Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Planned Extinction of Charter Schools

"Wipe Them Out!  All of Them"

The old bumper sticker reads, "Don't Steal.  The Gummint Doesn't Like Competition."  Today, we need a follow-up statement: "No Charter Schools.  The Gummint Doesn't Like Competition".  

The present Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins is purblind, wedded to the teacher unions.  We are told that daily he arises and for his private morning devotions, crawls on his knees in abject humility to the household safe, unlocks it, and then studies the sole piece of paper inside.  It contains his marching orders for each and every day:  "Obey the Teacher Unions, or Death." Twenty-five incantations of "Oh, my Masters!" from Hipkins follow.  Now you know why he never allows himself to be seen in shorts.  His knobbly obeisant knees are the size of dinner plates.

It's no wonder, then, that Hipkins, fearing for his career, if not his disjointed legs, has dedicated himself to shutting down charter schools in New Zealand.  To do so, he must walk over hundreds of students and their desperate parents, exposing them to the derision of disappointed hopes.  Here is the latest example:

School Dropout Falls in Love With Learning Again at a Charter School

Torika Tokalau

A 12-year-old girl who dropped out of school for a year says a charter school turned her life around. 
Luciana Wheeler, who at one time hated school, said Middle School West Auckland helped her fall in love with learning again.   The school was one of 11 charter schools which contract would be terminated under a Government bill to scrap charter schools.
Government officials have told the schools to establish themselves as another form of school, such as a designated school, if they wanted to remain open.
Luciana Wheeler says the teachers at Middle School West Auckland helped her love learning again.
Luciana Wheeler

Luciana said enrolling at a charter school was the best decision her family ever made.  The year 8 student said she struggled at a state school and dropped out in 2016.  She said she was home-schooled because she couldn't cope with the pressure to learn in a school environment.

"When you're in a class of 30 the teacher does not notice you that well, I just felt so lost," Luciana said.  "I didn't feel like I was learning, that I was constantly behind in my work and it made me feel really discouraged."

Luciana's mother Ange Wheeler said normal school was a disaster for her daughter – she felt out of her depth and fell behind in her work.  "She struggled with learning to read and maths," Wheeler said.  "Luciana learns a little differently than other students and most teachers don't have time to deal with that.  She thought she wasn't smart, that she wouldn't have a future and that she was not good enough."

After joining Middle School West Auckland, Luciana's view on school and learning improved.  The classes were smaller and teachers had time to work on individual students learning capabilities, Wheeler said.  "It was a miracle. It wasn't an overnight thing and it took a lot of work but her teachers were great.  It's so different from mainstream schools, there's a wonderful community of learning and a great sense of belonging here."
Minister Hipkins has declared that such schools are ideological.  There is absolutely no place for them in his education system.   They are verboten.  They must go.

It's not that charter schools are failing.  It's that the mainstream is failing.  The Teacher Unions do not want you to know.  They have job protection on their minds.  The facts and reality have nothing to do with it.  Minister Hipkins knows this.  Purblind he may be, but yet not so myopic that he has forgotten who butters his bread.

And remember, the Gummint hates competition.  Especially when, as in this case, the competition does much better than the union controlled nation-wide factories of illiteracy and innumeracy.

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