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The appalling lack of charter school accountability

Published: Wed 21 Jun 2017 09:57 AM
David Seymour and the appalling lack of charter school accountability
After a delay of over a year, the poor performance of New Zealand’s charter schools in 2015 has finally been confirmed by the Ministry of Education.
It is clear that there is no accountability in effect for these schools, regardless of the mantra that is used to promote them:
“Freedom from constraints imposed on regular state schools in exchange for rigorous accountability for performance against agreed objectives”.
Save Our Schools can now reveal that:
• Only 4 of the 9 charter schools in operation in 2015 received their performance-related funding
• Vanguard Military School received its performance-related funding despite failing to meet 3 out of 4 contract standards for student engagement, including stand downs, suspensions and expulsions
• South Auckland Middle School failed to meet its student achievement standards but still got its performance pay
• Only 1 charter school genuinely met its contract performance standards for both student achievement and student engagement.
What is also of concern is the long delay in releasing this information and the complete lack of acknowledgement of these problems by the Minister of Education, Nikki Kaye.
We also saw the nonsense of the so-called “strong evaluation” report, prepared by consultancy Martin Jenkins, having to be released with the caveat that their assessment of performance was not final, as the Ministry had not yet released its final assessments of the 2015 year at the time the evaluation report was finalised. And that report, dated 28 November 2016, was in turn not released until May 2017.
Finally, David Seymour took the ridiculous step of issuing a press release on 20 June 2017, trying to claim that Partnership Schools achieve excellence on attendance. He then made the outrageous claim that a charter school would be at risk of closure if it performed as badly as the average state school on attendance and indicated that state schools can achieve high rates of truancy year-on-year with little or no consequences.
But charter schools are supposed to have clearly defined contract standards for student engagement, including standards for suspensions, exclusions and expulsions. Each of these is a far more serious matter than truancy. But the Vanguard Military School confirmed in its recent 2016 report to the public that it had expelled more students than allowed in its contract for the 3rd year in a row! Other charter schools have at times also missed their contract standards for stand downs, suspensions and exclusions.
Regardless of this glaring failure to meet contract standards, not only are there no consequences, the charter schools in fact get their performance-based funding released!
Rigorous accountability? Yeah Right!
ENDS

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