Confusion over role of NZ’s first Chief Education Scientific Advisor

28 Jul

Professor Stuart McNaughton has been appointed New Zealand’s first Chief Education Scientific Advisor.  His job is to promote the use of sound scientific research in the forming of education policy, and to help ensure that changes are based on this rigorous research.

It’s a positive move, assuming he is listened to and does indeed consider all the research out there.  For example, if research were the basis for whether or not performance pay was put in place, it would be a no go as there is a strong body of research out there showing that it does not improve student outcomes and in fact causes harm.

So I welcome him to the role with hope.

What’s not so hopeful is John Key’s endorsement:

“We think it’s a great idea to be focussing on science for our youngsters,” he said.
“I think we can always do better, the main thing is to encourage more youngsters to be actively interested in science – it’s very important for our economy, and it’s very important for how we can perform as a country.”

not a mad scientistBut here’s the thing, Mr Key … the role is not about teaching science.  Not at all.  Prof. McNaughton is charged with USING sound scientific principles and research to ASSESS possible education POLICY and make recommendations.

He is not teaching science, teaching science teachers, doing anything with the science curriculum.  Okay?

It doesn’t give much faith the role is being taken seriously when the PM is confused about what it’s for.

Good luck, Professor McNaughton.

 

Charter school misinformation

27 Jul

bad researchThe University of Arkansas (UARK) recently produced a report that concluded US charter schools, despite being terribly underfunded, were performing favourably compared to US state schools, being only slightly behind state schools in test scores.

The report has, of course, been trumpeted by our own lovely right wing blogs here in NZ as proof that charter schools are the way forward.  Predictably, Kiwiblog and the like were not so fast to look at criticisms of the University of Arkansas’s research.

In School Finance 101: UARK Study Shamelessly (& Knowingly) Uses Bogus Measures to Make Charter Productivity Claims, Bruce D. Baker picks the claims apart in great detail.

Note: Baker’s analysis is not a swift overview or cherry picking from a blogger, pundit or journalist playing to the crowd.   He is well placed to critique the research – he is a Professor in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where he teaches courses in school finance policy and district business management.  The report was produced by the National Education Policy Centre at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

What did the UARK Research find?

The report found that student performance at charter schools is roughly on par with public school performance.

The research relied primarily on one standardized test, the NAEP. Researchers took NAEP scores in reading and math from 28 states, then broke them down by schools’ funding per student.  It concluded that, as charter schools tend to have lower budgets than public schools, they can be deemed to perform better dollar for dollar,

Criticism of the UARK Research

Baker’s critique pointed out that “among other things … making comparisons of charters schools to district schools statewide is misguided – deceitful in fact” as the schools being compared are not in the same settings.  Therefore, to take just one factor in isolation is not rigorous or reliable.

Of the methodology used by the researchers, Baker concludes they either show”an egregious display of complete ignorance and methodological ineptitude, or this new report is a blatant and intentional misrepresentation of data” as the analysis is so faulty.

Baker states that the report ‘constructs entirely inappropriate comparisons of student population characteristics’

He goes on to say that” the report displays complete lack of understanding of intergovernmental fiscal relationships, which results in the blatantly erroneous assignment of “revenues” between charters and district schools.”

He concludes:

“Simply put, the findings and conclusions of the study are not valid or useful.”

Baker’s full report and analysis is here.

Other Criticism

Ted Kolderie is a senior associate with Education Evolving, an education policy nonprofit, and has worked on charter school research for years. Kolderie says  “This is the kind of quote-unquote ‘study’ we’ve been seeing for years that falls into the category of ‘advocacy research,’ and to take it with a grain of salt.

Impartial Research?

There are other serious concerns.  We have to question the impartiality of research that comes from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, which was established and is funded in part by The Walton Foundation, a huge proponent of charter schools and where one of the researchers in the team was recruited directly from a conservative think tank.

The Walton Foundation has its fingers well and truly in the charter school pie and is incredibly vested in their success:

  • Since 2002, the charter network in Washington DC alone has received close to $1.2 million from The Walton Foundation in direct grants.
  • Walton has given grants to one in four charter start-ups in the country, for a total of $335 million.
  • The foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants nationally to educational efforts since 2000, making it one of the largest private contributors to education in the country.  Source

Do Your Research

So, when reading the railings of our rather interesting right wing bloggers, extolling the virtues of charter schools as proven by research like this, it pays to look into things in more detail.

