Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ah. OK, now I get it

Yesterday's post was me trying to understand what the purpose of the charter schools plan is. Ostensibly it's about trying to fix the problem of the proportion of kids who are failing in school, but it doesn't actually address any of the causes of that problem, so the reason it's being promoted is unclear.

All very confusing. But last night I remembered this post from Danyl, which was about the national standards plan but applies equally well to this one:

Once you understand that it’s about market research and electoral strategy – that National’s focus groups tell them many swing voters are parents who feel anxious about their children’s education, and that their policies are designed to play upon those fears by creating the illusion of a crisis that National will solve – they make perfect sense.


And right on cue, I find DPF writing this in the Herald:

Critics of our current system have been calling for performance pay, vouchers, bulk funding and less zoning. Well a charter school will probably be exactly that...


In other words, no new initiatives here, just the issues of the 90s back from the dead. And that does explain it: the charter schools are actually nothing to do with improving the prospects of the bottom 20%, they're about pandering to middle class voters anxious about their children's education, by giving them private schools funded by the state. The National voters get the false reassurance of sending their kids to a private school, and the govt gets to extend privatisation of the education system and fuck the teacher unions - no wonder it's so keen.

20 comments:

Simon Arnold said...

Yes it is a problem that the desire of parents (and the community) for a different service from the education systems requires a central government intervention, rather than the education system itself being flexible enough to change to deliver what stakeholders see as desirable.

Not surprisingly state ownership and control reinforces the place of central control. This leads to national organizations like unions and their political agents having disproportionate influence when deciding de facto the nature of the services provided.

Anonymous said...

"but it doesn't actually address any of the causes of that problem"

If it takes control of the curriculum out of the hands of those know-nothing left-wing eggheads who infect the education politburo, that can only be a good thing - for these are the cocksuckers who dream up these loony tune ideas such as the mantra that grammar and syntax aren't important in writing, whole language learning, dubious internal assessments, plus all of the other highly politicized bullshit these "chooldrin" are subjected to - fake environmental religion, feminism, Maori racial superiority, propagandized NZ history, contempt for out Judeo-Christian based heritage, putting condoms onto pieces of broom handle, the list goes on and on.

Fuck these useless cunts, try something different.

The Veteran said...

PM ... I wish you might have thought it fair and reasonable to post DPF's comment in its entirety rather than selectively edit it.

Bit like those who only quote the bad bits from the Stamford study and studiously ignore the fact that Charter Schools in States where there is a rigorous Charter approval mechanism and performance monitoring perform better than their peer schools.

What makes you think that NZL can't match that?

JC said...

You have to note in all this left angst about charter schools that the fact 20% fail in the current system is never mentioned.. everything is fine and dandy, nothing to see here.. move on.

JC

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 9.03. Thanks for saying it how most(?) parents see it.

I agree with the last little bit of PM's post. Public sector unions will remain inappropriate until they are accountable to those that pay their wages - and that's not their govt mates / enemies.

Psycho Milt said...

You have to note in all this left angst about charter schools that the fact 20% fail in the current system is never mentioned..

Except for when I referred to it in this post, and that whole post I wrote about it yesterday, you mean?

Yesterday's post points out that you guys keep mentioning this 20% without ever getting round to saying what charter schools would actually do about it. Feel free to explain it for us.

PM ... I wish you might have thought it fair and reasonable to post DPF's comment in its entirety rather than selectively edit it.

The rest of the quote has some partisan blather about the supposed benefits of that 90s bullshit, which would only distract from the post as I'd have to either explain that it was propaganda or let it stand. Instead, I quoted only the bit that was relevant. The quote is linked for those who'd like to read the rest of it.

Bit like those who only quote the bad bits from the Stamford study and studiously ignore the fact that Charter Schools in States where there is a rigorous Charter approval mechanism and performance monitoring perform better than their peer schools.

Stanford. Stamford University is in Bangladesh and is presumably carefully named with a particular purpose in mind. Again, people quote the relevant bits from the Stanford study because that's what's relevant. Now, you can claim if you like that it's possible for us to successfully reproduce only the parts that made 17% of the charter schools perform better than public schools, while successfully ensuring that better performance isn't down to selection criteria, and successfully ensuring that none of the causes of 30-odd percent of the charter schools performing worse than the public schools get reproduced here - but all I can say to that is big fucking dogs' bollocks.

The Veteran said...

PM ... thank you for pointing out my abject failure to distinguish an 'm' from an 'n'. I can only put it down to my being a product of a State education.

But let me repeat again s l o w l y
for the benefit of the PPTA/NZEI cabal for whom choice is a dirty word. The Stanford study shows conclusively that where there was rigorous Charter oversight and performance monitoring those schools performed, on average, as good as or better than their State school counterparts.

There is not too much of a difference between Charter Schools and Integrated Schools except that Charter Schools can pay teachers what they are worth.

But keep on keeping on promoting the status quo if that what gets you going but I suspect parents will vote with their feet for choice.

Psycho Milt said...

Sorry, someone yesterday called it Stamford as well so it seemed to me I should say something.

There are three things I'd like to dispute in your comment.

The first is the idea that if there is tight enough govt control of these schools, they'll perform as well as or better than public schools. Even if we assume that our govt can achieve a higher success rate than the US govt, that's a lot of govt effort going into achieving a similar or only slightly better result than not making the effort. In other words, where's the cost/benefit analysis?

