Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Shelob's Cobwebs

Ideological Inanities

". . . When thou speakest, people say,
Did we hear a donkey bray?"

Of all world-views which compete in today's ideological marketplace, statism ranks as one of the more gullible, ignorant and one-dimensional.  One can confidently predict what our numerous resident statists will say on any public issue of the moment.  Whatever concerns or ails us, doubtless more government rules, regulations, controls, intrusions, money, and government programmes will fix the problem. 

This becomes even more ludicrous when controversies arise in those few areas where the state already runs a monopoly, such as education.  The failings of our monopolistic government schooling system are well documented.  When you are already operating in a statist monopoly, the only response left when failures emerge is for the statist to adopt an Oliver-Twistian pose, stick out the porridge bowl and demand more (taxpayers' money). 

The Green Party is a statist party.  All it ever wants for Christmas is more government, less freedom.  True to form, its education spokesman and ardent advocate for monopoly government schools, Catherine Delahunty slammed a poor little one-year-old, nascent charter school, the Vanguard Academy over the weekend.  It was failing, terribly.  Why?  Because it has just experienced a substantial drop in its roll.  Commissar Delahunty unsheathed her Cossack sabre and launched a full frontal attack, slicing through the air with a dreaded press release:

Charter school roll plunge

One of the five Charter schools lauded by the Government as a success has lost a quarter of its school roll this year, with each student now costing four times as much to teach than children in a regular public school, the Green Party said today.

Latest Ministry of Education roll count data shows that Vanguard Military College had 79 students attending in October this year – 25 percent below the 108 students it is funded to teach and the 104 students it started the year with.  “Plans to open four more of these [charter] schools next year must be put off till Government can prove they’re value for money, good for students and aren’t damaging neighbouring schools.

“Vanguard has been trumpeted by National as a success yet official data shows it is struggling to hold on to its students.  Principals in state schools are concerned about the disproportionate amounts of funding Charter schools are getting, saying that they’d be able to achieve amazing things for their own students if they had access to a similar amount of resources. “Charters are able to pay for transport, uniforms, stationary [sic] and even food for their pupils. Even if they were succeeding, it’d be no surprise given the level of resources.

“The problem with Charter schools is that they suck resources and students away from public schools. 
So, a fairly predictable rearguard eructation from one of our card-carrying statists.  But maybe she has some valid concerns?  Blogger, Cameron Slater went to the trouble of  asking the CEO of Vanguard Military College, Nick Hyde for a response
Vanguard Military School has continued to defy the critics and is happy to announce that it has produced outstanding results for 2014. Partnership Schools have been created to use innovation and to try different methods in an attempt to assist any child who if they continued in their current school environment would fail.  Vanguard has built its model around a military ethos and has a focus on producing productive citizens for New Zealand.

At the start of the year we enrolled 45 Level 2 students of various abilities and we are happy to announce that 41 of them have successfully gained their NCEA Level 2 qualification for a 91% success rate.  9 of them also finished off their Level 1 Certificates and a further 3 went on to gain NCEA Level 3.  We also hope to announce similar results soon about our Level 1 students.  I would also like to point out that Maths, English and Physical Education are compulsory for all students and our results have been moderated by other local schools in the area.

Today’s attack on the school by Catherine Delahunty and the Green Party has been disappointing.  As a school we are here to serve our students, their parents and the communities that they come from.  We have an open enrolment policy and accept all.  We have invited politicians of all parties to visit us, see what we are about and how we do things, as we can appreciate we are new and different.  Catherine Delahunty nor any member of the Green Party has visited our school or even spoken to us.
The “roll plunge” she talks about are students graduating and leaving on their own terms. An example is of 2 students who gained their NCEA Level 2 qualifications during the year, sat and passed the New Zealand Army entrance test and were offered service in August. As a school we have assisted them to be productive citizens for our country.

If she had, she might understand that our school is different and is not about keeping students for the entire year if they have already gained the qualification that they enrolled for.  The “roll plunge”  she talks about are students graduating and leaving on their own terms.  An example is of 2 students who gained their NCEA Level 2 qualifications during the year, sat and passed the New Zealand Army entrance test and were offered service in August.  As a school we have assisted them to be productive citizens for our country.  By holding them at school for a further 4 months is not in the student’s best interest.

Vanguard Military School’s priority is to get our students the NCEA qualification they enrol in and then assist them into apprenticeships, courses, jobs, the NZDF and next year when we enrol Level 3’s we hope to send some to University.  We appreciate that we receive tax payers money and therefore will continue to strive for top results but we are also entirely comfortable with our students graduating on their own terms and leaving us to become the best they can be in their chosen field.

The school is currently taking enrolments for 2015 and already has 127 students signed up.  We are full at Level 2 and Level 3 and only have a few places left at Level 1 before we reach our maximum roll for 2015 of 144.  So to anyone reading this out of interest, maybe hop on google and check out your local schools results and compare them with a 91% success rate at NCEA Level 2 because in my eyes that’s a lot of happy students, happy parents and hopefully happy taxpayers.


Nick Hyde
The roll plunge hysterically decried by Delahunty occurred because of exceptionally high numbers of pupils successfully graduating.  Which leaves Delahunty in the laughable position of objecting to a charter school because it has been so successful.  However, like all ideologues, statist Delahunty will not let the facts get in the way of her just-so ideologically hide-bound world view.  

But there is something more sinister at work here.  Statists like Delahunty don't really care whether government schools succeed or fail.  Rather, the driving concern is that they all be the same.  It's social justice, don't you know.  The statist "people's education system" will have controls and rules so that one size must fit all.  If that one size just happens to be uniform mediocrity, that would be a preferable outcome to having many schools succeed and some fail.

For Delahunty the worst possible outcome would be for those failing schools to be transformed into charter schools and copy Vanguard's success.  She would have us believe that Vanguard's success is a cause of the monopoly schools' failures. “The problem with Charter schools is that they suck resources and students away from public schools," she writes.

Private sector, bad.  Government sector, the only and highest good.  Behold Shelob's cobwebs in the statist mind. 

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