Charter School Working Group Must Work In Public Interest

Press Release – New Zealand Educational Institute

Charter School Working Group Must Work In Public Interest Not Vested Interest The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the Charter School Working Group needs to work in the public interest, not the vested interest.
28th March 2012

Charter School Working Group Must Work In Public Interest Not Vested Interest

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the Charter School Working Group needs to work in the public interest, not the vested interest.

The government has announced the makeup of a working group setting up new charter schools and says it will consult with a wide range of people.

“So far we haven’t seen a very transparent political agenda on charter schools and there has been very little detail about where these schools will be established and how they will be set up and run,” says NZEI President Ian Leckie.

“Given there is no real representation on the group from anyone who actually works at the chalk face of education, it is important that there is genuine consultation with schools, parents and those communities which will be affected”.

He says “the public still hasn’t been told why New Zealand needs charter schools or how giving taxpayer money to business to run a school will actually make a difference to underachieving students”.

Overseas experience shows that charter schools do nothing to raise educational achievement and can take money away from existing schools and undermine communities. Even the government’s own officials have advised that the success of charter schools overseas is and they have not consistently led to significant increase in achievement among lower performing students.

Ian Leckie says the Charter School Working Group needs to be asking some key questions on behalf of the public, rather than interested parties or businesses.

“It’s important to know how charter schools will be authorised and how accountable they will be in terms of student achievement and financial performance. We also need to know how compliant they will have to be with existing legislation, how critical it is to the government that for-profit private operators be involved, how student selection will work and how the view of parents and communities will be taken into account in governance models”.

“However with the amount of scepticism and contested international evidence about the success of charter schools, perhaps the first question the Working Group should look at is why the New Zealand education system needs charter schools at all,” he says.

ENDS

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