Saturday, August 27, 2016

Proposed Funding Changes: Part Two - Key Themes

This post is part two in the series ProposedFunding Changes.  Part one looked at the seven key aspects of the proposal, and this post is a brief outline of some of the key themes that arise from these key aspects of the funding proposal.  NB: It is another longish post - so feel free to skim and scan the bolded bits. 

A Quick Reminder

Earlier this year the Government announced a major change in the way it intended to fund schools.  It proposes to replace the decile funding system, which it considers to be a ‘blunt instrument’, with a more layered approach.  The Government believes this will allow schools more flexibility.   It is hoped that this flexibility will be better suited to meet the challenges with the size of the achievement challenge.   In post one I highlight what each of the seven aspects of the changes are, and include my wonderings and concerns with the proposal.  

What I noticed as I read, re read and read again the background papers that sit behind the proposal, was that there are a series of themes that keep emerging.  Todays post intends to explore those themes a little further, and the wonderings I have as a result. 

Other Wonderings 

(from the background reading and Minister on the Nation)

Theme Based:

School Choice and Demonstration/Model Schools

Of interest was the section on ways to promote competition within our current  system by creating a greater role for the private section.  This would be done by providing additional public funding, controlling schools enrolment choices (without saying how), restricting the fees charged and tagging funding to improved student performance (by using valued added data).

In one of the reports it talks about diversity of provision and how there is limited evidence that parents demand more but instead, we (as a country) could use schools set up under section 156 of the education to act as models of key features they (the Ministry and Government) want to see implemented across the whole system (bulk funding, value added data and improved teacher appraisal were mentioned but with little information about what that might look like).  It is interesting that just this week one of the changes in the Education Act has allowed for this, with the introduction of CoOL schools (Community of Online Learning).  More about my thinking on this another time. 

Further discussion about diversity of provision focuses on introducing Demonstration and Model schools and that these would be a possible mechanism for implementing change.  With a little research, it would appear that this is yet another process ‘borrowed’ from the US.  One of the reports outlines how a select group of schools (or volunteer schools) could be used to trial some of the changes such as funding flexibility with a total resourcing model, in return for higher accountability and value added data (performance pay perhaps?).   The authors discuss how this could be a trial but if successful the school could be provided with additional autonomy (although I wonder what that looks like) that they would earn when demonstrating success.  (Does this sound like a Charter model?)  However they add the caveat that it is important not to ‘overfund’ these schools so that any effective change is attributed to practice, not funding. 

I wonder, what exactly are Demonstration and Model schools - what's the plan for these? They are meant to help all schools ‘lift their game’ (yes that is what the report actually said) but it is really unclear what they are and if the intention is to slip these into the current network.  Much is written in the briefing documents about how there is space in our current system for such schools (and more Charters) but the detail about this is either withheld or purposefully vague.  

Given the introduction of the CoOL's which came out of the proverbial 'blue' this week, I would guess that that idea is just one of many new ideas we will be barraged by.  I would also wonder if this is a deliberate tactic.  A tsunami of ideas is an effective tool to undermine and shake up current status quo.  


Competition in NZ, according to one report, takes place in the context of parents having poor information on which they base their choice of school, and that evidence shows that competition garners minimal gains.  Given schools often market themselves on non academic features, which can mask performance, the MoE propose developing a ‘value added’ data process to help inform parents.   

There is very little information on what this actually is although it does appear to come under the improved accountability stream.  One report outlined areas the authors felt could be ‘pushed harder for contestability’ included the 'measurement and management of performance' to put competitive pressure on schools to raise student achievement.  The report outlines how the MoE has an opportunity to develop value added data which would better inform parents when they make a choice of where to send their children.   The report does outline skepticism toward introducing a more actively competitive model that would include vouchers, removing zoning and increasing support for private schools (interesting given this is in the proposal released by the Minister) as there is limited evidence that there are gains for student achievement.

