury that is examining the group’s operations. When two Courant reporters arrived at FUSE offices on Asylum Hill on Friday morning, minutes after the FBI’s visit, they saw a woman feeding sheaves of documents into a shredder.  Source: The Hartford Courant, July 18, 2014

 

 

swag bagAn FBI raid on a charter school in East Baton Rouge is the latest item in a list of scandals involving the organization that holds the charter for the Kenilworth Science and Technology School. … Pelican Educational Foundation runs the school and has ties to a family from Turkey. The school receives about $5,000,000 in local, state, and federal tax money. … the FBI raided the school six days after the agency renewed the Baton Rouge school’s charter through the year 2019.” Source: The Advocate, January 14, 2014

 

 

 

swag bag

 

The head of an an English Academy chain run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust was ordered to repay £4.1m (~$8m NZ) taken fraudulently.

Not a penny had been repaid as of mid 2014.

 

 

swag bag

 

“An academy superhead paid £120,000 (~ NZ$250k) a year has told how he deserves a pay rise because his salary is “low” compared with those in other industries.

Liam Nolan, chief executive of Perry Beeches Academy Trust, Birmingham, said a review should be carried out into senior leadership pay in state schools to make the job more attractive.”

 

 

The list could go on and on and on.  Go do a search for “charter school fraud” or “mismanagement academy” and see the huge raft of worrying reports that come back.

Someone is benefiting from the education reform movement: The big question is, who?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading:  http://academiesweek.co.uk/academy-trusts-how-the-big-five-rate/

 

England’s Academy schools – are they all they’re cracked up to be?

New Zealand has Partnership Schools, the USA has Charter Schools, and England has Academies.  They’re all much of a muchness, state schools passed off into private hands with the promise of educational improvement for students.  But are they all they’re cracked up to be?

In The Guardian, Michelle Hanson questions whether the promise matches the hype.

She asks:

“If a school needs perking up and fancies a uniform, Latin, Vera Wang tea sets and no national curriculum, fine – but why call them academies?

Why not just schools?

What’s the difference?

We pay for them. Not the sponsors.”

A headteacher who found himself out on his ear when his school was made into an Academy observes:

“They mostly seem to be run by dodgy, spiv businesspeople,” says Fielding, understandably bitter, because the school to which he had dedicated his life became an academy.

In came the sickening corporate mantras, the uber-swanky furniture, the slick management speak, squillion-pound makeover, and out went Fielding, along with everyone else in the NUT [National Union of Teachers], and any heart.

“I smell a rat,” says he, “but I don’t know what it is.”

Hanson thinks she knows what the rat is, and so do I: Money.

follow-the money

She observes that certain parties were quick to capitalise on the money-making potential of Academies :

Capita was fairly quick off the mark to spot “market opportunities” supplying IT systems as schools switched to academy status.

“Leading academy chain” E-ACT had a culture of “extravagant” expenses, “prestige” venues and first-class travel and has been criticised for “widespread financial irregularities”; another academy superhead, Jo Shuter, snaffled up £7,000 of school money to pay for her 50th birthday.

Exam results

And yet for all that, England’s GCS exam results were lower this year, not higher.

It’s the same for A levels, too – in 2014 the pass level went down.

And England’s PISA results are nothing to write home about, either.

So What’s the Motive for Academies?

If financial irregularities are much more of an issue than when schools were run by local authorities…

and OFSTED (England’s ERO) is under investigation for giving Academies far more notice that they are visiting  than the half-day’s notice non-Academies get…

and exam results are going down…

… it’s kind of hard to argue that Academies have brought improvement.

At which point you really do have to start asking yourself what the real motive for Academies and the worldwide push for “charterisation” is.

You might want to start by asking who benefits from them, because it certainly isn’t the education system, teachers, taxpayers or students.

~ Dianne

follow the money

Yet more Charter Schools under investigation

fraud

There’s barely a day when more revelations don’t come out of charter schools being investigated, and not a month goes by without fraud being mentioned, and yet New Zealand’s Education Minister is still touting them as a good way forward.  It really does beggar belief.

In the USA this week: “The Ohio Board of Education ordered an immediate investigation of a chain of 19 charter schools in the state today after hearing allegations of test cheating, attendance tampering, sexual misconduct and other misdeeds.

Former teachers from the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School in Dayton testified at the board’s monthly meeting in Columbus about years of misconduct. Some said they had been afraid to come forward before finding new jobs.”

