Response to the government’s announcement that they are to build four more partnership schools in 2019 has been quick and unequivocal.
“The evidence is crystal clear, charter schools are failing our children. How on earth can the government justify allowing more of them? There’s a name for doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result…” PPTA president Jack Boyle said.
The schools will join 10 existing partnership schools, plus the two set to open next year, the Under-Secretary for Education David Seymour announced yesterday.
They include a Christchurch version of Auckland’s Vanguard Military School, and an “iwi for iwi” run school for children in years nine to 11 in Gisborne, Tūranga Tangata Rite.
There will also be a Māori bilingual secondary school to go with the primary school run by the Manukau Urban Māori Authority(MUMA) in South Auckland, and City Senior School, a school in central Auckland with a focus on science, technology, engineering arts and maths (STEAM).
Figures recently released by the Ministry of Education show that only 59.7 per cent of charter school leavers left with NCEA level 2 or above in 2016. This compares with a system-wide figure of 80.3 per cent across all schools within the system in 2016, Boyle said.
“Opening charter schools is not going to raise the achievement of our children. It’s not going to close any gaps. It’s not going to level any playing fields. The only thing charter schools do successfully is reward mediocrity by using scarce education money to prop up private owners.”
The proposal had left teachers “shaking their heads in bewilderment”, Boyle said.
“These new charter schools will affect all the school communities around them by taking money, teachers and children away from local schools.”
NZEI Te Riu Roa were also damning of the announcement, arguing that the schools would come at the cost of children with special needs.
“It’s immoral to spend huge amounts of public money on schools that aren’t even needed, when children with additional needs are being denied the support they need to learn.” NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said.
This was in light of news this week that three- and four-year-old children were waiting up to a year for an initial appointment with Ministry of Education specialists when they were identified with special needs.