So I wonder, how will putting competitive pressure on schools around data improve outcomes for students?  What about all the variables?  How does pressurising schools assist things?  Why not work alongside schools and actually ask the Education sector what they think will make a difference?  I appreciate that this suggestion is lacking details (much is blacked out under OIA which makes my mind boggle about what it actually says - I assume its pretty controversial) but I wonder what evidence and research sits behind such a proposal?  I have not seen anything that shows increased pressure improves outcomes.   If we look to models offshore I think we can see the damage done under a competitive (data based) model.  

 Communities of Learning (CoLs) 

All through the papers there is constant mention of CoLs.  Unfortunately there is actually little detail about what this looks like, with quite a few things blacked out under OIA.  I do wonder what is so 'secret squirrel'  that the public can not be privy to - is it not the publics' tax dollars?  Is it not the publics' children?   

In terms of what was available to read, my wonderings are;  What will bundled support packages for CoLs and property actually look like?  Does that mean that one school in your cluster will build a ‘Math hub’ and the other schools ‘borrow’ it?  Will it mean that we share support and caretaker staffing?  Heaven help it if two windows break at the same time!!

My wondering is – is the CoL the first step in seeing if multiple Boards overseeing one principal is feasible?  The papers seem to indicate so.  Will administrative support (which is mentioned as something that CoLs will have) mean one super board, one super principal and one super PA? Do we give them capes?) 

What will happen to schools that do not join a CoL?  –Will they miss out on special education and professional development funding and opportunities?  It is unclear what will happen for students with special needs but it looks like funding for special education will be linked to CoLs.  What will that actually mean for schools and most importantly, individual students? Does that mean the RTLB (Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour) will be linked to CoLs and due for yet another shake up? 

It is expected that all schools will be in a CoL by 2018 – that is only 18 months away.  What will happen to those who are not in one?

Staffing and Base Funding

Once again there are more questions than there are answers.  Nothing I have read or attended, has been able to clear this up.  My questions are: 

What about hard to staff areas and supplementary funding?  
What about the Auckland crisis?  What’s being planned for that?
How much would base funding be? What do they consider a minimum level?


There seems to be (you just need to read the background papers) an assumption that all schools have mismanaged the property portfolio and that is why the state of the property assets are in such a mess.  Just on that, I would like to point out that it was not schools that changed the laws that allowed for substandard building practices that led to all the leaky buildings!  It was also not the previous Government that made the building standards slip.  

In addition, the Ministry signs off every property plan, and every school has a property advisor.  Blaming schools for the property stock mess is a little uncalled for.  Might I suggest some navel gazing?  There has been issues with the MoE property department for many years, including a long report indicating concerns from the Auditor General.  

One colleague made the point that to remove property from schools would lead to the days where all schools were painted in the same batch of ugly green, and that in fact, schools look better loved and cared for now then when they were under the 'education board' of the past.  He further pointed out that this was because we make the decisions on what happens in our school so we have a higher personal investment in making sure our schools look loved and cared for.  I tend to agree - we take great care of our school because we have a vested interest - if that vested interest is replaced by no say in what happens, I believe we will become complacent.  This is not a step forward but one back to the 'dark ages'.  

Re Class Sizes

Currently schools are funded on a staffing ratio – and principals decide how many students they place in each class.  Under the new system the Minister could not guarantee that classes would not grow.  The Minister outlined to the media and public that it already happened now because principals decided how many students went into a classroom  and that this funding would allow schools to continue to decide class numbers.  She outlined that the things people are concerned about already happen in the system.  

It is a little disingenuous to say this as classroom ratios are a very complex beast.  The decisions we make have to be made by taking into account many variables.  Class numbers might seem high in a year 4, 5, or 6 class, but the ratios are 1:29, and if 8 year 6 students walk in they need to be housed - whilst that many students will generate some funding it is not enough for a new class to be set up in that area of the school.  To tell the public that the reasons class numbers in some schools are high is because I and my colleagues 'decide' is to only tell a tiny part of the story.  

