Save Our Schools finds little evidence to support the claim by the Māori Party that charter schools are “delivering for our people”.
Closer scrutiny of the schools’ performance against their contracts suggests that none of the three schools with predominantly Māori students is actually meeting their main targets.
The Ministry set targets for student achievement using National Standards as the metric for the primary schools and the “School Leavers with NCEA Level 2” metric as the main target for secondary schools.
But Ministry analysis released in May this year showed that both of the primary schools, Te Kapehu Whetu-Teina in Whangarei and Te Kura Māori o Waatea in Mangere, were evaluated as “Not Met” for student achievement.
Whetu-Teina achieved only 2 of its 18 targets and Waatea achieved none of its 12 targets in 2015 according to the Ministry analysis.
The secondary school based in Whangarei, Te Kura Hourua o Whangarei Terenga Paraoa, reported high NCEA participation-based pass rates but its School Leavers stats showed a different picture.
The Education Counts database showed Paraoa as having 84.6% of School Leavers in 2015 leaving with NCEA Level 1 or above against a target of 84.0%; but its School Leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above figure of 69.2% did not quite reach its contract target of 73.0%.
The Ministry has not released its revised evaluation of the school’s performance against target, as it has only recently acknowledged an inconsistency in how the secondary school contract performance measures have been interpreted.
But on the surface, Paraoa has not reached the key NCEA Level 2 School Leaver target that the Government focuses on.
Finally, we have to keep in mind that the fourth school with predominantly Māori students, based at Whangaruru in Northland, was closed earlier this year by the Minister.
So, on balance, there seems to be little evidence at this early stage to support the claims being made.
– Bill Courtney. Save Our Schools NZ
More than 30 organisations supporting the Tick for Kids campaign leading up to the General Election on 20 September are disappointed to see the latest Household Incomes Report and Economic Survey showing there are still far too many children living in poverty, leading to many going without the basic good and services they need. Children carry a disproportionate burden of poverty in New Zealand, with 22 percent of those aged 0-17 years in poverty because policies do not maintain adequate income levels for young families and housing costs lead to high outgoings.
Director of Mana Ririki, and Tick for Kids spokesperson, Anton Blank said, “The report confirms the difference that can be made to New Zealanders’ standard of living when the right policies are in place. Older people are a powerful lobby group – consequently the political parties have responded with policies that provide a guaranteed minimum level of income that keeps up with inflation and wage growth. Just 7 percent of those over 65 years live in poverty.
“The report released today is a reminder of what happens when voters and political parties ignore children. It shows a widening gap in the incomes of those on benefits and those on wages, particularly for sole parent families. It also shows that half of families living in rental accommodation and receiving the Accommodation Supplement are paying more than 50 percent of their incomes on housing costs.
“Successive governments have neglected children and voters have allowed them to do so. As a result, children are those most likely to live in poverty – with all of the negative health and education impacts that result from it. The reports shows that:
“Anyone concerned to ensure that New Zealand is a secure, productive and creative nation needs to call on political parties to prioritise children. It is time to build the political consensus that ensures children have a standard of living that supports their development and meets our nation’s legal obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Mr Blank.
Within a month, unless the two teacher organisations have united, and on an agreed programme, teachers will find themselves near powerless, and at the fate of Hekia Parata, Peter Hughes, John Key, John Hattie, Andreas Schleicher, Core, Cognition, and overseas multi-nationals. For this to happen, Phil Harding will probably need to be pushed aside. But that is up to him.
My ministry source tells me that the ministry coffee talk is all about how Hekia Parata and representatives of Nga-Kura-a-Iwi (Iwi Education Authority) seem to have worked together to harass Judith Nowotarski, president of NZEI.
Delegates at the conference were taken aback at the way Pem Bird and Hekia combined to to put Judith down.
What was that all about delegates asked?
The issue in question was the protest by NZEI in Auckland and Wellington against pay inequities of support staff in schools and the wider community.
Hekia set the tone, saying that ‘she was disappointed with the protest timing, especially given NZEI’s involvement in the organisation of the summit …’
Then a cold threat: ‘We will continue to try to work together but it does take two.’
