By Nanaia Mahuta
The Government aims to have charter schools up and running by 2014. Overseas examples show that the educational outcome for these schools are mixed and need significant private sector investment to get the outcomes that are widely attributed to them.
Under the New Zealand model the Government proposes to suck more money from the public purse to get these schools operative.
And that’s pretty much where the similarity ends. Unlike public schools, where teachers are trained, qualified and registered, charter schools are being given unprecedented flexibility and won't have to employ registered teachers. Nor will they have to teach the national curriculum.
If that’s not a double standard, then I don’t know what is. And it hardly portents well for the kids this ‘experiment’ is targeting, the ones Hekia Parata says are underachieving in public schools.
New Zealand needs a system that promotes achievement for every learner if we are to be driven by a high wage, high skilled economy.
You wouldn't let an untrained doctor treat your child, or let an unregistered carpenter build your house so why is it okay for John Banks and Hekia Parata to set unregistered teachers in front of our children in our schools' classrooms?
National are introducing charter schools based on ideology where private companies can suck from the public purse and keep the profits when there is no obligation to ensure that the outcomes are comparable to public institutions.
Labour believes New Zealand has a great education system, but we must do better so every child, no matter what their circumstances, can aspire to reach their full potential in our public education system - that's what a quality learning outcome would look like.
Nanaia Mahuta is Labour’s Education spokesperson