A wondering that needs to be had is what will happen to specialist teachers?  The Intermediate schools have already had several attacks on them, and the new proposed funding may be a new attack.  What happens to the ratios for specialist teachers (think technology, music, art, food tech etc).   I wonder if this is yet another way (add CoOL) to phase out Intermediate schools?  Not the cheapest schools to run so when you look at economies of scale, one must wonder about the agenda.  

Although, with this 'think' in mind in term of cheaper to run schools, I would think that smaller schools would be in the firing line but it seems mass school reorganisation is off the table (or at least for the moment in an obvious way).  Mind you, the changes in the Education Act will make reorgainisation easier to instigate (cue CoOL - less actual students attending as 'bottoms on seats' means more chance of schools being unviable...). Cue also the changes to the Education Act that allow for more than one Board to appoint a principal between schools - this paves the way for mergers quite nicely.  Well played Minister and associated minions - well played!  I imagine there are more 'obstacle removers' my brain just has not made the connections - yet.  

From the MoE (Ministry of Education) presentation  

At the presentation meeting  it was stated that they were looking for ‘ideas’ – I wonder, what are all these magical 'ideas' coming out from the sector?  Are they going to share them, so we can both applaud and critique them?

It was said that the ‘consultation’ was to seek our thoughts and support for change, but I wonder, what if the sector doesn't want to change or go that direction?  Then what?   How much buy in is enough buy in for this proposal to progress?  Is it one person, all educators or just a percentage?  What is the magic number?

The roll out of the new funding proposal is due to come into effect just before the new decile recalibration would take effect.  I wonder, If the roll out is before the next decile recalibration is that because with the state of poverty in our country there is an expectation that there will be higher need?  And actually, this will cost more?

Regarding the ‘consultation', Apparently it is to determine the core rules that will be determining the funding; this is the design phase and the details are to come.   We were told that the Cabinet has agreed to undertake a testing of the ideas, which will then be tested in greater details.  Great pains were made to point out that 'nothing is set in stone'. The adequacy question is to get addressed through the design process.  I am unsure if I fully understand how this will occur.  What if it is shown to be highly inadequate? Then what?

When the Ministry was asked if the design process was looking at other school models like  middle schools, the answer was no.  Yet this would be wise because middle schools have issues regarding funding and staffing that schools like mine don’t face.  It was stated that the intent was to get the year design bit rights, but the point about how different rules applying to the primary and secondary contexts was important, so I wonder what will happen around this?

Other Questions asked:

At our meeting the question of will the amount of staffing credits be enough to maintain what we have now, was asked but there was no answer to this.

When asked if staffing will be linked to at risk kids, the MoE replied that apparently this  could be cash or a percentage of teacher – this detail is still to be ironed out.  Hmm.

When asked if this new process will allow us to increase funding and staffing as our roll increases, the short answer was yes.   Staffing will still be paid centrally but charged as an average.  In our accounts we will see the average but the Moe will pay the ‘bill’ for overs.  But for how long, I wonder?    

Right now no schools know what the staffing entitlement will look like – this is still to be determined. 

When asked if the number of staff a school is credited will be based on student numbers as it is now, the answer was unclear.  Apparently this needs to be tested because the Ministry data shows that schools fund an additional 900 teachers over entitlement now.  2019 will be when schools get the first indicative staffing notice.   So, if schools are already funding 900 over entitlement now, surely this shows the current system is inadequate - if I was to ask my colleagues (in particular those who can not afford to 'over staff' if they would overstaff if they had the money) - I am betting they would.

The best question asked was why not do a trail first? The answer was that some bits, like the property aspects are already being trialed.  I wonder where and what does that look like?   That’s the first I have heard. 