Given the choice between the analysis of Baker, Kolderie and the New York Times or that of Whale Oil and Kiwiblog, I know which I find more reliable.

________________________________________________

Sources and further reading:

National Education Policy Centre - REVIEW OF CHARTER FUNDING: INEQUITY EXPANDS, Reviewed By Bruce D. Baker, Rutgers University, May 2014

http://nepc.colorado.edu/blog/uark-study-shamelessly

http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/07/22/334049393/charters-money-and-test-scores

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/26/us/a-walmart-fortune-spreading-charter-schools.html?_r=0

 

There’s nothing standard about National Standards

25 Jul

“Testing can be fabulous.  We can learn a lot about where our students are from tests, and we analyse the results alongside all that we know of the student to plan where the student needs to go next.  National Standards, however, are not so hot.   Don’t confuse the two.”

Read more here: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/07/26/the-changes-teachers-do-want/

Nothing standard about National Standards

Further articles on National Standards: http://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/national-standards/

 

Northland schools should be praised – Te Tai Tokerau Principals

25 Jul

poverty and school reform“Northland Schools should be praised and recognised for the hard work and expertise of their teachers and principals”, says Pat Newman, President of Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association.

He continues, “I’m actually amazed at how well we are doing. Northland leads NZ on every negative socioeconomic indicator available, yet despite this, despite the simple fact that resourcing for Special Education, behaviour, truancy, health, and wrap around support for families is totally inadequate, teachers and principals in Northland continue to teach to an extremely high level of expertise and dedication.

“Principals up here for many years, have told the Ministry, that whether the Ministry/Minister believes we have the necessary help based on their paper shuffling in Wellington, it is totally inadequate to cover the glaring needs of our children. Now instead of recognising we were correct, instead of providing the help we need, the Minister continues to refuse to acknowledge this and offers more talk as the solution! Northland again short changed!

“As a principal, I spend most of my days as a principal, screaming and fighting the agencies set up to help these children, who are themselves hamstrung by the resourcing levels set for Northland.

“It is soul destroying. Schools up here are dealing on a daily basis, with children who regularly throw furniture around, abuse teachers verbally, hit out at others, threaten, have no lunches, come from homes where drugs are rife etc. We know none of this is the kids fault, but it is impossible to get adequate help for them. Lots of assessment but little “dooey”!

“The Ministry itself has research that is kept quiet that clearly shows that absenteeism is the biggest factor in school success.

“The Minister continues to trumpet how she has improved learning in NZ, based upon what is widely recognised as based on shonky National Standards Data.
What is her answer? To send in more advice! More talking! More assessment.

“I know words are powerful, but we don’t need this. What we need is less talk, and more realistic resourcing to support to cover the needs of the children in Northland!”

What are National Standards really being used for?

24 Jul

national standardsThe National Government needs to come clean about its plans to link controversial National Standards data, such as those released today, to future decisions about school funding and teacher pay.

The 2013 National Standards data shows marginal improvement in results across the narrow part of the curriculum being measured – reading, writing and maths – but NZEI President Judith Nowotarski said the latest results were just as unreliable and meaningless as the previous data.

“Teachers still have no faith in National Standards, but use them simply because they have no choice,” she said.

“What the results show is what they have always shown – the strong link between socio-economic background and student achievement. We are more concerned about how the government plans to use this dodgy data in the future.”

In March, Education Minister Hekia Parata told the Herald on Sunday newspaper that the government was looking to fund schools according to the progress students made in National Standards. The Minister also told media when the government’s “Investing in Educational Success” policy was announced in January that National Standards would be used to measure the success of the proposed “communities of schools”.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Judith Nowotarski said that with the General Election approaching, the government needed to front up to parents and teachers about its plans.

“This is an election year and New Zealanders have a right to know what the government’s real plans are if it wins the election.

“We challenge the Education Minister to assure voters that there is absolutely no intention to move towards a system that funds schools or teachers according to National Standards performance,” said Ms Nowotarski.

