2 August 2012
The charter school brand has taken such a hit from New Zealanders who do not want it that its proponents have been forced to change its name.
PPTA general secretary Kevin Bunker said re-labelling the New Zealand version of charter schools as ‘partnership schools’ was an insult to the New Zealand public and would fool no one.
“The features of the New Zealand charter school released by the minister and associate minister of education today show that teacher, parent and community concerns have been very valid. Essentially this is a government funded experiment on our children.
“Charter school working group leader Catherine Isaac knows the importance of PR and is trying all the tricks, but the key features show that these are, in all essential elements, charter schools based on the US and UK models.
Bunker said the strategic re-branding was about trying to get a fresh start for a concept that had already taken on the stink of ideologically driven failure.
“It’s merely putting lipstick on a pig,” he said.
There were a number of serious concerns about the proposed model, particularly the fact that the schools would be allowed to employ unregistered teachers.
An unregistered teacher can be without recent teaching experience, have failed to meet competency requirements for registration or be without teacher training at all.
“It seems crazy that you have to be registered to do the electrical wiring at a charter school, but not to teach the children there. I hate to think how Ministry of Education and Teachers Council officials feel about having to justify this. You can’t take your sick cat to an unregistered vet - would you want to send your child to an unregistered teacher?”
Bunker said the ‘partnership’ model added a sponsor wedge in-between schools and communities.
The already existing Tomorrow’s Schools system was set up as a partnership between parents and professionals, he said
“There is no ‘partnership’ here - this is just a handover of taxpayer money to business interests to make profits out of our kids. It shows Isaac's background as a marketing guru not an educationalist,” he said.