Rushed consultation on charter schools shows Government's complete disconnect from communities

The Government’s decision today to fast track public consultation on proposed charter schools legislations shows it is out of touch with parents and local communities, says Chris Abercrombie, PPTA Te Wehengarua president.

“The legislation contains far-reaching changes which have very significant implications for school communities. The secrecy around this legislation and the speed at which it is being pushed through shows a disconnect with the realities of busy parents and communities. All families are working incredibly hard during the cost of living crisis, it’s a huge ask to then drop everything to engage in this consultation – but the decisions being made are incredibly important.

“This time around the legislation will not only enable existing local state schools to convert to charter schools, it will also enable the Minister to order an existing state school to convert, and it will enable any single person in the community to propose converting a local state school to a charter school.

“What happens if parents don’t want to send their children to a converted charter school or students don’t want to attend such a school– what rights do they have? Where are the rights of school communities in all of this?”

The proposed legislation also contains drastic changes to the employment conditions of teachers employed at a school that converts to a charter school. “The legislation proposes to completely override teachers’current rights both in employment law and their collective agreement – this is a profound change that, along with the other changes, deserves a decent amount of scrutiny.

“Rather than fast tracking the consultation process, the Government should be rolling out a comprehensive programme letting school communities know what is in store and encouraging them to have their say.”

The Education and Training Amendment Bill, which provides the framework to establish charter schools, had its first reading under urgency today and has been referred to the education and workforce select committee. The select committee has been instructed to report back in early September, allowing approximately eight weeks for the written and oral submission process.

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 June 2024 15:10