4 September 2012
Government rejects charter school teacher qualifications recommendations
Documents just published reveal the Government rejected its own Ministry’s recommendations in allowing unregistered people to act as teachers in charter schools.
The Ministry of Education said allowing unregistered people to teach in charter schools would create a “high” risk of negative impacts on students’ education and “significantly damage the credibility” of the Government. Its recommendations were contained in advice to Cabinet prior to the Government’s announcement in early August of a framework for charter schools.
The framework permits private companies and not-for-profit groups to set up schools to employ unregistered people to act as principals and teachers.
Education union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the Government’s decision has put ideology ahead of quality education for students. The Minister of Education’ quality teaching agenda is in tatters, NZEI President Ian Leckie says.
He says the Government is putting children’s schooling and future life success at risk simply to ensure charter schools can skimp on costs by hiring unqualified staff to act as teachers.
“We believe every child deserves success at school – with the help and support of a qualified and registered professional,” he says. “Teachers, like doctors and lawyers, strongly believe that registration ensures a robust and high-performing profession and gives the public the confidence that teachers are competent and safe. It is unethical and unfair to let children be guinea pigs in a charter school experiment where anyone could be put in front of them in the classroom.”
He says recent UMR polling undertaken by NZEI also showed parents strongly agreed that teachers in charter schools should be registered, with 86% agreeing that teachers should be registered, just 4% disagreeing, and 10% unsure.
Note to editors:
In a Regulatory Impact Statement for Cabinet (see pp 12-15 ) http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/PublicationsAndResources/RIS/NZModelCharterSchool.aspx) the Ministry argues that
potential for a negative impact on students’ education
from teachers (sic) who do not meet the minimum standards
for the profession is high…Teacher registration is one of
the most influential levers in raising teacher quality
across the profession… Allowing charter schools to stand
outside this work will significantly damage the credibility
of the Crown.”
The Government’s Framework for Charter Schools is at http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/ministers-announce-framework-partnership-schoolskura-hourua