“Schools should be funded according to the needs of their students, to ensure equal education opportunities for every child, regardless of their background. I can’t imagine anything more unfair than taking funding from schools in disadvantaged communities and giving it to schools where kids are already making great progress thanks to their socio-economic background.

Ms Nowotarski said such a move would be absolutely disastrous for education in this country and children would end up as the collateral damage.

Ms Nowotarski said teachers and parents were not impressed with the government’s plan to spend $359 million on four highly-paid new roles as part of its “Investing in Educational Success” policy. Surveys have shown that teachers and parents would prefer supporting children more directly through smaller class sizes, more special education support and high quality early childhood education.

“Ultimately, the real question parents and  school communities want answered is when will the government address the real causes of educational underachievement – poverty and inequity – instead of doggedly pursuing its ideological experiments in education,” said Ms Nowotarski.

Reviews, good teaching, and engaged students

22 Jul

“Not all teachers and students deserve prizes but they do deserve self-esteem, opportunity and fulfilment and moreover fair treatment.

A prerequisite of this is a properly funded education system which genuinely seeks to meet need and does not penalise and denigrate students simply for starting the educational process with very little, and denigrating and punishing staff for having to work harder and more effectively in these contexts than in any other.”

 

A recent UK report, Supporting Outstanding Pupil Progress In Schools In An Area Of Social and Economic Deprivation, looked at a schools in disadvantaged areas to analyse what behaviours make an “outstanding” teacher, contributing to outstanding student progress.  The report speaks to questions asked by and of educators worldwide, and is as pertinent to our own situation in New Zealand as it is in England.

Socioeconomic Issues

The report’s findings will not surprise most teachers, citing social and economic deprivation as a major factors in students’ chances of success.  Neither will it surprise many (any?) teachers that they are often expected to act as surrogate parents for those without support and stability in their home lives.

Professor Bridget Cooper, Director of the Centre for Pedagogy at the University of Sunderland, UK, who led the report, says: “It is obvious from this report that schools in socially and economically deprived areas need more generous and more appropriate funding. Those in power need to understand and take into account the effort teachers in those schools have to make to counteract the multiplicity of needs of their students for their entire school lives.”

“It is completely unfair and irrelevant to compare these schools, teachers and children throughout their academic life unfavourably with schools which do not have to meet such great need as the teachers have work even harder.”

The Danger of an Overbearing Review Office

The report also looks at the role of OFSTED, which is the UK equivalent of ERO, and raises concerns that reviews are often barriers to good teaching practice, being so very prescriptive that teachers find it hard to harness their own creativity and create engaging learning for students.

Great teachers inspireWe are lucky in New Zealand, that ERO reviews – whilst no doubt stressful at times – are nothing like what England’s schools have to bear.

Whilst in Aotearoa differentiation and personalised teaching is still, quite rightly, seen as good pedagogy even by the review office, the report found in England OFSTED insisted on “having objectives at the start of the lesson which does not always work with each student”.  It went on to say that “[s]everal staff said that always having the objectives at the start of the lesson goes against ideas of discovery and student-centred learning (both secondary and primary) and can make lessons dull and mechanical.”

Far from allowing teachers to do what they know works or to experiment with new resources and pedagogy in order to engage students and inspire them,  “teachers are constrained by the structure of the school day and the push for conformity is hindering progress in “deprived” schools.”

Of course, things are made even worse when you consider that in England teachers are subject to performance pay.  This means that there is pressure to jump through whatever hoops OFSTED deems important, as your wages depend on it.  It doesn’t mean teaching better or responding to students’ needs more appropriately, though.

And there’s the rub.

 

Source:  http://www.sunderland.ac.uk/research/newsevents/news/news/index.php?nid=2825

 

Green Party Announces 20 hrs Free ECE for 2 yr olds

21 Jul

The Green Party today announced that its key social platform for this election will be to tackle child poverty and inequality by ensuring every child in New Zealand has enough to thrive.

The Green Party will make a series of policy announcements in the run up to the election which will cumulatively form a plan to ensure that every child has enough of what they need to thrive.

In the first of these announcements, made today, the party has announced a package to support families by extending access to free early childhood education and improve the quality of all ECE.

