6 June 2014
Banks verdict gives government chance to walk away from charter schools
The guilty verdict handed down against former Act leader John Banks means Hekia Parata can immediately put a stop to further rounds of charter schools.
PPTA President Angela Roberts said the schools were introduced by sleight of hand in the National-Act coalition deal as the price for Banks’ support.
“Now that Banks is history, the government doesn’t owe him a thing and should call a halt to this unwelcome experiment.”
The second round of applications is underway at the moment. Nineteen have already been received, including from fringe religious organisations, existing private schools, and a US based charter school chain, Roberts said.
“If the government doesn’t stop this round in its tracks, it gives the public a clear indication this is a National Party policy as much as an Act one, and they will be held to account for that come election time,” she said.
“Surveys consistently show that parents want qualified, registered, teachers, and schools to be transparent in their operation and funding - which charters aren’t.”
Banks had promised to expand the numbers of charter schools to 60-70 in a few years’ time. New Act leader Jamie Whyte maintains his commitment to expanding the numbers of charter schools, even committing to making it possible for state schools to convert to charter school status, Roberts said.
Students in charter schools cost up to five times as much as they would cost to educate in existing public schools. The Treasury states that school choice and competition is not a good way to improve the education of students, Roberts says.
“Why would National choose to push on with this this expensive, ideologically driven Act party policy?”