Finally, Be Careful about what you wish for:

A final point and wondering I might make is about property and decile.  For quite sometime the Minister has been telling the pubic via the media that schools and school principals constantly tell her that we hate property and it takes much of our time.   We also (not me by the way) tell her and her officials that the decile system is unfair.  Interestingly, I do hear this quite a bit from colleagues who tell me that it is unfair that their decile 10 students get far less per pupil funding than mine.  When I ask how many 'at risk' students they have, or what kind of money they bring in from fundraising efforts or donations, or if they need to implement significant pastoral care programmes, or if they have ever had difficulties staffing (although all Auckland schools are now struggling in this area), or how much transiency is an issue for them etc (you can see where I am going with this) then the conversation shifts - sometimes.  

Whilst there is a truth to the issues we face regarding property, and sometimes the decile system is not as targeted for all students, the old adage of 'be careful what you wish for' applies here.  Now, instead of asking educators what we want (or actually fixing the issues in the Ministry) we are instead going to get no say and lose the ability under self governance to make our own decisions about what our schools look like, and the funding mechanism is now likely to do less to ensure equitable outcomes.  

In this situation, like the decile shake up, the Minister is using our own concerns against us in order to save money and set the agenda.  In some respects, I feel we have been the catalyst of our own coming misfortune.  Education should not ever be about 'one up man-ship'  - instead there should be a collective efficacy from both educators and Boards of Trustees for the educational outcomes of our all our students.  To do this schools need to acknowledge that there is not an equal playing field for all students and instead of being envious of the per pupil funding a school with many at risk students has, be looking at ways to share best practice across the system and be supportive of the challenges all our schools face.  

Remember, where there is disharmony in the hen house, the fox will find it easier to get in and to take charge.  


Treasury Report (mostly blacked out by OIA)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Proposed Funding Changes - Part One:

PART ONE:  What are these 'proposed changes'?

WARNING:  This is quite a long post – feel free to read the bolded bits!

Earlier this year the Minister of Education announced a radical shake up of how schools in New Zealand will be funded.  I confess when I first heard the news my brow furrowed and my eyes narrowed.  My tendency to be skeptical when faced with yet another major change to the system warred ferociously with the strengths based side of my personality, who wants to see what the ‘gems’ in any idea are.   In fairness to the warring side, quite a few changes that have been implemented in recent years have been more detrimental to achieving successful outcomes for students than positive, so the track record is not looking good!  The testament to this would be the growing number of wrinkles I am collecting from the narrowing of the eyes and furrowing of the brow!

I have been percolating this post for some time now, actually since the announcement.  In the resulting months I have read, reread and read again the papers that sit behind the proposed new funding model, sometimes shaking my head in a mixture of disbelief and concern.  I have watched our Minister discuss the proposal with our countries media, and most importantly, I have attended one of the ‘consultation’ meetings. 

I had hoped that all this reading, watching, asking and participating would help ease my disquiet and answer some of the many wonderings I have.   Not so.  It also seems that the more I talk with my colleagues, the less answers any of us have. 

So, where to start? 

The more I read the more I see reoccurring themes emerge.  The more I see these themes, the more questions and wonderings I have.  For the purposes of this post, I think the easiest route is to do a rundown of what the proposal is (in case you have been somehow out of the educational loop and it has passed you by), and then outline my wonderings.  Part Two will then look at each of the reoccurring themes that emerge from the background papers and the consultation meeting and what my subsequent wonderings are.  

What is the proposal: 

That there be seven areas of change made up of three main proposals and four supporting aspects.

The Three Main Proposals:

 1. Per-child funding – a magic amount still as yet undetermined

All indications are that the current funding model looks like a U shape, with the most funding going to the younger students and older students.  The best description I have heard is that rather than seeing it like a U shape, it is more like the Nike Whoosh.  What the proposal aims to do is flatten out the funding.  To do this would mean that some aspects of school funding (either from the younger students or the older) would need to be funded less.

