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Corporate Schools Coming To a Neighbourhood Near You

Media Release 2 August 2012 – for immediate release
Attention: Education and Political Reporters

Corporate Schools Coming To a Neighbourhood Near You

‘The Minister’s announcement to trial an imported model of ‘charter school’ prompts us to ask ‘what is so wrong with the public school model we have now?’ said Paul Drummond, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation.

‘We have one of the best education models in the world,’ said Drummond. ‘It allows our high quality public school system to flourish and allows Kiwi Mums and Dads to have meaningful input into their local school’s curriculum and activities in partnership with the educational professionals,’ he said. ‘The charter document keeps everyone accountable and the Education Review Office audits schools regularly. Furthermore, New Zealand ranks right up the top in the OECD achievement stakes.’

Extensive research into charter schools in the USA and the UK have shown that charter schools do not have any impact on lifting achievement and in many cases children are worse off.

‘Why would we want to sell off the country’s top performing asset and allow our quality education to fluctuate with the mood of competitive market forces creating winner and loser schools? asked Drummond.

‘Education is not a commodity to be sold in the market place. Schools are not for sale. They are the centre of our communities. Our children’s futures are not for sale either,’ he said. ‘Who will be coming to rescue the children when the market sinks the charter school?’ he asks

The notion of charter schools is an idea that was injected into the government’s coalition agreement with the ACT party after the election. Neither party signalled charter schools in their election manifestoes.

‘It is clear to me that this government knew before the election that charter schools would not be a selling policy, so kept them out of the election agenda,’ said Drummond. ‘Once parents and our communities understand the real implications of charter schools and understand that they are a means to undermine our very successful public education system and divide our communities, they will reject them just as they rejected increasing class sizes,’ he said.

The Charter school model being promoted in New Zealand is like the American model. Funded by both government and another entity such as a religious sect or a corporate, they can operate as profit making entities and have different accountabilities and obligations from those in the public school system, including unregistered and unqualified teachers and principals.

ENDS

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