Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Political palatability and charter schools

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  • David MacGregor,

    I agree with your estimation. Seems as though charter schools can operate as homeopaths do relative to medicine - lots of rhetoric and little substantiation. Though, perhaps that analogy collapses in that at least homeopathy is harmless superstition and its infliction causes little real harm to its victims.

    When you mention 'cultural safety' - what do you mean Russell?

    Auckland, New Zealand • Since Feb 2007 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I also doubt charter schools could claim their education is OK because of the placebo effect, so homeopathy has one up on them there

    Really though one needs to take Slater's site's pronouncements with a large grain of salt (rock sized) one thing "Dirty Politics" showed us his voice and his web site is available for hire, likely we're simply seeing the words of the highest bidder.

    Now I'm off to get the fire hose and make some nice strong homeopathic beer

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Four words come to mind with the whole charter school thing: too big to fail.

    And it's worth asking: how many charter school shills and operators actually send their kids to one?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I'm with Paul regarding both the placebo effect and the link to WO -- I notice you didn't use DoNotLink this time Russell.

    In the same way injured prisoners are first shifted to a public prison before being moved to a hospital to falsely inflate Serco's reported performance, charter schools are being treated with kid gloves by MinEd.

    And the huge hole created by the demise of Campbell Live means charter school failings are hardly receiving the coverage they deserve in the mainstream media. These days it's a brave journalist who dares to criticise the Nats' more extreme neo-con philosophies.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1436 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to David MacGregor,

    When you mention ‘cultural safety’ – what do you mean Russell?

    Among the schools' selling points is their support of te reo Maori and whanautanga. They don't seem to be delivering on those things.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley,

    The sad thing is we have always had the ability for communities with special interests/character to set up schools and have state funding. They are called integrated schools.

    The difference between integrated and charter schools? Integrated school proprietors have skin in the game as they have to fund property and, effectively, carry some fiscal risk so they can achieve their "special character".

    No such risk is carried by charter school proprietors. It is a license to transfer tax payer funding into private pockets with nil financial risk.

    Privatise the profits, socialise the losses.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    On cue, govt MPs question the value of Te Reo in schools (warning: contains Judith Collins).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It seems Mr Poole has some notoriety amongst reporters.

    Although he won’t answer serious and significant questions about his own schools, he’s quite fond of emailing reporters to diss competing schools.

    And, of course, he’s not shy about funnelling things through Whaleoil.

    Basically, this is fucking nuts. Serious and numerous complaints that bear on the welfare of vulnerable children, a mysterious teaching system with an uncertain connection to any concept of educational best practice … and Farrar and Slater on board as cheerleaders. Ugh.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Radio NZ's report has more of the same denial and parent-blaming.

    Can you even imagine what Farrar and Slater would have to say about a conventional state school which constantly declared complaints were the parents' fault for just not understanding its methods?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Poole would argue that the parents chose to send their son to his school....

    Having team whaleblog on his side...what a champ!

    What concerns me is the hours of ORRS funding that went astray....

    The 'media beef up' line was also used by the New Zealand Disability Support Network after the same journalist( and others) exposed cases of serious neglect and abuse at the hands of MOH care providers.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The fact that Alwyn Poole is resorting to hiding behind Dirty Politics players is telling in its own right. How long before he completes the circle by hiring Carrick Graham & Co?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to David MacGregor,

    Though, perhaps that analogy collapses in that at least homeopathy is harmless superstition and its infliction causes little real harm to its victims.

    Not entirely when considering that homeopathy can lure people away from other treatments which might actually make a measurable and significant difference.

    I think homeopathy bothers me less, though, if only because I'm more familiar with people inflicting it upon themselves instead of others. But that complaint will slide past anyone who's already arguing it's their fundamental right to decide what's best for their kids.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Kirsty Johnston has a follow-up story today, which raises some very serious questions about how this school was dealt with – and whether there was political pressure to make the charter school programme look better than it was.

    This is significant stuff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    Just reading back through Kirsty's earlier report:

    The Ministry of Education said having premises to teach from were not required as part of the school contract

    WTF?

