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Government refusal to release charter school information alarming – PPTA

The Government’s refusal to release information, or consult with those directly affected, about impacts of charter schools on communities raises serious concerns about the costs and implications of this unproven experiment, says Chris Abercrombie PPTA Te Wehengarua president.

“We have already made a complaint to the Ombudsman and are about to again, after a series of unsuccessful attempts to get information from the Government about what advice they have received about potential costs of charter schools and their impact on students and communities.

“We are concerned that charter schools could cost taxpayers billions of dollars. It seems that a huge amount of money is about to be poured into a vanity project at the same time as the government says it can’t afford to continue providing lunches for students in need, it can’t complete much needed school building projects and can’t ensure there are sufficient classrooms f or schools whose rolls are growing.

“Charter schools are a direct import from the USA and UK and there is no evidence that they work. This is in stark contrast to Associate Education Minister David Seymour’s insistence on evidence being required for Ka Ora, Ka Ako to continue.

“Mr Seymour has stated that public schools will be able to convert to charter schools as part of the government policy. School communities deserve to know what the government is planning for their local schools, and the possible impact of this on parents and students.”

Chris Abercrombie says there is a serious lack of transparency and consultation about charter schools. There are many questions the government is refusing to answer, including:

  • How will the government fund teacher redundancies from state schools that convert to charter schools? Our calculations are that this cost could be into the billions.
  • What arrangements will be put in place for the sale, rental or transfer of property to converted charter schools and how will transfer of property be accounted for in the government’s assets?

    Will the community still have access to this property?

  • What provision is being made for students whose local public school is converted to a charter school which they do not want to attend? How will school zones and impacts on neighbouring schools be managed?
  • How much funding will be cut from the state and integrated school system to fund this vanity project?
  • What are the financial risks are to the government and what the risks are to learning and access for students.

“The fact that all but one of the remaining schools involved in the previous charter school experiment were able to be re-integrated successfully into the public education proves that

there is no need for this hugely expensive vanity project.

“Aotearoa New Zealand simply cannot afford this untested experiment on the education of our children and young people – we call on the Government to be honest and come clean with New Zealanders about their plans.”

 

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