by Metiria Turei
Yesterday we announced that I will become the party’s education spokesperson and I am really looking forward to Catherine and I working together to stop the Government’s attacks on our public education system.
Im also pleased that Labour agrees with us, that Charter schools have no future in NZ and that together we will remove them from our education system.
We would put a stop to charter schools, and any charter schools set up by the time we get into Government will have to become state schools, that are free, accessible to local kids, accountable to an elected board, and employ qualified teachers. Some may want to apply to become integrated schools and will need to meet all criteria under the Education Act to do that. If they don’t want to apply or they fail the criteria, then they have to close. It’s a fair approach that protects the families and kids while putting the charter school owners on notice.
This position attracted a critique from Labour, who claim it will create an incentive for charter school operators to quickly set up.
We don’t want to leave kids and communities at a loose end by simply shutting the schools down as Labour would. The kids come first after all.
Our proposal to incorporate them in the public system is a measured approach that means kids education will not be negatively affected by punitive school closures but also puts a stop to charter schools continuing.
How the schools are integrated will need to be looked at on a case by case basis. If there is a local state school, then the charter school may be merged back into that. It may be the school becomes a regular public school, or it may become a state integrated school that has a special character or a kura kaupapa Maori.
Regardless any such school will be public, free, and accessible to local kids and employ qualified teachers. We think this is a constructive way to deal with the problem the National and ACT Government is about to leave us without hurting kids.
Yes we want to stop charter schools now. Yes we hope no charter schools start up by the time we are in Government. And yes, if any do start up they won’t be charter schools for long. There is no future for charter schools under a Green/Labour Government.