Press Release from New Zealand Green Party

This speaks for itself and shows that, as with charter school movements elsewhere, the real agenda to is enable foreign corporates (guess which ones….) to mine New Zealand schools for their profit stream. As is also the case overseas, it is lower socio-economic children who will suffer under this.


New opportunities for foreign corporates to profit from kiwi kids

Thursday, 14 Mar 2013 | Press Release

Contact: Metiria Turei MP

The National/Act Government has just laid out the welcome mat for large foreign owned corporations to receive huge tax payer subsidies to run profit-making schools in New Zealand, with potential to take over large parts of the education system in the future, the Green Party said today.

Two clarifications released this morning by the Governments’ tendering website GETS confirm that 100 per cent foreign owned corporations can apply to run charter schools immediately, and promises more opportunities for them to set up taxpayer-funded corporate schools in the future.

“New Zealand has one of the best public school systems in the world and we will protect the right of every kiwi child to a high quality, free public education at their local school,” Green Party Co-leader and education spokesperson Metiria Turei said.

“New Zealanders will be shocked to learn that large entirely foreign owned corporates have been invited to apply for significant taxpayer subsidies to expand into our public education system, not just now but in the future.

“New Zealanders will be shocked to learn that large entirely foreign owned corporates have been invited to apply for significant taxpayer subsidies to expand into our public education system, not just now but in the future.

“Funding agreements already published show the taxpayer could pay more than $1 million to establish a charter school, and then much more than $1 million each year to run them.

“This is privatisation of our education system at its most extreme.

“The most insidious part of this plan is that the experimental first stage will be inflicted on vulnerable children in lower income areas.

“These are precisely the kind of kids who need the best education, by the best trained teachers, following the New Zealand curriculum, and to be offered the best and most recognised qualifications.

“Instead these children could be taught by unqualified people, or forced to spend hours longer at school each day as there are no limits on the school day, or even the size of their class.

“The National/Act Government pretends this is choice for lower income kids and compares it to the choice that more wealthy children have available to them through private schools.

“But they know that wealthy New Zealanders wouldn’t have a bar of charter schools.

“The group representing private schools have submitted against charter schools claiming that allowing untrained teachers threatens the entire education system.

“New Zealanders do not want untrained people teaching their kids and they don’t want to pay foreign companies to come in and erode our education system either,” Mrs Turei said.

Gimmicks. Fads & Fancies

Treehorn Express
[Maintained by NZ educator Allan Alach]
 Gimmicks, Fads and Fancies
Trevor Cobbold, in his seminal paper : “School Autonomy is Not the Success Claimed”   [  June 2012 ] points out clearly how wasteful it can be, when Governments think-up a diversion to the mainstreamconversation by inventing or copying a new fad or gimmick that they can easily popularize, mostly because of the amount of money that can be poured into the gimmick and they don’t want to talk about schooling too much. Charter schools is the latest, another New York based gimmick, not working very well up-over.  Cobbald points out the gross irrelevance of the innovation by citing empirical and other forms of hard evidence that indicate that they are a waste of money. Never mind, the federal government, not wishing to worry itself too much about the schooling of children, has committed $475 million over the next seven years to spread them around the continent. Wow!  $475m !  $69m over the next two years! Must have plenty to throw around.
Peter Garrett says, “We are doing it [???] because we know it [???] works.”
‘Charter’ Schools are those with degrees of freedom not granted to neighbourhood schools and are supposed to increase productivity. Fully funded by the government [no school fees] they are run by private organisations or a more placid form of state control, on the condition that they sign a charter that commits them to certain conditions in the first place. The concept in some countries has been linked to a McDonald’s franchise because they can offer fast products. Taxpayers pay whether they approve or not; as they did with NAPLAN testing. Principals and parents organisations are chosen and blessed with what sounds wonderful.  The British call them ‘Foundation’ schools or ‘Academies’ or ‘Free’ schools. Same dog, different leg-action. New Zealand education, renowned and widely-regarded as a system of such ‘stand alone’ schools is going to start some Charter Schools, and any Kiwi will describe the level of current discussion to you, if you are prepared to listen to bad language. No form of charter schooling anywhere has ever lived up to promises. In no state or country have they proved to be anything better as places for improved teaching and learning than the ordinary neighbourhood school. They waste valuable space and money.  Queensland is calling them by the confuse-parents-trick, oxy-moron Independent Public Schools. Cunning beggars.
Charter schools join middle [aka muddle] schools, pre-schools, prep grades as costly gimmicks designed to show-up neglected neighbourhood schools always trying to provide a place which kids love to attend because they love the learning that goes on there. Well cared and well supported with learning-based resources, one can’t invent any fad that is better. 
There will come a day when all Australian schools will join those wonderful neighbourhood schools that now provide learning experiences;  and children attend them  because they love learning and want more of it.