““I know of one student who failed the 7th grade and then had to repeat the year with the agreement with (an administrator) that she would be promoted to the 9th grade if she passed 7th grade during the second attempt. She indeed completely skipped 8th grade and all associated curriculum,” [testifying teacher] Kochensparger said.”  Source

 

England’s Academies and Free schools are faring no better, again with revelations of shenanigans week on week.

This week’s bombshell is that the former Education Secretary, Michael Gove’s favourite Academy chain run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust, is in the middle of a £2m (~$4m NZ) fraud investigation.

The Guardian reports “The alleged fraud, which comes after Haberdashers’ Knights Academy was judged by Ofsted in November to have “serious weaknesses”, is likely to raise questions about the freedom given to academies. ”

So, both fraudulent and not providing a good education.  Marvellous.  I can see how that’s likely to raise standards and give children better opportunities.

 

Okay, so given that they don’t perform any better than the original systems they replaced AND they are a breeding ground fraud and other goings on, why do politicians still forge ahead with them?  Here Mark Naison explains why charters are so popular with certain groups.  It’s a short but rather good overview and well worth watching:

 

It seems to me that in the mark of the new millennium is that anything is okay if it makes someone money.

 

As Diane Ravitch said: “Sometimes it is hard to believe that anyone cares anymore about old-fashioned things like integrity, honesty, accountability, and transparency…”

 

___________________________________

Further reading:

http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.co.nz/

http://dianeravitch.net/2013/12/27/gulen-charter-schools-embroiled-in-international-disputes/

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/education/free-school-at-centre-of-police-inquiry-holds-meeting-for-parents-1-6727283

http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/199606941.html

http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/Fraud%20and%20misrepresentation

 

 

 

Deregulated schools – warnings from abroad

charter schools by Tom ScottNext time someone tells you charter schools are about choice and that privatising the education system is a good move, you might want to point them to the other sides of the story.

Look at the job the power companies have done – Privatisation is not necessarily better for the consumer.

And in this case, the consumers are our children – the next generation.

And whilst some politicians and businesses are all for a privatised education system, teachers and parents are not.  Ask yourself why that might be?  Last time I looked, teachers and parents weren’t in it for the money…

Look to what has happened and is happening in overseas public education systems that have been ‘reformed’:

 

Sweden

“The Swedish school system is often cited by Michael Gove as a model of best practice. However, like America its experiment with for-profit education has had disastrous consequences.

In May, JB Education, one of the largest for-profit education providers in the country went bust leaving the future of 10,000 pupils in limbo.

Ibrahim Baylan, the education spokesman for Sweden’s opposition Social Democratic party, says closures should come as a warning to the UK not to slavishly adopt the Swedish model, where private companies can set up profit-making free schools, paid for by the state but with little government oversight:

“Before you do something like this you have to really, really think about how you set up the system. The system here is not working as it’s supposed to work. Nobody could foresee that so many private equity companies would be in our school system as we have today.””

 

USA

“Despite consuming billions every year in taxpayer-funded student loans for-profit universities have a terrible record of success. Only one in five students graduate, and students at for-profit colleges are much more likely to default on their loans.  This is partly a result of their recruitment practices, with for-profit colleges often targeting people (including the homeless) who simply do not have the financial resources to pay loans back.

The US’ experience of allowing for-profit companies to run schools (often described as the CharterSchool movement) has also been mired in controversy.

Former Under-Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch, who served under George Bush and Bill Clinton and was an initial supporter of Charter Schools, came up with the following summary:

“Charter schools are leading us to having a dual school system again. We’re going back to the period before Brown v. Board of Education, but the differentiation in the future will be based on class instead of race.

“Corporations aren’t going to put more money into the school, they’re only going to make money. This should make people in America angry. There ought to be a public uprising about this effort to destroy public education.””

 

England

Academies and charters - taking public schools“In a new report, the Public Accounts Select Committee questions the role of the Education Funding Agency with regard to school funding. The Chair of the Committee said:

“[The Agency] needs to do more to address potential conflicts of interest in academies.

We were concerned that individuals with connections to both academy trusts and private companies may have benefited from their position when providing trusts with goods and services. The Agency has reviewed 12 such cases but it is likely that many more exist and have gone unchallenged”.”

 

New Zealand

Be very clear that what is happening in New Zealand is part of the global education reform movement (GERM) and is not isolated.

Worldwide, education systems are being broken up and handed over to businesses so that your taxes can go into private hands.  Education does not improve, Students do not fare better.

A fragmented, secretive, and privatised system is not the best way.

