By: Lincoln Tan
The heavy downpour didn’t stop about 150 parents, students and supporters from turning up at Britomart for a march to support the retention of charter schools.
Education Minister Chris Hipkins last Thursday brought in a Bill repealing the legislation that allows for future charter schools.
The 10 existing schools would be allowed to operate under their contracts for the time being while options for their future were being discussed on a case-by-case basis.
Charter, or partnership schools, are championed by the ACT party and leader David Seymour, who spoke at the rally.
“Charter schools are working,” Seymour insisted.
“Over 1500 students attend the fledgling schools, most of which have had to turn students away due to rapid growth. Struggling kids are having their lives turned around.”
Seymour insisted this wasn’t a left-right issue, and called for party politics to be put aside to support educational opportunities for New Zealand children.
“Even three Labour Party Ministers – Kelvin Davis, Willie Jackson and Peeni Henare – know charter schools work and have publicly said so,” Seymour said.
Mother and protester Adele Cruickshank said her son had been transformed since attending Vanguard.
“From one mother to a mother-to-be, the Prime Minister, I don’t wish for her to go through with her child what I’ve been through, but I do ask for her understanding,” Cruickshank said.
She said her son had previously refused to go to school, caused a lot of problems and did not have much hope for the future.
“Went to Vanguard and he’s a different child, and now I have a relationship with him,” Cruickshank said.
“The Minister should go to Vanguard, speak to the kids and the parents who have sat up nights crying and not knowing what to do.”