My Wonderings:

The message has been that there is no more funding; instead it will be more of a reallocation.  This message is not clear, as the MOE advisor indicated that the review might (emphasis on might) show a case for further funding and this would then be taken to the Minister of Finance.  Given the ‘consultation’ documentation also said that the scope of the review did not cover the adequacies of existing funding, seems to me to be a ‘cart before the horse’ kind of review. 

I wonder, how can you possibly review funding if you a. don’t know how much it costs to run a school and b. are not looking at if the existing funding is adequate or not (I suspect this is because if they do they will see gaping holes in equity and they will be overwhelmed by how much money we need). 

To reallocate funding by flattening out what is currently funded, it must come from within the current system.  This means there will be ‘losers’ in order for some age groups to be ‘winners’.  Whilst the official documents suggest that this is about aligning the funding to the challenges within each year group, and making sure there is a shift to more funding per child, and it suggests that this will be the foundation for further funding. I remain skeptical. 

My wonderings are, what research did they use?  If they used the early intervention research then they would be making a case for lifting funding for little people, not flattening it out.   I wonder, which child will they take that funding off – your preschooler and five year old, or my preteen?  How will they decide?  They say it is to address the educational challenge at each area, so given the dip in achievement in year 4 (thanks National Standards) I would imagine that this year group might get funded more?  But who will lose?  Fun times ahead sorting this out!

2.  Additional funding for ‘at risk’ students 

This is designed to replace the decile funding we currently have, under the guise of readdressing the stigma attached to decile.  A series of criteria will be used and it is hoped this will align with the Governments current Investment Approach. 

My wonderings:

Apparently the ‘at risk’ funding will be judged on criteria that look a little like the following (although this is up for debate under the consultation):
  1. -       Maternal parents educational background
  2. -       Incarceration rates
  3. -       Child, Youth and Family involvement (although it will be under a new name)
  4. -       Benefit dependent families

Schools will then receive funding for ‘at risk’ students based on the criteria.  This funding will not be identified by student name, and if students that would attract the funding leave during the year, it will not follow the student.  This is because at the moment, the anecdotal evidence is that where one ‘at risk’ student leaves, another will take its place.  Several wonderings arise from this.  Firstly, although the Ministry say that we wont know which students are attracting the funding, I do wonder how they will know if the targeted funding is making a difference if we are unable to know who it is we are targeting!  Sure, we will have a rough idea, but actually, it’s a little hit and miss the way it is being proposed.  Do they not trust us with sensitive information?  Apparently the ‘bigger brother’ system will know who these kids are, and we will just get a dollop of money in.  On one hand that means we wont have to add the criteria to our enrolment forms but it does raise some bigger questions about why we cant be told who they are targeting – who are we going to tell?  Surely the more information we have the better equipped we are to make choices and ‘meet the challenge’ – time the Ministry walked the talk!

It is great that they want to take the stigma of the decile away but lets be very clear, it is only a placebo.  Prospective parents will change from asking ‘what decile are you?’, to ‘How much ‘at risk’ targeted funding do you get?”.  Same thing, just a different language.   The community is not silly.

3. Supplementary funding 

To support isolated schools and services, provide more funding ‘per child’ and to help maintain a network of schools and ECE providers across the country.

My Wonderings:

If there is no more funding, where does the supplementary funding come from?  Is this another ‘Rob Peter to pay Paul’ situation?  Who shall we take it from?  Perhaps Special Needs – there is no mention of that in this review or how this area will be funded – or ESOL for that matter – perhaps those areas are being dissolved to make way for the ‘supplementary’ funding.  Given the rising level of Special Needs in our schools, and an increasing population that does not speak English, this area surely should be under scrutiny.  How does the Special Education review fit in here? 