 

_________________________________________________

Source: http://educationnotforsale.org/about-the-campaign/

 

Charter Schools and Privatisation: It’s not about school choice

no choice

Reformers tell you charter schools are all about choice, right?

So, where’s the choice in England where schools are being FORCED against community wishes to become Academies (their version of charter schools)?

  • “The policy of forced conversion has led to a number of high profile battles, such as Downhills Primary in north London and Roke Primary in Croydon, which both opposed the move. Both schools were eventually taken over by the Harris Federation.” (1)

Where’s the choice in New Orleans’ Recovery District, now ALL schools there are charters and students are allocated a school place by lottery?

  • “Of the Recovery School District’s 600 employees, 510 will be out of a job by week’s end. All 33,000 students in the district must apply for a seat at one of the 58 public charter schools, relying on a computerized lottery to determine placement.” (2)

And what about in New Zealand?

  • One of Government’s six assessment areas for charter schools scheduled to open at the beginning of next year is “schools based in areas of roll growth”.

In other words, where a public school would have opened there could now be a charter school in its place. (4)

New Zealand charter schools are sneakily being proposed INSTEAD OF public schools.

Your choice?

Now look again at your local primary school and ask yourself how happy you will be further down the line when it is forcibly made into a charter school.

About as happy as the parents and school governors fighting tooth and nail to prevent is in England, I imagine.

“Roger Sahota, one of the deposed governors, claimed that the results were emphatic. “We conducted a ballot[of students’ parents] in the aftermath of the head’s resignation. We found 147 against academy status, 14 for and five didn’t know,” he said.” (3)

Choice?  Nope.

Privatisation of the state system by stealth?  Indeed.

NZ, beware of what is to come.

__________________________________________________

References and further reading:

(1) http://news.tes.co.uk/b/news/2014/01/02/number-of-primary-schools-forced-into-academies-more-than-doubled-in-2013.aspx

(2) http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/in-new-orleans-traditional-public-schools-close-for-good/2014/05/28/ae4f5724-e5de-11e3-8f90-73e071f3d637_story.html

(3) http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6196132

(4) http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/10096559/Faith-based-charter-school-puts-hand-up

 

And the next step for charter schools will be …

… to follow in the footsteps of England and start forcibly taking over public schools and handing them over to charter schools.

And why would they do that?

Well, because of this:

Academies and charters - taking public schools

* Tory = National

Still think they’re a good idea?

 

England’s Academies – poor standards and fraud: is this what we have to look forward to in NZ with Charter Schools?

closedBreaking news – TEN of England’s Academies (charter schools by another name) have been closed due to “serious concerns over education standards”.  Gone, just like that.

And the Telegraph reports that a number of Academy chains “have already been told that they cannot take on any more academies until concerns over standards have been addressed” (3) so it isn’t just this chain (E-ACT) that are under the microscope.

When the UK Labour party trumpeted Academies and Free Schools (charter schools) ten years ago, they promised a rise in standards, a brave new world of innovation and brilliance, and it has plainly failed to materialise.

Like New Zealand charter schools, Academies are funded by government and “have complete freedom to alter the curriculum, staff pay and to reshape the school day and academic year.” Around 3,500 English state schools are now Academies, and just like other English state schools, some are good, some okay and some just plain terrible.  That said, even the worst of the school districts never had as many schools closed as “failing schools” as Academies have managed to clock up, and that in itself is rather telling.

“Of course some academies have done well, although increasingly the evidence suggests that this is more the result of changing intakes rather than a ‘magic dust’ sprinkled by sponsors.” (2)

What does this mean for New Zealand?  We have been given the same promises, the same utopian vision, that other countries were given in order to usher in the privatisation of public schools.  Well, it’s likely we will fare the same as England, the USA and Sweden, with a broad spread of quality and really no overall improvement in education quality at all.  In fact, if PISA is your thing, the catapult down the rankings since privatisation for those countries has been quite monumental.

Which does beg the question why we are going down this path at all, if it doesn’t improve anything.

Well maybe privatisation does improve something? Improvement in education, it might be argued, never was the goal; maybe privatisation is itself the goal?

The 1 percentIt has to be admitted that in that regard, it has been a resounding success as, worldwide, fewer public schools exist and more of the education system is in private hands.

More public schools owned and run by private entities = More public funds going to the pockets of businesses and the 1%.  Goal achieved.

If you think that’s pie in the sky, check this out:

EACT’s catastrophe is a personal humiliation for Sir Bruce Liddington, former Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education and head of the Academies Division.