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Listening to Others

The Treehorn Express

 Proudly prepared and presented by Phil Cullen anti-NAPLAN geriactivist thinking of kids.

Treehorn story?

The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’


April 11



Listening to Others

To whom do we listen ?

Julia listened only to Joel. Now we have his/her army of drill-and-kill adherents working in Australian schools, supported by the Great Silence, removing all the joy that kids used to believe is part of learning. The kids in Years 3,5,7,9 have to wait until May 18 for some respite. It should feel like a public holiday for them then. Learning will resume soon after.

We are a Yank-happy lot. Next gimmick on the agenda to copy is sure to be Charter Schools. America, home of the free and the brave has been proud to have an almost pure public school system for 136 years, until now. Some states [e.g. California] would now like to copy the Brits who have ‘proper’ schools for rich kids. New Zealand, also strong on the provision of pubic education, historically, has led the world in a variety of schooling enterprises and achievements; and is now copy-catting Yank ideas for no good reason. Charter schools now, VAM next. Suicidal. NZ was a beacon to the world in so many ways.  It’s just so sad.

Australia has become chock-full of gimmickry. Instead of having a system of compulsory schooling that starts in Year 1 and finishes in Year 12; with seven years of primary schooling and five years of secondary schooling, and concentrating on helping our future citizens to develop their abilities to the utmost within that structure, we fiddle. We fiddle with the start of school and the middle as if we have never known what we are doing to children, as if we have never been to school and as if we have never had anything to do with helping children to learn. Our politicians think that people will vote for them because our leaders appear to know what they are doing……and really have no idea.  Australian schooling is reaching the upper limits of craziness.

We antipodean colonialists don’t seem to know what to do, so we copy anything…anything. We need to be told what to do, it seems,  We’ll copy anything that is packaged in the U.S.A. and controlled by the mega-rich who can make more money from what kids do at school than they have ever done. That’s the new big feature of schooling in the U.S.A. and its satellites. It generates mega-bucks. There’s little concern for kids in the test-based equation.


G.E.R.M [Global Education Reform Movement]

“The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry. to down dissent and originality. That is the aim of the United States [AND AUSTRALIA] whatever the pretensions of politicians, pedagogues and other such mountebanks, and that is its aim everywhere else…Their purpose, in brief, is to make docile and patriotic citizens, to pile up majorities and to make John Doe and Richard Doe as nearly alike as possible.”

Australia is now a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool GERM country [See The Treehorn Express 19 Dec.2010], one that believes in


Testing core subjects only


Pre-test school panic

Ranting a variety of gimmicks

Adopting educational reform ideas from the corporate world

Hiring non-school experts as leaders

It is almost the opposite of what was envisaged round about 1979 when Australia was singing ‘Care for Kids’ during the International Year of the Child. Click above. If Australian teachers and parents had had, then, the political support to encourage broad and creative learning, to build on the vision of what a good education system looked like, using educational leaders who had been there, done that we would now be far ahead of most other countries, including Finland.



Shouldn’t our Australian Teachers’ Unions and Professional Associations establish a fund to send Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne to Finland for a week or two?  How soon?


Readings :

1. The practising epidemic is much wider than I had thought. Trevor Cobbalt [10 April 2012] :-  Open  Then ‘Students Face NAPLAN Test Barrage’  . {I’m quoted as saying:”Practising is not teaching. It is big-time cheating when the original schooling concept of teaching a full curriculum to all, using pedagogically useful syllabuses and time allocations based on society’s view of their importance, is fiddled with for nefarious reasons…publishers’ profits and political bloody-mindedness. A balanced time table, related to child growth and development, is a critical schooling issue. } I repeat.

2. Marion Brady [a Treehorn Express reader] reported a story in the Washington Post of a person with a bachelor and two masters degrees who failed Year 10 Maths & Reading Tests. The story spread, and Mackenzie Ryan of Florida Today writes:

3. Tony and Christopher might like to read this before they head for Finland. ‘How Finnish Schools Shine’  is a report in the UK’s Guardian


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Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443