Thursday, January 17, 2013

PPTA attack charter schools

No surprises really that the PPTA want education dominated by the state. The following full page advertisement is apparently running in major newspapers today. I wonder how teachers feel about paying for these campaigns?

On the subject of the state monopolising education recall my post from Tuesday which quoted research showing those European countries which had the lowest percentage of young people not in employment, education, or training had dual education systems.

But the PPTA displays their stupidity in other ways too. For instance the first line of their ad:

"Family time, beach time, down time...that's the agenda for most of us right now."

If you are a teacher maybe. Most self-employed tradespeople, farmers, shop-workers, factory workers, health service providers etc etc are back with their noses to the grindstone, if they ever stopped.

I have a lot of time for teachers. Most that have taught my kids have been decent, hard-working, capable, sometimes inspirational people. But their union does their public image no favours.


mike@nz said...

This is a perfect example of what angers me about teachers. This is not about what is right for the kids or the parents, it is a personal opinion from the heavies in their union. The old "if I don't like it, it should be illegal" mentality. They need to grow up!

Shane Pleasance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane Pleasance said...

Yes, the people who pay their wages probably had NO time off...

Johnny said...

I wonder who teachers employ to do their plumbing, and electrical work and their GP, and their vet, and jeweler, and butcher, and pharmacist, and petrol supplier, and car salesman, and car repairer and window repairer, and lawyer, and computer supplier/repairer, and tourist adviser/ticket seller, and stationer, and clothing supplier, and firewood supplier, and liquor supplier, and scrap metal dealer, and cell phone supplier, and motelier and masseuse, and fitness club, and pest exterminator and garden supplies retailer, and marriage consultant, and hairdresser and lawn mower and insurer and a thousand and one besides.

How the Hell do we survive with these industries being in the hands of privateers?

Johnny said...

And what if that plumber etc does a crap job.
Tough, only one plumber per town.
Like it or lump it.

Paulus said...

I do wish that the Teacher's Unions would do something for the children of New Zealand, and not just some of the noisy unionists.
I am fully aware that many teachers are frightened by some of their colleagues, and for their own sake have to go with the union crowd.

Anonymous said...

Excellent comments, Mike, Johnny and Paulus - I agree.

For **goodness sake** - even Labour in the UK is going full steam ahead with charter schools (I think they call them "academies" over there).

Mike is spot-on. I've had a GUTSFUL of the dinosaur-like patch-protecting behaviour of the teachers. The best thing that a Nat government could do is to deregister the teacher unions.

Mike Steinberg said...

Looking at the US, the main benefit from Charter Schools appears to be that they have greater scope to remove troublesome students.

The idea that they can significantly improve the performance of poorly achieving students seems like a pipe dream to me. Only future gene therapies or genetic engineering can do that.

I would recommend the blog "Education Realist" by a US teacher who discusses these issues.

"I’ve said this before: charters are popular because they allow the owners to keep certain students out. All the talk about curricular freedom, non-union teachers, and dedication to achievement is garbage. Parents sign their kids up for charters to keep their kids away from the undesirables.

So let them do that, you say. But charters can’t possibly scale. This is so obvious that I can’t even be bothered to spell it out. You aren’t going to make me, are you? Charters “work”–that is, they are able to operate, not raise achievement—because non-charters have to take all the other kids by default, and have to do so without any say in the matter. When public schools don’t work by default, charters or no, the outcome is ugly, as this report on NYC’s all choice program reveals (and boy, is that system several lawsuits waiting to happen). We will never have a system in which all students everywhere are able to avoid undesirable students by going to a charter, and therefore we are creating a system in which students luck out on expensive, functionally private schools simply by lottery. It can’t last. I don’t know what will give first.

So what’s the solution? The answer depends on whether the undesirable kids are low income URM kids in a middle-class or higher (usually white) district, or horribly-behaved, low-incentive URM kids in a low income URM district.

For the first: bring back tracking, or ability grouping. Reassure white parents that their kids will be learning based on their ability, and then stare those parents down when their kids get slotted into the low ability groups. This approach, of course, leads to lawsuits. But remember, charters are just doing the same thing except on a smaller and wholly unfair scale. Tracking is cheaper and, if done properly, fairer.

For the second: start charters for low ability, low-incentive kids. Make these schools two steps up from jail or bootcamp. Kids who misbehave get expelled from their local school and sent to the charters, which are so ruthlessly strict and brutal that the kids would anything to get out and anything to avoid being put back in."

Anonymous said...

To counter Mike Steinberg's negative comments about charter schools -
"Eight of the top 11 elementary and middle schools by student performance are charters, and four of those charters are in Harlem."
"Charting a better course" -
"Today there are 5,600 charter schools, and they serve more than 2m pupils in 41 of America's 50 states. This number has grown annually by 7.5% since 2006 (see chart), but is still tiny: charters enroll less than 4% of the country's public-school students. Some places have taken to charter schools particularly enthusiastically: in Washington, DC, 44% of public-school students attend a charter school."

As well as the US, charter schools are common in Europe, and the UK is opening many more of them too.

"One size does NOT fit all". Charter schools offer a great alternative to the underperforming state-sector schools in New Zealand. They can be a **valuable part of the education mix.**

Anonymous said...

Actually I have long thought that if teachers don't want something then it's probably a good thing to do and if the teachers' union doesn't want it then it's certainly a good thing to do.


Johnny said...

So explain to me again why we have to design everything-but-everything around the poorest, weakest, most troublesome, laziest, dumbest people in society. Why can't we just for once, do something that rewards or even promotes the successful and strong sectors of our society. Why do we have to dumb down EVERYTHING?

Anonymous said...

The best thing that a Nat government could do is to deregister the teacher unions.

second best thing. Best thing - shoot all the state schools teachers.