Govt stacks the charter school deck, public kept in the dark

Press Release – NZEI

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the government is stacking the charter school deck while keeping the public in the dark about how charter schools will work in New Zealand and how they will actually make a difference to student achievement.1st February 2012

Government stacks the charter school deck while public kept in the dark

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the government is stacking the charter school deck while keeping the public in the dark about how charter schools will work in New Zealand and how they will actually make a difference to student achievement.

The Associate Education Minister and sole ACT MP John Banks has said the first charter school will be up and running in south Auckland by the end of the first school term and he has appointed former ACT Party leader Catherine Isaacs to oversee the charter school implementation group.

“Once again we are seeing a total lack of transparency in this whole process and an agenda driven by politics and business rather than education and children,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.

“Firstly the government and ACT completely blindsided the public by announcing charter schools as part of their coalition deal, and now it is moving to unfairly stack the deck of the committee set up to establish them.”

“The charter school agenda was clearly more advanced than the government cares to admit,” he says.

Despite the speed at which the government is moving on charter schools, the public and communities where these schools will be established, have seen absolutely no details on how they will be set up and run.

“We are not being told why and how these schools will make a difference to underachieving kids. Exactly what will a charter school do that is different and how does giving taxpayer money to business to run a school improve student achievement? These are all questions the government is failing to give New Zealander the answers to,” says Mr Leckie.

New Zealand students and schools do better than those in any of the countries where charter schools have been established. The balance of overseas experience shows that charter schools do nothing to raise educational achievement and can take money away from existing schools and undermine communities.

NZEI believes the children who are missing out on educational success the most are facing the combined hurdles of poor health, bad housing, troubled families and poverty. These aren’t problems schools can fix on their own, and they certainly aren’t problems that charter schools can fix.

NZEI continues to call for any move to establish charter schools to go through a parliamentary select committee process so the public and educators can make submissions and see the issues fairly debated.

ENDS

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