The key policy points in the Green Party’s plan for supporting families’ access to ECE are:

1) *Extend the 20 Hours free early childhood education subsidy to cover two-year-olds*, at an initial cost of $297 million, rising to $367 million in four years’ time. As the benefits of this successful scheme are opened up to at least another 40,000 children, more kids will get a good start in life and the burdens on their families will be eased.
2) *Provide $32 million a year to restore funding for 100 percent qualified teachers*, as part of an ambitious plan to boost the quality of early childhood education and make sure every child gets the right care and support.

 

“Every child should have enough to thrive. Any less is a failure of our society,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“One in four children lives in poverty, and 205,000 Kiwi kids are now living in severe poverty, and going without the basics.

“The cost of ECE in New Zealand is too high. According to a 2010 OECD study, New Zealand working families pay 28 percent of their net income on childcare – the fourth highest percentage of family income in the group.

“Extending 20 hours free ECE to two-year-olds will make a real financial difference to thousands of families. We estimate that families with two-year-olds in ECE could be up to $95 a week better off under our policy.

“By reducing the high cost of ECE in New Zealand we can both help struggling families access ECE and directly assist in reducing their weekly outgoings.

“The Green Party will help families out financially by reducing ECE costs, at the same time as improving access to quality education. It is a major investment in our kids.

“About two thirds of all two-year-olds are currently enrolled in ECE, but their parents miss out on the ‘20 Hours’ subsidy given to three and four year olds. We will make the system fair by extending the same subsidy to the large number of two-year-olds in ECE.

“Despite the relatively low level of current subsidy, around 40,000 two-year-olds are still enrolled in ECE, significantly more than a decade ago. Our policy helps will make a big difference to those families straight away.

“This is an investment in families and our kids’ education and in reducing poverty.

“Good-quality ECE helps children reach their full potential, both in education and in leading healthy and productive lives. It can even make the difference, according to recent research, between being in or out of poverty in later life.

“Investment in ECE is a great education spend today, but it can also reduce poverty and inequality overtime.

“Supporting families by extending free ECE provides more choice for all families with young children.

“All the evidence shows that to get the full benefit of improved access to ECE it must be good quality.

“That’s why we’re also including an ambitious plan to boost the quality of early childhood education at the same time.

“The Green Party will immediately restore funding to services with 100 percent qualified staff, commit to a long term strategy of lifting teacher qualifications, hold a ministerial review into ECE funding including a review of staff ratios, and focus on expanding not-for-profit public education.

“As part of that, we’ve already announced plans to build 20 new ECE centres onsite at low decile schools.”

 

 

On Hekia’s supposed benevolence towards teachers

17 Jul

I'm not listening earplugsParata is trumpeting her loving regard for teachers and how this respect has lead her to allow five whole teachers onto the panel of EDUCANZ, the replacement Teachers Council that no-one in the sector wants and that educators argued forcefully against at the recent Education Amendment Bill select committees.

She’s love us to believe that she has seen the light and is taking teachers seriously at last.  NewsTalk ZB trumpets that “Minister of Education Hekia Parata supports the move saying it clarifies the intent for the council to have a strong core of teaching experience.”

What she and ZB are not so keen to mention is that she is the one that will pick the 5 teachers, and her alone.

Yes, that’s right – the teachers don’t get to choose their own representatives.  Unlike doctors, lawyers or any other profession of note, we will have out so-called representatives chosen for us.

Why would that be the case?

Simple really, Hekia hand-picking them means she can be sure to get folk who will toe the line… yes men and women.  EDUCANZ will be more a political tool than an educational one.

So, let’s face it, as back downs go, it’s a fizzer.

Parata in fact didn’t listen to the concerns of people at spoke at select committee over the course of many days, at many locations, and so eloquently explained why the proposed changes were not sound.

The Select Committee sat,  Hekia pretended to listen, and she forged ahead with the plan as it stood…

AGAIN!

(Can you tell I’m seething?)

Anyone trumpeting that one change is blind to the reality.  And, given past form, the apparent change of heart was probably planned from the start so the spin doctors could whip up some media hoohah about how well they  listened.

“Go in hard and make one pre-planned concession to look benevolent” could be on Hekia’s coat of arms.

It’s a farce.  That is not democracy in action.

