Friday, 10 June 2016

Just a Few More Years Needed

Monopoly Busting Is a Great Calling

If New Zealand charter schools are afforded another six years of existence, we predict that the charter school programme in this country will likely never be shut down.  Unfortunately that is what presently hangs over the heads of the fledgling charter schools in this country because of luddite politicians and their political masters.  

The government schools and education system is controlled by teacher unions.  It is not too much an exaggeration to say that before the Minister of Education can be excused to visit the latrine he/she has to seek permission from the unions.  The teacher unions of course are interested in one thing, and one thing only--protection of their monopolistic patch.  Naturally, the union functionaries couch the matter in different terms.  They speak about quality education, and superior and advanced schools--but in the union view, superior schools can only exist and continue if they are union controlled.  There are no other kinds of schools to be permitted.  Every other kind is a threat, and must be stomped on.

The teacher unions have huge influence over the Labour Party.  That party, along with its pet poodle, the Green Party, has declared that when control of Parliament is achieved, all charter schools will be shut down.

But charter schools by and large, few though they be, are doing an excellent job.
 Hitherto uneducated kids are making academic progress.  Such schools are thinking outside the square.  The progress, the results, and the public pleasure at seeing kids on the verge of dropping out of education getting a fresh start will eventually create political traction to where, we trust, when the union controlled parties eventually get elected into government, public outcry will be sufficient to protect charter schools in New Zealand.

Another six years should do it, we reckon.

Consequently, we read the annual report of the Vanguard Military Academy with great pleasure.  Vanguard is a charter school focusing upon kids who are not doing well in the state system.  It is run along quasi-military lines.  It takes kids from lower socio-economic areas.  It has superb teachers and athletes on staff.  The principal (aka CEO) reports:
I am delighted to say that in 2015 we have again produced results of the highest order, results that again see us in the top ten schools in Auckland and have backed up our fantastic first year. In 2015 we achieved 93% success at NCEA Level 1, 100% at NCEA level 2 and 93% at NCEA Level 3.  I would like to thank the staff for a wonderful year, a year where they have continued to implement my vision and have gone above and beyond for each and every one of their recruits. The effort that they put in is what truly makes this school special. Although we have a set military ethos, expected behaviours and high expectations on our recruits it is the staff, our people that make the school
work in a manner that is both unique and exceptional.

Vanguard has now established itself with a great first 2 years. We look forward to 2016 with the same energy and excitement as the past. We will continue to provide parents and recruits with a school of choice, a school where structure and discipline are important and a school where our expectation is that every recruit will do their best and try and be a little bit better than they were the day before.
Thank you
Nick Hyde
This is what Labour and the Greens want to shut down, because it is a terrible evil.

There are some student interviews, in the Report.  Here is one:

How did you hear about Vanguard?
Mum and I saw it on the news. They were saying how all the kids are passing and I thought it looked really cool.

What did you think after attending the first Orientation Evening?
I didn’t really know what to think. All the staff were really nice and so welcoming.

You then attended the two week induction, how did you find your induction?
I liked the induction, it pushed me physically. I was doing things I thought I would never be able to do. It pushed my limits and really helped me grow.

What made you want to change schools?
My previous school was expensive, Mum couldn’t afford it anymore but wanted to put me into a school that had the same academic standards so I could still go to university. I got accepted into a couple of schools but I chose Vanguard due to the structure, obedience and leadership qualities. I looked on the website and saw the students in the pictures and videos and thought I wanted to be like that.

Do you think you’ve changed since coming to Vanguard?
I think so, I feel like I’m a better leader and I’m able to take charge rather than sitting in the back to let other people do it for me. I’ve learnt to also take criticism and instruction better and build off it.

Any challenges you’re facing while being at Vanguard?
A little culturally, I’m from South Africa and most other students are from New Zealand. At first I found it hard to make friends but now I feel like family?

What is your Mum’s view on the school?
She loves it. She thinks I’m so different since coming here. I get up and do things she’s asked me to do rather than putting it off. She likes that I have more discipline and more respect for her.

Any other comments about the school or the staff?
The staff are amazing! Honestly, they help us learn so easily. When I ask them to explain something again and again they are still happy to keep explaining it.  Even though my previous school was a very good one, the teachers would tell you to find the answers out in your own time. At Vanguard the staff take the time out of their day to teach us even though the only thing they get out of it is the students appreciating them. I love that about the staff here, they give us all the attention that we need.
And what about Pacific Island students?
Pasifika recruits at Vanguard are achieving remarkable results. The military style and ethos has really appealed to our recruits and they are often performing 20% - 30% better academically at Vanguard than the national average.

Success has also been seen outside the classroom with many of the Pasifika recruits holding leadership rolls within the school and having a significant impact in our sporting teams. Vanguard will continue to look to increase the number of Pasifika recruits at the school with further engagements with the community and with help from our existing school families.

Our female Pasifika recruits are also setting the standard for joining the New Zealand Army with Eldene Ruki, Sarah Samuelu and now Ata Uaine all in service.
And Maori?
One of the key challenges that have been given to Partnerships Schools is to improve the educational outcomes for our Maori recruits. Maori traditionally have lagged behind in the achievement of NCEA and Vanguard is pleased to be providing a solution to this. In 2014 our first set of results had our Maori recruits with a 91.7% pass for NCEA Level 1 and a 100% pass rate at NCEA Level 2. This is nearly 20% above the national average. In 2015 Maori recruits made up 40% of our school roll.  They were challenged to continue the good work achieved by the original recruits and they have.

For two years now our Maori students have achieved well above the national average.  The school's focus on culture that embraces all, expects everyone to achieve, to uphold high standards of behavior and have high standards for themselves has been embraced. The school supports recruits to be the best they can be, and this has proven to be a successful model. In 2015 recruit Coley Lyndon-Tonga assisted by Ephraim Aupouri composed our very own Vanguard haka which is unique to our school. ‘Ko wai ra’ was first unveiled at Graduation 2015 and has now been taught to every recruit at Vanguard and will continue to be. It tells the story of who we are, young soldiers who will not throw away the important treasures given to us, who will stand tall, become leaders and attain our dreams. The challenge continues for 2016 but already we can see that through improved academic  performance, a belief that they can succeed and a never give up attitude. Vanguard is preparing the next generation of Maori leaders to be ready.
 The Left, remember, thinks all this represents a great evil.  In truth it represents a threat to the teacher unions' state-enforced monopoly.  All power to Vanguard and the other charter schools.  Monopoly busting is a great calling in itself, let alone doing it in the field of education.

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