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Clark 2,

    In the UK their "free schools" (charter schools/'partnership schools') are always looking to Sweden as their "utopia" according to their Conservative govt.
    But as Sweden's international test scores plummet, it's not looking so good now:
    Guardian
    BBC
    Given these systems failure elsewhere, why do they keep getting stuffed down our throats?
    This just seems like the latest disaster. As you say Russell, how much would kiwiblog etc be loving to go after these schools/teachers if they hadn't helped force them on us..?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2014 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Like SERCO the knee jerk talk of incentives and performance goals (and national standards and 'teacher incentives') almost always leads to everything being bent to ticking the right boxes and myopia to the big picture at best; gaming the system or outright fraud at worst.
    Neoliberal managerialism -working hard to make things worse :(

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Like SERCO the knee jerk talk of incentives and performance goals (and national standards and ‘teacher incentives’) almost always leads to everything being bent to ticking the right boxes and myopia to the big picture at best; gaming the system or outright fraud at worst.
    Neoliberal managerialism -working hard to make things worse :(

    Or otherwise any excuse to deny responsibility and pass the buck.

    Latest I’ve heard is that the Oily One could face contempt of court charges and possibly jail time if found guilty. If he winds up in Serco-run Mt Eden, would friends in high places try to buy him out of it? If he’s thrown over a Mt Eden balcony or gets his face rearranged by fellow inmates, there’d probably be 100 cops on the case. In any case it'd be even more difficult to cover up.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    If he’s thrown

    Bugger would bounce.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to izogi,

    considering that homeopathy can lure people away from other treatments which might actually make a measurable and significant difference.

    Please don’t blame homeopathy for the kind of anti-conventional-medicine anti-vax types who latch onto homeopathy as a justification of their health care decisions. Yes, homeopathy attracts that type, and some practitioners also that type, or exploit them. But that kind of person will latch onto anything that seems to accord with their world view. Just another form of "doctor-shopping".

    You can tell the difference between the paranoid and a more nuanced homeopathic practitioner (as opposed to, say, naturopaths) by asking how they feel about vaccination. If they’re anti, you ask how they reconcile their practice with homeopathy’s founder strongly endorsing it, in the late 18th century.

    A decent homeopath is very quick to shunt someone off to a doctor for a serious matter, and they will not encourage patients to withdraw from conventional medication without the approval of their doctor. So much for “luring” (please).

    Yes, there are unethical people who call themselves homeopaths, but they are by far a minority.

    Anyway, end of digression. It just irritates me when homeopathy is used an analogy for anti-scientific thinking, when early homeopaths actually developed a type of scientific methodology before conventional medicine did (in terms of trying to test remedies in a repeatable and verifiable way on humans). Shame it doesn’t accord with scientific thought currently (I wish it did).

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11486284

    A troubled Northland charter school has been allowed to stay open and will be given a large funding boost - despite an audit finding grounds to terminate its contract and financial management problems.

    Words fail me.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    And oh!

    Don’t it just make one chuckle when words come back to bite ’em in the bum?

    Farrar, from February…

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/opinion/charter-school-likely-close-%E2%80%94-great-example-policy-action

    This is a great example of the enhanced accountability that comes with charter schools.

    ?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    As you say RB,

    this is fucking nuts

    Am I right in thinking that charter schools are not beholden to national standards? If so, has anyone found a plausible rationale?"

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    and from Natrad...http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/279604/another-chance-for-troubled-charter-school....

    Tai Tokerau Principals Association president Pat Newman said ...

    We are screaming for resourcing for special education," he said. "We are told there is no more money.
    "We are screaming for help in all sorts of areas, like behavioural problems, and all the rest and we are told there is no more money. Yet the minister has been able to find more and more money for a school that has failed on every count."

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Basically, this is fucking nuts.

    Sounds appalling to me and a bit I have heard from someone "on the ground " as it were , should be criminal charges.It is obviously sensitive for those concerned, however, I'm a bit horrified so feels it needs investigation. I am sure this will happen if I get anything to do with it.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Sounds appalling to me and a bit I have heard from someone "on the ground " as it were , should be criminal charges.

    Off the top of my head, I can think of graft or embezzlement. Treating also counts, unless it only applies to electoral politics.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

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