At select committee after select committee this government has gone through the motions and ignored all evidence in front of it.  It’s done because it has to be done, for show, not to inform.  They don’t listen.  In fact, having attended some of them as a viewer, I can say that the left ask most of the questions for clarification whilst the right usually stay pretty much shtum.  I assume they work on the old lawyer rule which is that one should never ask a question one might not want to know the answer to.

Meanwhile we are again in the position of the education system being sneakily undermined, bit by bit, while many teachers and the huge majority of the public are unaware of the repercussions of what’s going on.

Only when our schools are in the state of those in other reform-crazy countries like the USA and England will people finally take notice and ask what the hell happened.  Then we’ll have a hell of a job to undo the harm that’s been inflicted.

Be warned, NZ, this will not end well.

_________________________________

Further reading:

http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/auckland/news/nbedu/750473934-parata-backs-education-council-change

http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/decision-shows-minister-has-lost-faith-nzs-teachers/5/196384

http://www.ppta.org.nz/resources/media/3051-educanz-voice-of-profession-ignored

http://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/government-continues-bid-to-remove-political-independence-of-teachers-nzei/

http://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/strong-opposition-to-teachers-council-revamp/

http://saveourschoolsnz.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/educanz-professionalism-and-politics-by-dave-kennedy/

Yet more Charter Schools under investigation

17 Jul

fraud

There’s barely a day when more revelations don’t come out of charter schools being investigated, and not a month goes by without fraud being mentioned, and yet New Zealand’s Education Minister is still touting them as a good way forward.  It really does beggar belief.

In the USA this week: “The Ohio Board of Education ordered an immediate investigation of a chain of 19 charter schools in the state today after hearing allegations of test cheating, attendance tampering, sexual misconduct and other misdeeds.

Former teachers from the Horizon Science Academy Dayton High School in Dayton testified at the board’s monthly meeting in Columbus about years of misconduct. Some said they had been afraid to come forward before finding new jobs.”

““I know of one student who failed the 7th grade and then had to repeat the year with the agreement with (an administrator) that she would be promoted to the 9th grade if she passed 7th grade during the second attempt. She indeed completely skipped 8th grade and all associated curriculum,” [testifying teacher] Kochensparger said.”  Source

 

England’s Academies and Free schools are faring no better, again with revelations of shenanigans week on week.

This week’s bombshell is that the former Education Secretary, Michael Gove’s favourite Academy chain run by Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust, is in the middle of a £2m (~$4m NZ) fraud investigation.

The Guardian reports “The alleged fraud, which comes after Haberdashers’ Knights Academy was judged by Ofsted in November to have “serious weaknesses”, is likely to raise questions about the freedom given to academies. “

So, both fraudulent and not providing a good education.  Marvellous.  I can see how that’s likely to raise standards and give children better opportunities.

 

Okay, so given that they don’t perform any better than the original systems they replaced AND they are a breeding ground fraud and other goings on, why do politicians still forge ahead with them?  Here Mark Naison explains why charters are so popular with certain groups.  It’s a short but rather good overview and well worth watching:

 

It seems to me that in the mark of the new millennium is that anything is okay if it makes someone money.

 

As Diane Ravitch said: “Sometimes it is hard to believe that anyone cares anymore about old-fashioned things like integrity, honesty, accountability, and transparency…”

 

___________________________________

Further reading:

http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.co.nz/

http://dianeravitch.net/2013/12/27/gulen-charter-schools-embroiled-in-international-disputes/

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/main-topics/education/free-school-at-centre-of-police-inquiry-holds-meeting-for-parents-1-6727283

http://www.startribune.com/local/blogs/199606941.html

http://charterschoolscandals.blogspot.co.nz/search/label/Fraud%20and%20misrepresentation

 

 

 

Government continues bid to remove political independence of teachers – NZEI

15 Jul

stressThe government has ignored the overwhelming concerns of New Zealanders in its bid to quash the political independence of the teaching profession.

The Education Amendment Bill has been reported back to the House with a recommendation that it be passed.

The legislation will makes it easier for unqualified and unregistered people to act as teachers in charter schools as well as removing the right of teachers to directly elect their own professional body.