He was one of the chief architects of the Academies Programme before sliding seamlessly into the private sector to pocket £300,000 (NZ$600k) pa. salary plus benefits as CEO of EACT Academy chain

Add to that the number of investigations into financial irregularities and money mismanagement and a picture is revealed of fat cats misappropriating funds meant for educating students:

Kings Science Academy,  West Yorkshire was last year investigated and ““serious failings” were found in the school’s financial management with allegations that £80,000 worth of public money had not been used for its intended purpose”. (1)

Priory Federation of  Academies Trust – the Department for Education found evidence of “serious failings” in the running of the trust, which operates four schools. These included its chief executive paying for horse-riding lessons for his son out of trust funds, receiving “personal items of an inappropriate nature” (sex games and supplements) paid for on a Federation credit card, and the use of trust credit cards “to purchase items at supermarkets and meals at restaurants” in France. (1)

E-ACT was censured by the Education Funding Agency in May 2013 for lavish spending. It was reported to have £393,000 of “financial irregularities” … It paid for monthly lunches at the prestigious Reform Club, first-class travel for senior executives in defiance of a ruling they should go standard class, and spent £16,000 on an annual strategy meeting in a hotel – of which £1,000 was spent on drinks and room hire. (1)

And there we have it. For the architects of the Global Education Reform Movement (GERM), money-grubbing mission achieved.

Sources:

(1) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/revealed-police-investigate-lost-162000-at-academy-school-9134753.html

(2) http://antiacademies.org.uk/2014/02/eact-have-10-schools-removed-the-academies-programme-is-dead/

(3) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/10659289/Academies-chain-stripped-of-10-under-performing-schools.html

politicians-and-private-schools

.

Untrained Teachers Wanted For Failing School

This is how it goes: the government trumpets a new-fangled fabulous school system, throw money at it, the schools themself say how great they are, and then they are found to be failing.  Not just doing okay, but failing.

This is what people are fearful will happen in New Zealand, with charter schools,

The South Leeds Academy in England is an example of where it can all go wrong. The charity running the school says it has “a proven track record of securing transformational change and sustainable school improvement”.  However, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools Lord Nash lambasted the school for its “unacceptably low standards of performance of pupils”.

But maybe they are going to up their game?

Well it’s not looking promising, because to add insult to injury, after they were found to be failing, they advertised for two new maths teachers with this as their criteria:

unqualified maths teachers

Yes, that’s right – apparently all you need to teach maths to high school students is a GCSE (equivalent to NCEA1).  This is to teach students who you would hope to gain higher than NCEA1 in maths.  Huh?

And sadly this is evident in many charter schools, free schools, academies, or whatever you want to call them, worldwide.  It happens in the USA, in Britain, in Sweden.

Those pushing to allow unqualified teachers argue they are for the benefit of students.  Yet the Stanford University report Inequality in Teaching and Learning states that “The fact that the least-qualified teachers typically end up teaching the least-advantaged students is particularly problematic.”

Observers note that allowing unqualified staff is not about getting “top professionals such as engineers to become teachers [but] about teaching on the cheap.”

Now tell me again we have nothing to worry about…

_____________________________________

Sources:

http://storify.com/teacherROAR/does-being-good-at-sudoku-count

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/outrage-as-failing-south-leeds-academy-seeks-unqualified-maths-teachers-8957741.html

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/mar/31/schools-hiring-unqualified-teachers-money

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/26/poor-schools-continue-to-_n_788609.html

http://www.stanford.edu/~ldh/publications/LDH-Post-Inequality.pdf

 

 

 

The Parents, The Politician and The Moneymakers – A warning for NZ schools

The Parents, The Politician and the Carpetbagger is a short film that follows parents and teachers from Downhills School, England as they try to stop Education secretary, Michael Gove, forcing their school to become part of the Harris academy chain.   The parents, teachers and community fight to prevent it happening.  Watch it now.

The film challenges Department of Education claims that academies out perform non-academies, which they don’t.

It reveals how local authorities are being bullied into serving up schools for forced academisation, just to keep the Minister sweet.

How they were made to sound like raving Communists.

How they were inspected and found to  have good teachers and governance and be improving – then at the behest of Gove they were suddenly re-inspected and found to be failing in all areas.

It shows who is set to profit from the privitisation of schools.

This is a must watch for anyone wanting to know what New Zealand is letting itself in for.

Watch it now.

 

 

Follow Save Our Schools NZ on WordPress.com

Category list:

StatCounter

%d bloggers like this: