DS Danyl Strype Public Seen by 306

I just watched the debate about Charter Schools on Waatea 5th Estate. As I said there, the challenge is to come up with a vision for 21st century education that combines the best of the public school system we have inherited with the new opportunities created by the internet;

  • redirecting money away from software corporations to other school needs by adopting free code/ open source software (like Warrington School in Ōtepoti)
  • supporting open source development of Open Educational Resources under CreativeCommons license, so teachers can share their work across the whole education system, locally, regionally, nationally, and globally
  • access to a wide range of teachers through online chat and Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC) for homeschoolers and extramural students
  • collaborative projects like Hive Dunedin that bring community groups into collaboration with the education system:

None of this requires replacing the community-led, not-for-profit school system established by Tomorrow's Schools with owner-controlled, for-profit businesses, subsidized by public education funding. I challenge any defender of the Charter Schools scheme to present credible evidence that it provides better educational outcomes per dollar of public/ parent funding than public schools do. I should add that I support parents' freedom to choose kura kaupapa, special character schools, bilingual education, or homeschooling/ unschooling, so long as they cover the curriculum. For me the issue is one of organisation structure, not educational style, and unfortunately is a lot of speaking at cross purposes in the Charter Schools debate.


Andrew McPherson Fri 18 Mar 2016 3:54AM

Although I am highly doubtful of individual parents ability to cover the curriculum correctly with homeschooling, it is possible to make good progress with MOOCs.
As far as the charter schools go, I think they only have some possibility of success in the context of Asian schools like my brother's college in Taiwan, where there are 5000 students and about 700 teachers, with around 100 expat English teachers all strongly encouraged to give passing grades to everyone, regardless of actual ability.
Fortunately most teachers in that model have a degree from an English speaking country, but teaching qualifications is only desirable for the native teachers, not compulsory.

I don't think that model could work in New Zealand, as teachers don't get the respect and monetary compensation that they do in Asia, also there is simply no incentive to say "sorry, your kid is not able to pass this subject because they don't study."