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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Of charter school

The government has announced the Charter Schools panel:

Education Minister, Hekia Parata, and Associate Education Minister, John Banks, are glad to announce the appointments for the New Zealand Model of Charter School Working Group.

As anticipated the retreads are back to kick some heads for the Tories, namely Catherine Isaac, the Actoid who lost out on a No.2 list pozzie when their vote collapsed under the weight of Don Brash's kamikaze assault on the leadership - she was on the welfare razor gang last term now she's heading the show. I note too that the Maori Party's own retread, Hana O'Regan, who was on their foreshore and seabed panel last term is also in the group.

The announcement doesn't mention any Maori Party minister involved, just the newbie Education Minister, Parata, and Act's leader, Banks, who - astoundingly given his past comments deriding the teaching profession - finds himself as Associate Education Minister. But the fact O'Regan is there suggests the Maori Party have had an input, even if it is as minimal as nominating one one of their own. I doubt they would have influenced the terms of reference. It is still more about enriching private interests and smashing the teacher unions in the final analysis, rather than lifting educational outcomes.

Also appointed are former Christchurch Mayor and founder of Discovery 1 and Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti, Vicki Buck, CEO of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu - The Correspondence School, Michael Hollings, and Dr Margaret Southwick of Whitireia Community Polytechnic.

Founder of Onehunga Business School & Just Water International CEO, Anthony Falkenstein, University of Auckland Director of Alumni Relations and Development, John Taylor, and the Dean of Te Puna Wānaka and the Director of Māori and Pasifika Studies at the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology, Hana O’Regan complete the Group.


But where are the actual teachers or people specifically involved in the compulsory education sector? Apart from Vicki Buck, it doesn't look like anyone has that experience, and none of them appear to have had any recent coal-face/chalk-face roles in a school environment which they are now tasked with creating. There's a lot of business types and academics in tertiary settings. I would have expected a former principal or two would have been on the panel, but no, not from what it looks like. This won't help the impression that this group is more an ideological think-tank implementing a pre-set agenda than a working party developing pragmatic solutions.

As the title would suggest they are out to create a template, to accelerate the under-funding and privatisation of education. And what about the title? It doesn't even sound grammatical to me:

[...] the New Zealand Model of Charter School Working Group.
[...]
“I look forward to working with the Group who will now begin consulting with the community and fleshing out the policy issues around how best to develop a New Zealand model of charter school,” says Mr Banks


Something is wrong with that. It's rather awkward.

It should be "schools" - plural - shouldn't it?
A NZ model for charter schools - that makes more sense. The NZ model of charter school working group - that makes more sense than putting "of" in there doesn't it? This quasi-privatisation initiative is off to an unimpressive, quasi-literate start.

3 Comments:

At 28/3/12 1:00 p.m., Blogger H Stewart said...

" This quasi-privatisation initiative is off to an unimpressive, quasi-literate start."

Ouch

 
At 28/3/12 2:00 p.m., Blogger Frank said...

Banks is not well educated;

http://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/minister-for-whut/

He doesn't even understand Ministrerial roles.

 
At 28/3/12 5:09 p.m., Blogger Frank said...

By the way, I forgot to add this link to Stanford University: http://credo.stanford.edu/reports/MULTIPLE_CHOICE_CREDO.pdf

So far, the only research into Charter schools is not very reassuring. Only 17% of charter schools succeed in the US.

So why are we following the USA, which is #15 on the OECD's PISA report - instead of Finland, which is near the top?

(Yeah, yeah, I know, because Brownlee is an anti-Finland boofhead bigot.)

 

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