A new bill spelling an end to future charter schools was introduced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins last week.

Five charter schools that were scheduled to open in 2018 will no longer go ahead and the future of current charter schools is uncertain.

There are no charter schools operating in the Whanganui region although some were proposed.

“I recall a couple of proposals but they never got off the ground,” Whanganui Principals’ Association chairwoman Maryann Roberts said.

“I don’t remember anything else about them.”

Teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa has welcomed the Education Amendment Bill released on Thursday which will bring charter schools back into the state school system.

“Charter schools were ACT and National’s failed experiment. Integrating them back into the state school system is good for kids and teachers because kids in mainstream state schools do better,” NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter said.

He said wider societal forces outside school, including inequality and poverty, meant teachers needed to keep building a system that was even more responsive to all students, if they are to achieve their full potential.

There are 11 charter schools open in 2018 attended by about 1300 students.

It is estimated 60 per cent of children in charter schools are Māori.

NZEI Te Riu Roa Matua Takawaenga Laures Park said charter schools did not serve tamariki well and she looked forward to them coming back into the fold.

“We also want to hear more from the minister about support and resourcing for bilingual/immersion education so that all learners have their identity, culture and language valued and supported at school.”

She said there was no credible evidence charter schools were better for Māori than kura kaupapa or mainstream public schools.

The bill will get its first reading in Parliament this week.

Source: NZ Herald


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