I interpret this as utu from the National Party section of Ngati Porou. And I connect this behaviour to her behaviour to protect Edie Tawhiwhirangi over the kohanga reo scandal.
In respect to that scandal, I wish the matter had been exposed earlier so it could have been resolved better. Edie is a remarkable person (as an aside I played golf with her but she didn’t find me in great form that day) and deserved some kind of protection, but not the arrogantly absurd clumsy partisan way Hekia went about it.
Co-chairwoman of Nga-Kura-a-Iwi, Arihia Stirling, in a matching arrogantly absurd clumsy partisan way, chimed in about the NZEI marches, saying it was an ‘inappropriate time to be airing dirty linen.’
What? At a conference about inequity and its effects on education performance? Do we still live in a democracy? Or is it now democracy as defined by the National Party section of Ngati Porou?
However, Arihia, at least you agree in a roundabout that it is ‘dirty linen’. As a result, perhaps you could inform Sir Toby Curtis also of Nga-Kura-a-Iwi that the link between inequity and child performance is not ‘lame or dodgy’.
Oh, and Arihia, seeing you recognise the existence of inequity as dirty linen, meaning your criticism was really just the timing of the protest, can we expect you to be a prominent member on the next march about inequity and its effects on education?
Arihia goes on to say: ‘It’s wrong to do this now, we don’t have people in the streets, we don’t have people bleeding at the hands of the education sector … it’s poor judgement of the leadership of the union to do this at this time.’
Arihia, there weren’t people bleeding in the streets when the foreshore and seabed hikoi took place, either. And if you’ll excuse me saying – Maori, and good on them, are past masters at picking the right moments to make their hikoi point. Why shouldn’t they be? They feel strongly about their cause. As do NZEI marchers about theirs. Do you feel strongly about inequity Arihia? Or has something superseded that?
Readers should know that this little clique (with some others) has done a deal with Hekia to set up iwi schools, as a form of charter schools, to be lavishly funded, lightly supervised, and to be paid on ‘performance’.
The only problem is what to do with Kura kaupapa Maori. If only they would disappear in a puff of smoke.
Oh, happy days.
Education today in Aotearoa.
From all this, the lesson to be learned by those in teaching, is the absolute need for unity.
The policy on clusters set out by NZEI in their newsletter of April 2, 2014, is an excellent starting point – why not unite on that or something like it?
If the teacher organisations don’t unite then they will be picked off or made irrelevant. (In regard to the latter, they should know how that feels.)
~ by Kelvin Smythe
A few facts and figures on who showed initial interest in opening a charter school:
Who applied to open a charter school?
For more news as it breaks, click to follow the site (top right).
Heni Collins investigates growing concerns in Māoridom that the promised panacea of charter schools is a false hope.
Charter schools are not the way forward for the development of education for Māori, says Professor Wally Penetito, of Te Kura Māori at the Faculty of Education, Victoria University.
“I don’t think that’s the way to go for Māori. I want to see the development of köhanga and kura kaupapa, of the kaupapa Māori movement.”
While many whānau struggle with more urgent issues such as poverty, housing, health and employment, the issue of charter schools is creating further division and confusion amongst Māori, and even within the kaupapa Māori education sector.
Professor Penetito was one of several leading Māori educationalists and leaders who signed an Open Letter to the Government opposing charter schools (officially called partnership schools) in late May. Others who publicly oppose the policy include Professor Russell Bishop, Dr Leonie Pihama, Dr Mera Penehira, Cindy Kiro, Ani Mikaere, Metiria Turei and Lesley Rameka.
Both the Labour and Green party candidates in the recent Ikaroa-Rāwhiti by-election (Meka Whaitiri and Marama Davidson respectively) were clear in their opposition at a meeting in Taita. Mana MP Hone Harawira spoke passionately against the charter school bill in Parliament in May.
