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Labour SOPS Challenge Charter Schools Bill

3 May 2013                                                       MEDIA STATEMENT

Labour SOPS Challenge Charter Schools Bill

Charter school teachers should have the same qualifications and accountabilities as those in public schools, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
Legislation setting up charter schools is expected to pass through Parliament with the support of National, Act and the Maori Party.
But in a bid to lessen the damage this will do to our education system, Chris Hipkins has tabled a series of Supplementary Order papers (SOPs) to the Education Amendment Bill.
“The amendments I propose would address some of the major flaws in the Education Amendment Bill, but cannot fix what is ultimately bad policy.
“What Labour wants to ensure is that the teachers in front of our kids are qualified, registered and have an up-to-date practising certificate.
“We want all parents to feel safe in the knowledge that partnership schools and kura hourua will deliver a curriculum that fits with national guidelines, and that is accountable under the Official Information Act (OIA).
“The Government claims it is focused on increasing the quality of teaching. A key part of that is ensuring the Ministry of Education is kept up to date with appointments at charter schools so we can keep tabs on who is teaching our kids.
“New Zealanders know that the set up costs for charter schools require a lot of taxpayer cash.  Regardless of whether or not we agree with charter schools, Labour wants to ensure that the taxpayer investment is properly protected.
“For example, SOP 229 would require each school to participate in a risk management scheme, which would provide protection for both school contents and legal liability issues, including public liability.
“Other SOPs make sure that private property developers cannot profit from building early childhood services on public school land and that local kids are given priority for acceptance into schools built in their communities.
“There is no question that charter schools will be bad for education. These SOPs only plaster over what is fundamentally bad legislation.
“The Maori Party should follow the lead of Labour, the Greens, New Zealand First and now United Future Leader Peter Dunne and put a stop to this dangerous experiment,” Chris Hipkins said.

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