New Zealand: Government announces end of charter schools

New Zealand’s Education Minister has announced the end of charter schools marking the conclusion of an education initiative dubbed “a failed expensive experiment” by unions

In early February New Zealandrsquos Minister for Education Chris Hipkins made a significant announcement on the future of National Standards and charter schools These schools ldquowere driven by ideology rather than evidencerdquo he said ldquoBoth were rejected by the vast majority of the education sector The Government39s strong view is that there is no place for them in the New Zealand education systemrdquo Private publicly funded education Charter schools in New Zealand labelled as 39Partnership Schools39 were introduced in legalisation by a conservative coalition in 2011 They are a form of private education establishment that rely on government funding but are subject to fewer rules and regulations than public schools They have been criticised by a wide range of educational authorities teacher organisations the public and political parties because of their autonomy in setting their own curricula qualifications pay rates for teachers school hours and school terms The schools could also be operated by sponsors such as not-for-profit organisations businesses or existing education providers An unpopular experiment The announcement has been welcomed by the New Zealand Educational InstituteNZEI and the Post Primary Teachers39 Association both affiliates ofEducation International EI NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter said that charter schools were a ldquofailed experiment - integrating them back into the state school system is good for kids and teachers because kids in mainstream state schools do better ldquoPublic schools can and do reflect the diversity in their communities and are responsive and accountable to them Many public schools are using the creativity of the New Zealand Curriculum far better than any charters and it is no surprise well-supported and skilled professional teachers are more likely to be innovative We donrsquot need charter schools for innovationrdquo Global shift away from privatisation According to a PPTA statement ldquostudents teachers and parents will all benefit from the governmentrsquos decision to back public education in New Zealand by removing the legislation that created charter schoolsrdquo Indeed the decision to remove ldquocharter schools marks a great day for public schools and their communitiesrdquo said PPTA president Jack Boyle ldquoWith the rest of the world turning against privatised for-profit education New Zealand can lead the world with real investment and support for public educationrdquo A PPTA official explained that it was a grassroots campaign that ultimately influenced the Education Ministryrsquos decision from branch members in individual schools standing up against charter school expansions in their communities through to lobbying with central government and national media campaigns ldquoPPTA members were consistent and united against this corporate attack on the education systemrdquo he said ldquoOur steadfast stance helped to ensure charters remained a contentious and divisive issue with the public and politicians and never gained wide acceptancerdquo

[Wed, 28 Feb 2018 12:12:00 +0100] | DIGG THIS

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