Māori members of the primary and secondary teachers unions NZEI and PPTA are firm in their opposition, as both unions believe the policy has the potential to under-mine the public education sector. About 85 percent of Māori children attend mainstream schools, with varying levels of Māori language used, and 15 percent attend Māori immersion kura and wharekura.
Te Rūnanga o Ngai Tahu outlined its strong opposition to the schools in a lengthy, well-researched submission to government. It is the only iwi known to have publicly opposed them.
The new schools are being promoted by the government (National, Act, and the Māori Party supported the charter schools Bill) as a means of tackling Māori and Pacific under-achievement but the results of overseas research relating to minorities in charter schools are inconclusive and benefits to Māori are likely to be minimal.
Despite that, of the 35 or so applicants wanting to establish charter schools, about a third of those are from Māori.
Leaders of kura-ā-iwi, designated character schools (section 156 of the Education Act 1989) associated with particular iwi, see charter schools as a way to gain more freedom from centralised bureaucracy.
Dr Toby Curtis, head of Te Maru o Ngā Kura a Iwi o Aotearoa (Iwi Education Authority) and Pem Bird (representing kaiako at these kura) say they represent 23 of 25 kura-ā-iwi in supporting charter schools. Iwi in support include Tuwharetoa, Tuhoe, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Manawa, Ngāti Rongomai, Tapuika, Waikato and Raukawa ki te Tonga.
Those in favour of charter schools often use the argument that the public education system is failing Māori children: “Too many schools are allowed to continue failing Māori children, without accountability for that failure,” said Pem Bird. “Kura Hourua can be a circuit-breaker for us, an agent of desperately needed change.”
The gap is closing
But while there is still a gap between Māori and Pakeha achievement levels, policies such as Ka Hikitia, Te Kotahitanga and He Kakano have been achieving success in closing that gap in recent years.
The Maori faction of the PPTA has issued another warning concerning the government’s charter schools. Although some Maori schools would like to try the system out, Moana Jackson says it’s only another one of the government’s attempts to cut funding.
What are your thoughts? Are charter schools a genuine attempt to help Maori and Pasifika students achieve higher, or a money saving venture, or something else altogether?
So yesterday, June 4th 2013, the Education Amendment Act 2012 was passed and charter schools became legal in New Zealand. Nice work.
It was a good move to get your pal Catherine Isaac to chair the panel so they could ignore all advice and submissions and push them through. Clever.
And a big high five for getting The Maori Party to fall for it. Hahahaha, I did have a good titter at that one.
So funny that they forgot that you said quite proudly on TV that “If we continue the bankrupt response of just paying young Polynesian, young Maori men in South Auckland the dole to sit in front of TV, smoke marijuana, watch pornography and plan more drug offending and more burglaries, then we’re going to have them coming through our windows regardless of whether we live in Epsom or anywhere else in greater Auckland.”
Pfffst, it’s not your fault if they forget stuff like that.
Anyway, I’ve heard that every Maori or Polynesian man in South Auckland is stoked to hear you are so keen to save them, so let’s get cracking and set up this school.
The John Banks School for Errant Maori and Polynesian South Auckland Lads (Ltd)
Now I know what you’re thinking, John. You’re worrying that you don’t have any background in education. But it’s okay – you don’t have to been trained in education to run or work in charter schools. No, nothing at all. You just have to convince the panel to say yes to your plan, and seeing as we’ve got Catherine and Hekia in our pockets, we’re in!
Lucky that, eh John?
You can make up your own curriculum, your own school day and term times, hire some warm bodies to pretend to be teachers, and make a killing!
I’m thinking we could just print some lesson plans off the internet and get nice looking people to teach those. That should be quite cheap.
The poor South Auckland lads will never notice, anyway – far too drugged up. No it’s true, I heard a prominent politician say so on TV.
Oh yes, John, there really is!
We get a nice handout from the government of hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up the premises – and we don’t have to return a red cent of it if we close the school. Bonza.
I think we should maybe choose one of those well kitted out schools in Christchurch that are about to become available. I’ve heard one of them has a $1 million plus upgrade just 2 years ago, and I bet we can get it mega cheap. We can always say we don’t want them just sitting there like those schools in Invercargill, eh?