“The government has completely disregarded the overwhelming number of submissions which called on it to allow the new teacher representative body to remain professionally rather than politically driven,” says NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter.

“Instead, once the legislation is passed, the Minister will handpick representatives for the new EDUCANZ body being set up to replace the Teachers’ Council.

“What other professional body has their representatives chosen by the Minister of the day rather than electing their own representatives?”

“This legislation is about ideology and undermining the teaching profession – not about addressing the needs of all New Zealand children and ensuring their right to quality public education.

“The government has also disregarded the views of New Zealanders who have made it clear they don’t want unqualified and unregistered people teaching in our schools.

“This is a major step backwards and will put the education of many children at risk.

“I am sure that New Zealanders will see how this legislation completely contradicts the government’s rhetoric about wanting to improve the quality of education.”

Peter Hughes thinks Ministry has work to do on Special Needs provision, does he?

14 Jul

less talk more actionWell, I think that is the understatement of the year, Mr Hughes.

You say that “[e]very child is unique and teachers and other parents don’t always understand that or get it right.” And yet when teachers are crying out for money to be spent on training and on good provisions for special needs students they are ignored.  When the government want to spend money on change principals and lead teachers via the IES proposal and teachers shout out that they don’t want bonuses but in-class support and training, the Minister says we are whining.

So, when teachers don’t get it right, bear in mind, Mr Hughes, that you and your Ministry are part of that problem.  .

You say that “When things aren’t working [the Ministry of Education] will own that and work with everyone involved to find solutions.”  Really?  Because parents and educators instead talk of huge waiting lists to get help, paperwork mountains no money available, and children having their funding removed whenever a slight improvement is seen, only for they to slip back when the support is removed.

You throw in that $530 Million is spent yearly on Special Needs, but so what?  How much is spent dealing with children who haven’t had good support?  Maybe paying for health problems brought on by the stress of fighting the system for even little thing?  Paid out in years to come to those students who weren’t given the best chance and are not unemployed?  What is spent is a mask for what it costs to *not*get it right, and to throw it in as if it proves how hard Ministry is trying is an insult.

And it hardly helps when the Minister cares so little for special needs provision that she is happy to close special needs residential schools – sometimes illegally.

Let’s face it, Mr Hughes, you do not just have work to do – you have a complete overhaul to do, after years of neglect of special needs provision.  And this neglect is to the detriment of all of our students and is a disgrace.

Start by looking at the lack of good professional development out there for teachers and teacher aides.

Try investigating at the minuscule bit of teacher training that is spent learning about special needs.

Look at the detrimental effect of National Standards on both students and teachers.

Ask parents and teachers how hard it is to get help even for the kids with severe learning disabilities.

Then tell me again you just “have work to do.”

___________________________________________________________________________

References and further reading:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/10265079/Education-ministry-still-got-work-to-do

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/assignments/nz-election-school-of-politics/10253672/Imagine-your-child-going-through-this

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/8611167/Angry-and-upset-at-lack-of-school-support

http://www.nzei.org.nz/NZEI/Media/Releases/2014/1/New_plan_to_establish_elite_teachers_ignores_biggest_hurdle_to_student_success_.aspx#.U8PCzPmSwcE

https://www.facebook.com/NZSpecialNeedsEducation

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/7833594/Call-to-reverse-special-needs-education-cuts

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/learning-challenges

 

 

Charter schools, competition and choice, New Orleans Style

14 Jul

oneappNew Orleans’ Recovery School District is the first in the USA to become 100% charter schools.

To apply for a school place, parents must use the OneApp system.  Before that system was introduced, parents had to send in individual applications to all the schools they were interested in, and then hope.  The OneApp system was brought in to make things easier and prevent any “funny business” taking place regarding who got what place.

Sadly, it’s not all gone to plan.

Parents interviewed by the Nola Defender, were not happy at all:  “Yesterday, I got there at 7am and by 10, they told me to go home because there was already 300 people inside and they couldn’t take anymore,” she said. “Today, I got here at 8 and it took me about 4 hours to get this done.”

And it’s not exactly improved choice, despite reformers’ constant battle cry that charter schools and reforms are ALL about choice.  One mother finally got her children “into a school on the West Bank, despite the fact that they reside on the East Bank.”   In fact, after days of queueing, no toilets, no shade, and pure frustration “at this point, most parents are simply settling for any school that their children can attend despite being told that they have a choice in placement with the open enrolment policy.”

