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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?


Private schools v. Public Schools

Private schools v. Public Schools


“Assumption is the mother of all f*** ups,” Travis Dane



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