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Reason trumps charter schools rhetoric

Education Spokesperson

Reason trumps charter schools rhetoric

If perennial fence-sitter Peter Dunne has pulled support for charter schools there can be no argument that this is bad policy, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Mr Dunne’s announcement this morning that he will vote against legislation to establish Charter Schools is welcome. I am urging the Maori Party to re-think their position too.

“Peter Dunne is quite right when he argues we don’t need charter schools, that we already have a range of schooling options within existing legislation, and that the risks associated with charter schools are too great.

“New Zealand already has a world leading curriculum. Labour has always said that the risks of introducing charter schools far outweigh any perceived benefits. It is great to see Mr Dunne has come round to our way of thinking.

“Charter schools won’t have to have qualified teachers, won’t have to teach to the curriculum and won’t be accountable in the way that public schools are. International evidence is very mixed, and in many cases charter schools have led to worse outcomes for some of the most disadvantaged students.

“I urge the Maori Party to join Peter Dunne, Labour, the Greens, NZ First and Mana in opposing this legislation.

“I understand the Maori Party’s very real concern for students who aren’t currently achieving within our education system. Maori and Pacific students are disproportionately represented in that group and we do need to address that.

“Existing legislation provides for schools of special character that are already very successfully meeting the educational needs of Maori and we would love to work with the Maori Party to see them better supported and expanded.

“The competitive model of education provision we currently have hasn’t been good for Maori students, and increasing competition further with charter schools will exacerbate, rather than remove that problem.

“Charter schools won’t be good for education. We should be focused on ensuring that every school in New Zealand is a great school, not picking winners at the expense of the majority.

“Labour will continue to oppose the charter schools legislation and we urge the Maori Party to do the same,” Chris Hipkins says.

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