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“Priority” Groups Join Together to Say No to Charter Schools

“Priority” Groups Join Together to Say No To Charter Schools

Note: this amended statement replaces the original version issued on Tuesday, 28 May 2013.

It corrects errors made in the original listing of those people named as supporting the statement.

Approved for re-issue on 10 June 2013.

Bill Courtney, QPEC National Chairperson.

More than 50 representatives of groups the government says charter schools will help have signed a joint statement saying they don’t want them.

Signatories include spokespeople for the Māori and Pasifika communities, IHC, Every Child Counts and the Child Poverty Action Group, as well as academics, principals, teachers, psychiatrists and members of parliament.

Group spokesperson Waikato University Professor of Māori Education Russell Bishop has recently returned from the United States where he observed the charter school experiment first hand.

He described charter schools as “part of the problem, not part of the solution”. He described the initiative as “a serious wrong turn for education” that exploited vulnerable children.

Attached (and below) is the letter and full list of signatories.

------------

Dear Minister

Investing in what works

Everyone agrees that all children should receive the education that meets their needs: that engages, motivates and supports them to learn to their full potential. In Aotearoa we have the knowledge to make this happen, but sadly it seems that we sometimes lack the political will.

This government’s charter school plans are a distraction from investing more in what we know works for the young learners we represent and work with. Some of these things include increasing opportunities for bi-lingual education, supporting high quality te reo learning in kura and mainstream settings, programmes such as Te Kotahitanga and the various AIMHI initiatives. While the government has recently announced more resourcing for some of these, others have had funding withdrawn or frozen.

Charter schools will also take the focus away from developing the special character and Kura Kaupapa Maori models which already give New Zealand state schooling unprecedented flexibility. These models need more support, more opportunity to share good practice and innovation, and not to be undermined by the latest, politically driven fad.

Charter schools are part of the problem, not part of the solution

On the advent of the government passing the charter schools legislation, we express our deep concern that this initiative is a serious wrong turn for education. The legislation allows for-profit and foreign-owned organisations to set up schools. It permits unqualified people to replace qualified and registered teachers and principals. It removes the right of parents to take part in school governance. And it takes no account of how new charter schools may impact on existing schools. There is a serious concern that in the process of introducing charter schools, groups of students are being put at risk.

Charter schools exploit vulnerable children

Charter schools are not the solution for New Zealand’s most vulnerable learners. Overseas, charter schools have not raised achievement for children who need it the most. For example the US-based KIPP (Knowledge is Power Programme) charter schools which have been held up as a successful example, have a “push-out” rate of 40% for African American boys before Grade 8 (Year 9). This is the opposite of what we need in New Zealand for our Maori and Pasifika boys.

Our most vulnerable learners need more assistance, not less. They need schools responsible directly to parents; they need trained and qualified teachers who are supported in an ongoing manner by effective professional development that has shown results; they need their schools to provide information when parents request it; their parents need access to the Ombudsman. Why would these most vulnerable of children get less than every other child in New Zealand and why would they be subject to being profited from just because they are deemed to be struggling? Don’t experiment on children; do what works.

Yours sincerely

Professor Russell Bishop Professor of Māori Education Faculty of Education University of Waikato

Dr Damon Salesa Associate Professor Department of Pacific Studies University of Auckland

Deborah Morris-Travers Manager Every Child Counts

Trish Grant Director of Advocacy IHC

Dr Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni Senior Lecturer Pacific Studies & Samoan Studies Programmes Vaaomanu Pasifika Unit Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Peter Brunt Art History School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Teresia Teaiwa Senior Lecturer and Post-Graduate Coordinator Pacific Studies Victoria University of Wellington

Ann Milne Principal Kia Aroha College

Philip Harding President NZ Principals' Federation

Dr Leonie Pihama Senior Research Fellow Te Kotahi Research Institute University of Waikato

Dr Jenny Lee Head of School Te Puna Wananga University of Auckland

Dr Mera Penehira Lecturer Te Puna Wananga University of Auckland

Ngaropi Cameron

Ronald Ngata, BSS (Hons)

Maryann Lee Educational Designer Centre for Educational Design and Development University of Auckland

Ani Mikaere Kaihautu of Te Whare Whakatupu Matauranga Te Wananga o Raukawa

Angeline Greensill, LLB, TTC Lecturer School of Social Sciences University of Waikato

Helen Te Hira

Dr Amohia Boulton Senior Researcher Whakauae Research for Māori Health and Development Whanganui

Dr Robert Gregory Adjunct Professor of Political Science School of Government Victoria University of Wellington

Dr Wally Penetito Retired Professor of Education Te Kura Māori Faculty of Education Victoria University of Wellington

Metiria Turei Member of Parliament Co-Leader of the Green Party

Lesley Rameka Senior Lecturer Educational Psychology and Pedagogy Faculty of Education Victoria University of Wellington

D. Cindy Kiro Head of School Te Kura Māori Victoria University of Wellington

Seth Brown, DPhil Senior Lecturer Institute of Education Massey University

Dr Jenny Boyack Massey University

Steve K.W. Lang, PhD Senior Lecturer Institute of Education Massey University

Dr Tim Burgess Senior Lecturer: Mathematics and Statistics Education Institute of Education Massey University

Brian Finch, EdD School of Educational Studies Institute of Education Massey University

Dr Roberta Hunter Massey University

Dr Michael Irwin Institute of Education Massey University Auckland

Dr Tracey-Lynne Cody Lecturer Arts Education & Initial Teacher Education Massey University

Dr Peter Rawlins Senior Lecturer Institute of Education Massey University

Le’aufa’amulia Asenati Lole-Taylor Member of Parliament

Dr Kama Weir Institute of Education Massey University

Maurice Walden Wellington Tenths Trust Board Member

Damon Heke Te Taitonga Kapa Haka Trust Kapa Haka Tutor, Community Liason

Kelly Henare-Heke Te Taitonga Kapa Haka Trust Kapa Haka Tutor, Community Liason

Dudley Adams Clendon Park School Deputy Principal

Avele Tanielu Teacher in Charge of Samoan Language Papatoetoe High School

Penelope Togiatama Pasefika Liason Papatoetoe High School

Mohi Thompson Kaumatua Manurewa Intermediate School

TeAriki Tuiono Teacher Te Whanau Awhina Clendon Park School

Matene Karena HoL Māori Alfriston College

Barbara Tauranga Kuia Opuatia Marae

Dr Alyson McGee Senior Lecturer Institute of Education Massey University

Annette Sykes Barrister and Solicitor Partner Aurere Law

Dr Penny Haworth Institute of Education Massey University

Nanaia Mahuta Member of Parliament for Hauraki-Waikato

Carmel Sepuloni

Su’a William Sio Member of Parliament for Mangere

Dr Diane Lysette Mara Associate Dean, Pasifika Faculty of Education University of Auckland

Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop Professor of Pacific Studies AUT University

Michael O’Brien Director Child Poverty Action Group

ENDS

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