What else? Well the students will be funded as decile 3, and the funding for things like special needs and ICT won’t have to be spent on those things so we can with that whatever we like! We don’t need to bother with those pesky tricky things Dyslexia or Autism or speaking Te Reo or Samoan or anything. Yeah, nah, just filter out anyone hard to teach like lots of the US charters do, and we can keep the cheaper kids. The public system can get the more difficult ones back – that’ll be a hoot. Take that trained teachers. Hahaha.
Oh lord, I just thought, what if we get hungry kids? Can you get your staff to whip up some eggs bene for them to share? No? Oh man, well best get that Weetbix lined up, then. But still send the eggs – we claim that on expenses. I doubt we would we have to declare it, eh?
Ooooh I’ve had another great idea… We could hire ABBA to teach the kids. Oh, no, sorry I got a bit off track there.
This is what I was really thinking. Maybe we could call this principal in the UK who used school money to hire her mates, claimed expenses more than once from different organisations, gave contracts to businesses she was close to, and used funds to pay for taxis costing well over $6000. She’d be able to give us tips for making the most of those tax dollars!
It’s okay, we can do all that and everyone will still think we are fabulous. I mean to say, that teacher was named head teacher of the year at the 2007 Teaching Awards and appointed CBE, so all good, I’ll get our people to talk to her people.
If she’s unavailable, we could call the Charter Schools guys who conned US$17 million of taxes from Oregon. They were even more cunning because they pretended their schools were not for-profit (aww bless their faux charitable socks) and “ran a chain of taxpayer-funded charter schools under the guise of a nonprofit named EdChoices, “submitted false, incomplete and misleading records about how many students were enrolled in the schools and how they were spending the state’s money.” ” Cunning.
What if we’re rumbled?
No, don’t worry about what to do if we’re caught out. When charter school fraudsters are investigated they don’t hang about. Once the cash cow is rumbled we can just close the school like these guys. It’ll leave students and teachers with nowhere to go, but overheads gone! Easy!
We would be investigated, but you could nudge the police not to investigate this one, either. You seem to be good at that.
Try not to be like these guys, who get caught AND prosecuted, though…
Man alive! Google threw me 2.8 million hits for “charter school fraud” so we’d have to be careful in case anyone is onto this scam.
But no, no, don’t think about that – if anyone tries to get the facts out we can just say it’s all daft leftie mudslinging and get our mate Seal Meat to bash them on his blog.
It’ll be fine – just think of the money!
So what do you think, Banksy? Shall we do it? You and me?
The John Banks School for Errant Maori and Polynesian South Auckland Lads (Ltd) ?
“Is this change good for education?”
That’s the question Chris Hipkins tells us to ask ourselves of the proposed charter schools. And after trawling through mountains of evidence over the past year, I have to say the answer is no.
Like Chris, I believe we should be focused on making sure every student in New Zealand can achieve their potential, in all schools. We should be raising the bar, focusing on those not achieving their potential, and supporting all of our schools to innovate within and share good practice so that the whole system s brought up and improved further.
Charter schools are not the answer. They are not about education. They are not about improving our system. They do not aim to make things better for all students – not even for all Maori or Pasifika students. They are not about collaboration and the sharing of best practice.
They are about privatising schools, pure and simple.
Chris points out that all evidence is clear that teacher quality is a huge factor in the success of a student, and yet this Bill lowers the bar rather than raising it. Last year the government were saying all teachers needed a Masters Degree – now, apparently, a teacher can be anyone, with no training whatsoever. Why the change? It’s simple – the government will say anything to attack teachers, but suddenly change tack when it comes to “private, profit-making institutions”.
Chris’s speech in full is here and raises many issues with charter schools that people (including many teachers) may not be aware of. It’s really worth watching.
Catherine Delahunty put it bluntly but correctly, yesterday, when she said “this Bill is ridiculous and it is also quite sick”, going on to point out that it allows for children to be used in an experiment that evidence shows to work very poorly for minority groups.
