MPs vote on bill to scrap charter schools2016
Labour's education spokesman Chris Hipkins' bill to abolish charter schools is due to have its first reading in the House today.
Secondary teachers' union PPTA is urging MPs to "look at the multitude of evidence that shows how charter schools undermine education" and vote to scrap charter schools.
"Charter schools are not needed in Aotearoa New Zealand," says PPTA president Angela Roberts. "We already have a public education system that is responsive to local communities and can provide quality teaching and learning to all students.”
Roberts points to the failed charter school and others that are "consistently over-funded and under-achieving".
"The taxpayer money being poured into them would be much better spent on our kura and public schools," she says.
However, Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell has challenged other Maori MPs to join the Maori Party in opposing the bill. He said if Labour's Maori caucus votes for Hipkins' bill it's an "absolute contradiction" given they know "full well the educational achievement those schools are delivering".
Charter schools, or partnership schools as they are otherwise known in New Zealand, have been controversial since their beginning. They are taxpayer-funded but can be run by business, community or church groups. They don't have to hire registered teachers and can tailor their teaching to help students who are failing in the state system. They are subject to rigorous evaluation, something that was evidenced by the Ministry's decision to close the Whangaruru charter school. There have now eight charter schools in New Zealand so far. The fourth Partnership Schools application round opened in August this year.