Tuesday, 24 September 2013


The Beginning of the End

The New Zealand government's long foreshadowed trial of charter schools is going to commence early in 2014.  Five schools have been approved.  Obviously this is earth shattering stuff to those who are wedded to the proposition that governments always do things better than anyone or anything else.  They see the opening of charter schools as the early death throes of civilisation as we know it.  The histrionic hysterics have been, well, hysterical, or, as Jane Austen would say, quite diverting.

There were three howlers in particular.  The first was an horrendous accusation levelled against charter schools.  It was suggested that they were going to be engaged in a very sinister practice.  They were going to extract profits out of running schools.  We kid you not.  Terrible.  How anyone could mix filthy lucre with the ethereal, other-worldly task of educating children was beyond comprehension.  It could only mean that operators of charter school had to be depraved miscreants.

Actually, this broadside opens up an interesting idea, well worth exploring.
  Since profit is definitely dirty oil not to be mixed with the pure waters of education, we wonder why teachers (particularly teachers who are card carrying members of the teachers unions) are not putting themselves forward to teach for love, not money.  Since, to our knowledge, all prudent teachers try to make a profit out of teaching, by spending less than they receive from their salaries, it is high time we had some consistency.  If making a profit from education is inherently evil, this must include salaried teachers.  Bloodsuckers indeed. 

Our view is that any charter school which does not make a profit ought to be put against a wall and shot.  Where else will such a school get the resources for expansion, capital investment, and growth?  The last thing we want is charter schools running cap-in-hand to the public teat to slurp for more money.  Put simply, if charter schools do not run at a profit they will be unsustainable in the long run. 

A second howler was the call for all unionised registered teachers to boycott the new charter schools.  Have nothing to do with them.  If a charter school happened to be transporting pupils on a train and a unionised teacher was also travelling, he or she would need to get off immediately.  Unionised teachers would not be allowed by the union to get jobs at charter schools.  Local schools would not be allowed to play charter school sports teams, and so forth. 

We believe such a boycott would turn out to be a great boon for charter schools.  The less they have to do with union members who are also teachers the better.  In fact, smart charter schools will insist on employing only non-unionised teachers.  Any unionised member applying for a job at a charter school ought to be required to resign from the union as a condition of employment.  If not, an offer of employment ought not be forthcoming.  Bring on the boycott, we say.  It will be a great benefit to charter schools.

Finally, there have been protests against charter schools teaching "creationism" and "intelligent design".  Since these cosmological beliefs are supposed to be excluded from charter schools, we look forward to the alternatives, which can be donated as "evolutionism" proceeding by means of  an "unintelligent chaotic mess".  Hope you can get good science out of that. 

Creationism (presumably) rests on the proposition that the universe in the beginning came into existence via a Big Bang, created by God.  The alternative view is that the universe in the beginning came into existence via a Big Bang and no-one has any idea what caused it.  But, we are certain, infallibly certain, that it was not God.  Ah, the cant. But there you have it.  No doubt excellent science will be taught and learned in schools which ground all they do on a foundation of professed ignorance and chaos.  No wonder many government schools are in deep trouble.  No surprises there.

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