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Charter Schools a Direct Attack on Kura Kaupapa Maori

Charter Schools a Direct Attack on Kura Kaupapa Maori and Public Education

Hone Harawira, Leader of MANA and MP for Te Tai Tokerau

Tuesday 14 May 2013

"The Maori Party is backing the introduction of well-funded charter schools even though they represent a direct attack on kura kaupapa Māori, and on public education generally,” said Hone Harawira, Leader of MANA and MP for Te Tai Tokerau.

"Although successive governments have starved kura kaupapa of funding from the get-go, they remain one of the most successful educational initiatives for Maori by Māori, in the last 100 years” said Harawira. “But today, the Maori Party is supporting their National and ACT Party buddies spending massive amounts of money on charter schools while kura get bugger all.”

Massey University Professor of Education, John O’Neill, said that early indications are that charter schools will cost the taxpayer more than twice as much as state schools.

“It’s one thing for the rich white boys to give their mates all the lollies while laughing at the poor little Maori kids getting by on scraps … it’s another thing entirely when their Maori buddy is cheering them on.”

“The Maori Party should be ashamed for turning their backs on everything that kura kaupapa Maori stands for.”

“Maori fought long and hard to get kohanga and then kura kaupapa because we knew that a commitment to the language, a commitment to whanau, and a commitment to kaupapa Maori were key elements in educational achievement for Maori students, and kura kaupapa have proven that to be the case time and time again.”

“Charter schools will have no accountability to whanau, no commitment to Maori language, no requirement for kaupapa Maori, no commitment to the Maori or NZ curriculum, no commitment to put registered teachers in front of kids, no accountability or transparency under the Official Information Act or the Ombudsmen Act – and they’re going to get more money than kura kaupapa ever got!”

“And without the oversight of the Auditor-General’s Office, they’re a scam waiting to happen” said Harawira, whose claims were backed up by Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu’s submission on the Education Amendment Bill which said that charter schools were highly susceptible to fraud, waste and abuse.

Other submissions raised the fact that the charter schools model has failed overseas, including that of Dr Bronwyn Hayward, political scientist and senior lecturer at the University of Canterbury. Dr Hayward said that the charter school model was “naive and reckless” and that “our children deserve better."

“Our kids all deserve the very best in education, not failed experiments from overseas.”

“This Thursday is Budget Day. That’s when we’ll see whether the Maori Party can deliver. If the Budget does not show at least a 25% increase in funding for kura kaupapa, an extension of the Kotahitanga programme, and a reinstatement of the Manaaki Tauira programme to assist Maori students in tertiary education, then the Maori Party will have failed. And if they have, Peter Sharples should resign as Associate Minister of Education with responsibility for Maori Medium Education for his failure to grow or even protect the success of kura kaupapa Maori while supporting the failed charter school model.”


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