Government’s confidence takes a knock over charter schools

If they work (and they do), we need to have more of them, but the Government has put a stop to more Charter School applications.

The Education Minister has ruled out any chance of a third round of charter school applications this year.

Hekia Parata’s statement, made to Parliament today, comes amidst concern over a Northland charter school.

Earlier today,?it was revealed Parata had signed off on Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru charter school in Northland, despite ministry concerns the school had not outlined a “safe environment” for students.

Parata received a glowing reference for Whangaruru school, near Whangarei, from the authorisation board and after considering both sets of advice she authorised the school to go ahead in September 2013.

The school has since lost a quarter of its roll and has dealt with issues of attendance, bullying, drug use and management infighting.

So Parata has one (rather spectacular) failure, and that’s it? ?No more charter schools? ?

In response to a question in Parliament today, Parata told MPs she wouldn’t be undertaking another round of charter school applications this year. …

Green Party education spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty said the decision not to kick on with any more charter school applications was a government “back-down” and a “victory for kids”.

“Charter schools were supposed to be the government’s big solution to education, yet from the moment they opened they’ve been besieged with problems,” she said.

“This is an admission of failure.”

Labour Party education spokesman Chris Hipkins said the whole charter school process was a “train wreck”.

“The authorisation board is recommending schools for approval that the Ministry of Education doesn’t think are up to scratch.”

That’s what you get when you put a lightweight minister on such a critical portfolio. ?And Steve Joyce is too busy cleaning up his own messes to come and help out this time, so instead of continuing what is actually a very successful program of establishing charter schools, the Government is going to back down.

It’s not a victory for kids. ?It’s a bloody disaster as more of them will fall off the edge now.

The media are all for attacking one failing charter school, ignoring the stunning success of others and failing to hold states schools that are failing to account in the same manner.


– Jo Moir, Stuff