Four Supporting Funding Ideas:

1. The Global Budget 

This is one of the most controversial aspects of the funding proposal.  The purpose is touted as the ability to provide schools with greater flexibility around staffing, in order to meet the educational challenges within each school.  Under this proposal, teaching staff will be issued as staffing credits and this will enable schools greater flexibility around staffing, in order to meet the educational challenges within each school.

Teaching staff will be charged at the ‘average rate’ (although there are no details about how this looks yet) so that a school can determine how they resource staffing in their school and so BoTs can make decisions based on the challenges within their schools.  Schools will be bulk funded although initially this is issued as a credit, any unused staffing credits will be provided to the school at the end of the year.  At the Ministry meeting it was made clear that if a schools allocated staffing cost more than the ‘average’ (due to experience and qualifications of teachers) then this cost would be worn by the Ministry. 

Once of the concerns is that class size will be impacted upon, as schools make decisions based on staffing.  The Minister often says school principals make these decisions already.  This is true, but the concern here is that we will have to lift ratios in order to ensure we fit within the funding provided.  Thus far there is too little information to know what impact this will have.  

My Wonderings:

I am assuming (but by no means will I be surprised if it does not work out this way) that staffing credits will be allocated to schools in a similar way to how it currently works, based on student numbers.  However, given the ‘flattening’ out of funding for year groups, I wonder if student ratios will also be ‘quietly reviewed’ with the outcome being higher numbers (to offset costs).  There was no answer to this query.   This is where schools will be forced to increase ratios and class size will grow.  

There has been comparisons to bulk funding, which the Ministry is taking great pains in assuring all and sundry that it is not, but there are scary similarities.   Once again, schools are being incentivized to buy in ‘cheaper’ teachers – for my school that would mean less experienced.  If I want to receive some of the ‘bulk funding’ from unused teacher credits (not that dissimilar to how banking staffing works now, only in that case one is incentivized to understaff) then I am encouraged to employ cheaper teachers.  Sounds ok on the surface?  By doing so I would be able to employ more teachers right?  We could fund additional support programmes with the extra money right?  

Not really – lets look at that a little deeper.  If we were to all only employ inexperienced, cheaper teachers, who will mentor them?  What will this mean to our students if they keep on having inexperienced beginning teachers?  What will happen to the ‘tail’?  Might work in schools where there are less ‘at risk’ students, but I am doubtful.  Why would we shortchange our students and the teachers starting their careers with substandard support?

We want good outcomes for students, so why am I not being incentivized to ensure my teachers have mentors/coaches and to develop them professionally?  We will do it anyway, because that is the ethical and professionally responsible thing to do, but I do wonder if schools will be tempted to scoop up some funding to use elsewhere?  Some schools may also be tempted to increase class levels in order to balance the books. 'At risk’ students need a range of teaching experience, especially teachers who are skilled in acceleration and engagement.   Employing inexperience will not ‘fix’ the tail. 

There are big worries about the Global Funding aspect.   It comes from Australia and indicators from the Northern Territory are that it has left schools understaffed and very much in significant debt. 

I am also wondering how will staffing allocation work? Is that under review as well?

Then there are contractual aspects that need to be considered – because although the paperwork at the consultation meeting said that current contractual things would not be impacted upon, I do wonder about what will happen to allowances such as the Mita allowance, and what about decile allowances?   If you do away with the decile funding approach then you can’t give out allowances for decile?  Do these get replaced by an ‘at risk allowance’?

How about staffing in relation to support staff?   Are they finally reviewing what schools pay in this area so they can make an informed decision before funding for support staff?

Finally, mention was made about Staffing credits being based on the size of achievement but what actually does that mean?  I remain unclear!

2. Greater Accountability  (to show the correlation between funding and outcomes).  

The purpose for this proposal is to have more accountability and transparency and achievement for individual students, and to ensure more effective support and interventions.   This would be done by using common information and making it freely available to parents and communities.  ERO would be the group tasked with considering at risk students as part of their role.