Catherine pointed out the obvious that when parents in poor families are working very long hours to bring in a pitiful wage, there isn’t a whole lot of time left to help with a child’s education. Little time to give a hand with homework. Not much spare to buy computers so kids can work at home. Nothing left for school donations.
Poverty is a key factor in poor education achievement, as recognised by the OECD, and yet nothing has been done to address that important issue. While families are facing inequality on the level New Zealand sees, there will always be inequality in education, too.
Why does government not tackle poverty? … Maybe because it doesn’t make businesses any money?
What this Bill is really about is privatisation for the benefit of businesses and corporates, some of whom are not even Maori, Pasifika or Kiwi. If it were about helping all kids succeed, then ALL schools would be given the same freedoms.
Metiria Turei challenged National and ACT politicians to send their children to a charter school.
They probably would, to be honest. Not yet, but in the long run. Because once the pretence of charters being for the poor kids, the brown kids, the lower achieving kids, is over, the truth is we will see charters appearing for wealthy kids, essentially providing publicly-funded private schools with no accountability.
Be very clear: This is not about the ‘long tail of underachievement’- it is a sneaky and underhand way of bringing in private schools that public money pays for, and in the end those schools will be for wealthy kids.
Tracey Martin gave an outstanding speech, too, outlining why this Bill makes a mockery of the submissions process and democracy Many on the panel choose to ignore expert and popular opinion, instead listening with deaf ears and closed minds, following an ideology that they were predetermined to accept no matter what.
This is New Zealand under this government – they forge ahead in favour of only themselves and businesses.
Tracey pointed out that Maoridom is not in favour of charter schools. Submissions from Maori were overwhelmingly against.
She pleads and I plead with Maori and Pasifika people to contact their MPs and tell them how you feel.
Even if you do want charters, make sure you tell them what boundaries you expect, what support, what oversight.
If you do not want them, speak up now, because time is running out, and the Maori Party is about to sell you down the river.
Sue Moroney hit the nail on the head when she said “Our kids are being used as guinea pigs,” saying that it wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t already know from the evidence that charter schools do not work. She asked why the select committee ignored the concerns of Nga Tahu, who do not want charter schools. She asked why the children of Christchurch are being used in this experiment when they are already in the middle of upheaval and stress.
Nanaia Mahuta acknowledged the thousands of parents, teachers and others who took the time to make submissions to the select committee.
With over 2000 submissions, just over 70 were for charters, about 30 had no opinion, and the rest were against. Just read that again: The Rest Were Against. And those against came from all quarters, from professors and parents, from teachers and students, and from iwi.
Hone Harawira, Leader of MANA, said charters “represent a direct attack on kura kaupapa Māori, and on public education generally,” pointing out that “successive governments have starved kura kaupapa of funding from the get-go, [yet] they remain one of the most successful educational initiatives for Maori by Māori, in the last 100 years.” Like many observers, he is aghast at the Maori Party for supporting charter school proposals, saying “The Maori Party should be ashamed for turning their backs on everything that kura kaupapa Maori stands for.” Source.
So let me close by asking you this.
Who does support charter schools? And why?
Ask yourself that, and really think about it. Not on political party lines, but as a Kiwi.
Ask yourself what the motivation for charter schools really is.
Ask “Is this change good for education?”
Dear Dr Sharples,
What is the most important thing?
It is people.
It is people
It is people.
I am reminded of this each time I see spin from New Zealand’s National government assuring us that charter schools are about the kids, about bolstering their achievement, raising their grades, helping them learn better. And that they are in particular for our neediest communities.
Because, for all the hours I spend researching this and asking people to show me how charters will improve things for our lowest achievers, I am yet to get anything even remotely near a decent answer. In fact most people refuse to answer me at all, which is telling.
Let me be clear about my intentions: I am about the kids. All I care about is that we give as good an education as possible to as many children as we can, in a fair way, with as much equity as can be managed.
And when I start arguing against charter schools or excessive testing or National Standards or increased class sizes, it’s is for one reason only: He tangata. He tangata. He tangata.