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You have under 4 hours to get your charter schools submission in …

You might want to copy this one and send it here:  http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/SC/MakeSub/f/b/4/50SCES_SCF_00DBHOH_BILL11822_1-Education-Amendment-Bill.htm

I wish to register my complete objection to the proposals for New Zealand to have charter (or partnership) schools. We already have excellent and very varied types of school providing a world class education system.

Any improvements that do need to be made will not be made by degrading the quality of teaching by allowing untrained staff. Teaching is about more than enthusiasm – it requires an understanding of pedagogy and an ability to reflect on what is happening in the classroom. Even people with a good subject knowledge may not have the skills necessary to teach it well, to evaluate students’ progress, and to build on prior knowledge. Teaching is much more than lecturing. It is also a lot more than getting students to pass exams or reach national standards on a test.

Evidence from overseas points to very limited improvements (CREDO said only 17% of students did better in charters, with around 45% doing the same as they would in the local public system and the rest doing worse), which does not point to charters being the way to lift our system higher still.

Special needs students and ESOL students also tend to do far worse in charters. Given our country is build on immigrants, it is folly to consider a system that will be primed to neglect those with English as a foreign language.

Another common theme with charter schools is that they expel a huge proportion of students compared with other school types. It is no coincidence that the schools then boast great exam pass rates – glossing over the fact that they got rid of anyone not likely to do very well. How that would help the so-called tail of achievement is a mystery to me and I am yet to hear anything from government to convince me they have an answer.

I also completely object to tax-payers’ money being used to finance public schools where those schools are being run for profit and can skim off a portion of the tax-payers’ money as profit. This is ridiculous. Schools need all the money they can get. The teachers I know use a lot of their own money shoring things up as it is. That is not acceptable. (I would like to note that I am not a teacher myself.) And the fact that charters will not have to give out information under the Official Information Act or in any other way, so that they essentially run behind closed doors, is again, not at all acceptable.

Finally, it is utterly wrong to not require all public schools to have a board made up of people from the community. Schools are the heart of a community, and the best way for home and school to work together in the interest of students is for them to be very closely linked. This has been borne out in OECD research (PISA 2009).

I cannot object to charter schools strongly enough.

About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi

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