My Wonderings:

How?  What does clear expectations and greater accountability look like?  What will they use?  I suspect PACT will be the tool of choice.  It is interesting that they talk about using a common language – so far that common language is via National Standards, but the data for that is showing that it is not working.  So what does that mean?  Where does the front end of the Curriculum (things like Values and Key Competencies) fit into this?  

If I was being skeptical I would say this might be the catalyst for National Testing (bare with me – is that not the easiest way to get common language and assured accountability?) and from there, it is just a short skip to performance pay based outcomes.  When you read the documents that lead into the funding proposal you can see this is where the conversation is heading. 

At the consultation meeting, data was discussed and the point was made that National Standard and NCEA data was good data but that it was not enough.  They emphasized that it was not about introducing funding to punish under achievement, but I will sit on the fence around that until I see more about how this is meant to look. 

3. Separating out property funding 

Touted as a way to support schools with property and ensure the property network is looked after properly and that funding for property is used for only property.  It will provide the opportunity for a more centralised approach. 

My Wonderings:

Where do I start? 

Will it remove all property funding?  Indicators seem to suggest so.  If it removes all property from the funding hat, then what happens to Maintenance?  For example, if we have a broken window are we meant to get ‘permission’ from the centralized property department before we get the window fixer in?  Do we then send an invoice to the Ministry?  Did anyone consider how overworked our property advisors are already and how hard it is to nail one down for a meeting?  I wonder if there is capacity and capability within the Ministry to pick up this level of micromanagement!

I then wonder about staffing – what happens to my Caretaker?  Is this a part of my staffing credit?   Who funds it?  Apparently staffing credits will include support staff like the caretaker and secretary but there are very little details around this (I asked the Ministry person directly and it was a little vague, he did say that it would be part of the credit but you pay the actuals). 

4. Further support for Private schools 

By setting the existing subsidy as a fixed percentage.  This would give private schools greater certainty and support for ongoing viability. 

My Wonderings:

The reports to Treasury outline how students that go to private schools are our ‘cheapest students’.  That there should be more public money for private schools so that parents who are taxpayers can expect to get some support for their choice for their children.  As these students are the cheapest, setting a per student amount is something the Government can set aside for private education.  When the Minister was asked it this was a bail out because private schools were struggling, she stated NO, it was just about supporting parental choices and giving private schools more predictability on funding and that as tax payers they (parents) should get more money to support the choice they make for their children’s education. 

Where do I start?  

If you want your child to get a private education because you feel the public one is not good enough, then I should not be subsiding your choice!  I don’t expect anyone to offset my private health insurance because it is my choice.  Ideally the Government should be making sure that everyone’s tax dollars are paying for a high quality public system.  Not subsidizing those who can afford ‘choice’.   It is inequitable to prop up a private system by taking it away from our most at risk students – this is counter-intuitive.  If the private system is so great it should be self-funding. 

I also wonder about what the accountability will look like for them? If you get more public money then you should be accountable for it just as I am.

In summary, this is the proposal as it currently stands.  Part two will outline what some of the key themes are that emerge from the background readings.  As a starting point to understand the bigger picture behind the proposed funding changes I recommend you read the NZEI 'Connect the Dots' handout as it puts everything into perspective.  This handout is particularly good as it shows all the reforms in one place, ones we already have and ones waiting to be enforced.  Some of the changes are quite radical.  It is important to read through this document as it makes it simple to see how each reform is related.  Of particular note is how often Communities of Schools are mentioned (CoLs) and how often funding and professional development opportunities are linked to schools being in a CoL.  When you look at the Governance Bill, you can see how having several Boards of Trustees  employing one Principal across several schools syncs nicely with the concept of CoL.  As a cost saving mechanism, having one principal overseeing several schools could end up being quite a money saver. 

In Part Two I will be exploring the link with the proposed funding and the themes of school choice/demonstration and model schools, competition, CoLs, staffing and base funding, information from the MoE presentation, property  class sizes, and random other thoughts.