Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mike's Minute: Why the hate for charter schools?

Here are a couple of things I know about education.

The first is that we aren't that good at it and our results, whether PISA scores, or kids leaving school without proper qualifications, or even turning up in the first place, speak loud and clear on this.

The second is that although the unions argue more money is the answer, it is, and it isn't.

In New South Wales at the moment, they are handing out $30,000 dollar bonuses for teachers in tricky-to-fill subjects. They still aren't filling them.

I think teachers should earn more, in some cases a lot more. But not just for the sake of it. In a way, they are two different subjects. Does paying a teacher more make a kid show up more? No.

And that's where charter schools fit in.

We had a crack at them a while back and, generally, they seemed to make a difference. But Labour got picked by New Zealand First in 2017 and ideology ruled the day and that was that.

Ideology is one of the greatest problems of all. It should not rule education.

The same way we need a long-term pipeline for major infrastructure that transcends governments, we need the same for education.

But when charter schools are raised the unions don’t like them because charter schools aren't necessarily pro-union. We also have Cabinet papers released Friday that suggest funding might be an issue, depending on the size of the school. In other words, each pupil is allocated a base level of money and that funding travels with the student.

The long-argued point by critics is charter schools get better funded.

What charter schools do is offer choice, and choice in education, as in life, is no bad thing.

The idea that a broad-based, state-funded mass model that results, stats and observations show without a shadow of a doubt doesn’t work, is somehow the only way to do things is short sighted to say the least.

For many of us it worked fine. We went to the local, hated a lot of it, put up with the rest, the odd one had fun and we passed our exams and moved on.

But life isn't like that anymore. We know we are failing, it's indisputable. So instead of embracing change or something new, we want to spend more time bitching over ideology.

If you hate the charter school idea, show me the one you love. Finding a paper, or a critic, or a unionist isn't hard.

Getting kids well educated apparently is.

So how about we change it up a bit?

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings - where this article was sourced.


hughvane said...

You pose the (rhetorical) question "why the hate for charter schools?". Because they show up a too-high number of State teachers, that's why.

The play-way, muddle-along ones, those who favour warm fuzzies and happy social interaction in place of stiff discipline and necessary attainable objectives.

Thank goodness I'm out of it now.

Gaynor said...

You are quite right, Mike, ideology is the big issue.

I believe, stats say we have spent more on education this century, than most countries yet our standards have declined. Reading is the quintessential skill needed for any schooling and we just had the wrong method.

Whole Language (WL) aka Balanced Literacy disadvantages specifically the lowest SES children as well as dyslexics. But the teaching method of WL, child centered constructivism with the idea that the child is to work out how to teach themselves is applied across all subjects. This runs counter to disciplined teacher led direct instruction done systematically and cumulatively by which most of us were taught until about the middle of last century. Science and mountains of research point to this being the most effective method. Also being educated is not to be entertained but learning unpleasant realities like hard work and the correction of work.

There needs to be a revolution and the wrong stuff, based more on philosophy than science and even common sense purged out of our educational institutions.

Private schools have better results ,not just because they have monied clients , but also frequently have held onto the more traditional methods mentioned above.

Money is not the issue. Methods based on nonsense are. I believe, from observation state schools I attended, last century had better results than even private schools today despite us being in classes of nearly 50 pupils.

Anonymous said...

In any totalitarian regime, control of Education guarantees indoctrination.... NZ is in the grip of cultural marxism..... so Education mut be strictly controlled.

Even fully private schools may one day be erased if the Left returns to power.