This from Karran Harper Royal:

This week we saw major problems with the RSD’s One App system.

Contrary to popular belief, most parents were not in that line simply because they waited too long to apply for a school for their child. What we saw can also be attributed to the state takeover our our public school system and place it into control of people who don’t have to answer to the people of New Orleans through our democratic process.

Due to the takeover, parents no longer have a right to a public school and must apply to have a seat in any school.

New families moving to New Orleans who may have completely unaware that they needed to start the process months ago were also among those in the lines.

Giving children a guaranteed right of first refusal to schools in their neighborhood is one way to remove the angst and stress families face in applying to schools.

This does not mean students would be trapped in failing schools, after all, we now have fewer failing schools if you believe what the current propaganda is telling you. Isn’t this why the RSD keeps closing schools, to get rid of failing schools. This means children have a greater chance of going to a non failing school in their neighborhood.

This short 5:42 documentary [below] shows you how all of this got started. 

 

When it comes to competition and choice, charter schools are failing New Orleans’ Recovery School District, just as they are when it comes to improving education.

But of course, someone came out of it okay…. those running the schools.

Go figure.

____________________________________________________________________

Further reading:

http://www.noladefender.com/content/frustrations-persist-2nd-day-rsd-summer-enrollment

http://deutsch29.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/new-orleans-parental-choice-and-the-walton-funded-oneapp/

http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2014/07/hundreds_of_new_orleans_parent.html

http://www.rsdla.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=197738&type=d&termREC_ID=&pREC_ID=397173

 

Investing in Education Success (IES) – the basics

8 Jul

question markThe government’s Investing in Educational Success plans are forging ahead with heated debate from all quarters on the merits and drawbacks of the proposals.

Here I will try to give the basic information on IES, so that you can get an understanding of the proposals and the issues and form your own view on whether IES might be a positive move for schools or not.

 

Background information

In late January, the Prime Minister announced that government would be investing $359m in education.

The announcement said this move was to raise student achievement.

The plans had not been discussed with teachers, unions, parents, or Boards of Trustees beforehand.

After the announcement, a Working Group was formed to give advice on how to progress the Investing in Educational Success initiative.

Hekia Parata has refused to rule out that the plans would be forcible implemented if unions fail to agree the proposals.

Working Group has now reported on Investing in Educational Success. The report is divided into two parts.  Part one contains the Working Group’s advice on the design and implementation of Investing in Educational Success. Part two provides advice and members’ independent background papers.

 

How Has IES Been Received?

The initiative has been received with caution.  Broadly speaking, it has been received less well by the primary school sector than the secondary school sector.

  • The scheme was met with concern from Taranaki principals, the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) and the New Zealand Principals Foundation (NZPF). Source
  • Bay principals have come out against aspects of a policy aimed at increasing student achievement by raising teacher and principal salaries. Source
  • A proposed new policy aimed at improving student achievement could have the opposite affect, some North Shore schools say. Source
  • Fergusson Intermediate School Board of Trustees outlined their concerns, saying ” the government has not adequately engaged with or consulted Boards of Trustees on the initiative and its implications.”  Source
  • 22 Auckland Boards of Trustees outlines their concerns in a letter to the Minister.  Source
  • Parents do not feel confident that this plan is the best use of the money.  Source 1.  Source 2
  • PPTA’s point of view is that the consultation over IES was comprehensive, robust and genuine. Source
  • NZEI’s point of view is that

 

PPTA (secondary school teachers’ union) information:

  • Here you will find PPTA media releases, presentations and background papers on IES.

 

NZEI (primary school teachers’ union) information:

  • NZEI Video - How the Government Plan to Spend the $359 Million: An introduction to the Government’s new roles initiative (IES) – how it fits within the wider reforms and what it might mean for children, teachers and schools.
  • NZEI Video - IES – Responding to the new roles

 

Political Parties and IES:

The Labour Party declared at this weekend that they would get rid of IES.

The Internet Party have not yet outlined what they would do.

