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

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 May 2024, 9:55am

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

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 May 2024, 9:55am

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? 

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