The second is the idea that this is somehow about parental choice. It isn't. As I wrote on another thread, parents have choice right now. They can send their kids to another public school, they can send their kids to an existing special-character school, or they can organise with other parents to create a new special-character school. What limits the parents' choice is not the evil socialists in the teachers' unions, but the fact that popular schools are over-subscribed - which means the school gets to do the choosing, or it offers a lottery for access. Now, if there's some way charter schools will supposedly change that situation, I haven't heard it, and I'd be interested to hear from anyone who can make a case for it.

Third, you say that the difference between public schools and charter schools is that charter schools will be able to pay teachers what they're worth. A more accurate way of phrasing this would be to say that charter schools will be able to pay some teachers more by paying some teachers less - which sounds fine in theory, but given that charter schools will be funded at the same level as public schools, in practice it means that a charter school will either have fewer teachers than other schools, or will have teachers on the payroll that it has officially determined to be not very good. Neither is all that wonderful an outcome.

Paulus said...

We already have Charter Schools and have had for some years.
Started with Kohanga Reo, and other Maori intitiaties have followed.Also Rudolf Steiner Schools and Montesori Schools.
In February next a brand new multi million Maori secondary School opens in Bethlehem, Tauranga.
Similar initiative.
What's new really - only an extension.

Anonymous said...

PM I'm sorry the lower decile areas do not have school choice. The good areas around them zone to limit their roles so there is effectively no choice for parents in poor areas but to send their kids to failing schools.

Just look at Otara where there used to be an exodus every school day that has been knocked on the head by zoning in the surrounding areas such as Pakuranga and Howick.

Having a Charter School where the teachers are incentivised to produce results will improve outcomes. Allowing teachers to use any method that works - such as phonetics as opposed to whole word recognition if it works for that child, then it will work. Anonymous @ 9.03 summed it up quite eloquently.

Paranormal

JC said...

"Except for when I referred to it in this post, and that whole post I wrote about it yesterday, you mean?"

And you explained it away as there has to be a bottom 20% and besides,its hardly the teachers' fault.

And now you explain it all away as a big National Party conspiracy.

However, you reasonably ask what charter schools can achieve that the public schools can't..

First, the charter school proposal has already achieved its first and most important goal.. brought to public attention that 20% of our kids leave school functionally illiterate and innumerate. Further, the subject is being kept alive by teachers, their union and left bloggers. So there's now no doubt that we have a problem.

Second. Having identified the 20% is just step one.. now it has to get finance and plans.. the charter school idea being one of them.

Third, its fine to identify the 20%, but that group must now be segregated further to look at reasons why there's failure. Some kids will have as yet unidentified or ignored health issues like poor eyesight and hearing issues. Some will have genetic issues.. not least being products of incest and so on.

You're not actually talking about just charter schools, but a process that identifies a variety of issues that need attention.. I wonder if the Govt has thought through the implications of all this.

JC

Psycho Milt said...

What's new really - only an extension

What's new is that the govt is now planning to actively go out and develop private sector schools using public money, with the deliberate aim of weakening the public system and breaking the teachers' unions.

PM I'm sorry the lower decile areas do not have school choice. The good areas around them zone to limit their roles so there is effectively no choice for parents in poor areas but to send their kids to failing schools

Let's step through this. The lower decile schools are "failing" not because somehow the bad teachers and principals like to work in low decile areas, but because the intake consists largely of kids with problems like I described in the previous post. The schools in surrounding higer-decile areas are aware of this and therefore make sure they don't enrol kids from those areas.

So, yes, you're right, the parents in a decile 1 area have a problem, because the schools are the ones doing the choosing. Right-wingers blame zoning for that, which is comically arse-about-face. Zoning isn't an attempt to minimise the parents' ability to choose, it's an attempt to minimise the schools' ability to choose. Zoning says that even if your kid would sensibly be rejected by every school that gives a shit about its performance, they have an inalienable right to go to the school nearest them regardless of whether it will regard them as an asset or not. Take away zoning and you've effectively decided to just go ahead and let the schools do the choosing. This will apply to charter schools in exactly the same way as it does to public schools.

And you explained it away as there has to be a bottom 20% and besides,its hardly the teachers' fault.

And now you explain it all away as a big National Party conspiracy.


If your reading comprehension is that poor there's really no point in me replying.

The Veteran said...

PM ... let's cut to the chase. If a properly run Charter School can achieve a 17% improvement over its State peer then isn't that a win for the kids or don't they matter?

Psycho Milt said...

If that were the case, you'd have to say well-run charter schools were a good idea - as long as you could be sure the improvement was genuine and not due to Danyl's "charter schools scam."

However, it's not the case s far as we know. The Stanford study didn't show well-run charter schools performed 17% better than public schools, it found that 17% of charter schools performed better to some degree - there's a big difference between those two statements.

But yes, let's cut to the chase. We know what the causes of that bottom level of student performance are, as listed in my previous post; so, how exactly do charter schools address those causes?

Anonymous said...

If you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting.

I don't see the problem in using the resources you would commit anyway to attempt to break out of the loop.

George

Anonymous said...

If you keep doing what you've been doing, you'll keep getting what you've been getting.

I don't see the problem in using the resources you would commit anyway to attempt to break out of the loop.

George

Blair said...

Milt, I agree with everything you say, and would only add "Yes, isn't it wonderful?!"

:-P

Psycho Milt said...

Well, sure - obviously some people are keen to see privatisation and union-busting or they wouldn't be doing it. I could just do without all the sanctimonious "Won't someone think of the children?" bleating they're doing to try and pretend it's some kind of noble endeavour.

Anonymous said...

Union busting is a noble idea and it will benefit the children. And the teachers as well...

Psycho Milt said...

Funny, that's what the Bolsheviks said about the revolution - they were full of shit too.