The Green Party does not explicitly mention in it their policy outline, but it seems they would replace it with their Community Hubs proposal.

Mana do not mention it in their education policy document.

National are, of course, in favour of IES, and Hekia Parata refused to rule out imposing it by force.

 

Other information:

A detailed overview of IES, the background to it, the conflicts between secondary and primary sectors, and other issues is discussed in detail here, by Martin Thrupp, Professor of Education at the University of Waikato.

 

Please feel free to add links to additional information, below, in the comments.

 

Kids more likely to be in poverty than any other group in NZ – Tick For Kids

8 Jul

tick for kids very large logo w quote

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:

  • half of poor children are Maori/Pacific (34% of all children are Maori/Pacific).
  • half of poor children are from sole parent families and half from two parent (24% of all children are from sole parent families).
  • half of poor children are from households where the highest educational qualification for parent(s) is school or less (31% of all children are in these families).

“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.

Survey Of Political Parties On Child Well-Being Issues

8 Jul

Bryan Bruce - Inside child povertyby Bryan Bruce, Knowledge is Power

Last week I surveyed all the political parties on where they stood on 10 issues  directly or indirectly  related to child well-being in New Zealand.

They were asked which of them they would or would not support  in principle  should it come to a vote in the upcoming parliament.

Bill English on behalf of National refused to take part in the survey saying the questions were ‘hypothethical”.

National are also now the only party not to commit to cross-party talks after the election to see if some long term solutions to issues surrounding child poverty can be found.

Some parties chose to give ‘No Answer’ to some of the questions because their party had not yet formed a view. National’s refusal to respond has also been listed as ‘No Answer’ …..

1. Warrant of fitness to be compulsory for all rental properties within three years.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Conservative Party

NO ANSWER

National

2. Progressively extend the paid parental leave period to 12 months within the next six years.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Maori Party

3. Free healthy lunches to be made available to all school children within the next 6 years. The scheme to be introduced first to decile 1, 2 and 3 schools and then rolled out progressively up to decile 10 schools.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party

United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

Labour

ACT

Conservative Party

NO ANSWER

National

4. Free 24 hour medical care be made available to all children and young people up to, and including, the age of 18 within the next three years.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Maori Party

Mana

NZ First

United Future

Alliance

Conservative Party

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

NO ANSWER

National

Labour

5. One health nurse for every 300 school children and a free doctor visit to schools once a week

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party Mana

Maori Party United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

NO ANSWER

Conservative Party

Labour

National

NZ First

6. Create low interest initiatives to allow families to build or buy affordable healthy housing.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

NO ANSWER

National

7. The introduction of a “living wage” rather than a “minimum” wage?

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party Labour

Mana

Maori Party

Alliance

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Conservative Party

Democrats For Social Credit

United Future

NO ANSWER

NZ First

National

8. Remove GST from food.

WOULD SUPPORT

Mana

Maori Party

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Green Party

Labour

United Future

NO ANSWER

Internet Party

NZ First

National

9. Repurchase the electricity system to be run as a public utility and not for profit?

WOULD SUPPORT

Mana

NZ First

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Green Party

Labour

Maori Party

United Future

NO ANSWER

Conservative Party

Internet Party

National

 

10. Does your Party undertake to take part in cross party talks after the election to reach long term solutions to child poverty related issues?

YES

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party United Future

ACT

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

Internet Party

NO ANSWER

National

 

Source: Knowledge is Power

See also: www.facebook.com/InsideChildPoverty

The Political Scientist

Where politics, science and life meet

Cheeky Kids

Reflecting on the craziness of Teaching & Parenting

The Network For Public Education

We are many. There is power in our numbers. Together, we will save our schools.

Networkonnet

An independent voice on education speaking out on matters that need to be spoken about.

Perspectives

Bernardine Vester on education and Auckland, journeys and destinations.

BabyBookForMe

Putting Life Together

marianhobbs

Fulfilling our collective potential:peace,learning and the environment.

Secondary Displacement

Words from the coal face

Save Our Schools NZ

Stay informed - Have a Voice

Paul Bernal's Blog

Privacy, Human Rights, Law, The Internet, Politics and more

The Journal of Education

Knowledge, Reason, and Ideas

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,205 other followers

%d bloggers like this: