PPTA President

Image Angela Roberts PPTA president 2013-2014

News and views from PPTA president Angela Roberts.

Includes the PPTA News viewpoint and his responses to various education issues raised in the media.

(Angela began her presidency mid January 2013)



Charter schools are not smarter schools

New Zealand Post Primary Teachers' Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA) President Robin Duff observes that the ACT idea of charter schools has very little to do with educating New Zealand children.

Charter schools are not smarter schools

Hanging a sign on a dog that says "I am a horse" doesn't make it one. And so it is with the charter school/partnership/ kura hourua school rebranding exercise. The ACT Party regards the public as fools who will buy its pig-in-a-poke policy, with or without the lipstick.

I am reminded that a previous government tried the same trick with the bulk funding of schools. It was variously re-named "salaries grant for management", "direct resourcing" and "fully-funded option" but all to no effect. The public knew what it was and rejected it. Funnily enough material released under the Official Information Act says that as well as not having to have registered teachers, and not having unions on site, charter schools will be bulk funded. It has also revealed the names of the applicants who are keen to get their snouts in this particular trough.

They fall roughly into five groups:

1. American schools offering to come to New Zealand to gift Kiwis a proper American education with the profits drawn from the New Zealand taxpayer and siphoned off to USA. Although John Key says (with an impressively cavalier disregard for the impact on students) that if charter schools don't perform they will simply be closed.

2. Boutique schools for the middle class which are looking for a 100% taxpayer funding rather than the partial subsidy they currently receive. It will certainly stretch credulity if schools serving this population are considered in need of special support.

3.  A couple of second chance schools/alternative education centres. Presumably these schools are taking a punt on getting some extra money because the sector has been so underfunded for so long. I don't like their chances given the charter school working group's response to PPTA's suggestion that the most honorable thing they could do would be to seek out the most disadvantaged students and give them a real chance in life. The group was distinctly unenthusiastic knowing that the critical thing dooming the charter experiment to succeed is the careful selection of  students.


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