Continuing revelations of shambles and dysfunction at one of the country’s five charter schools are yet another indication that the charter school policy is an expensive failure and it’s time the Government stepped in.
NZEI President Judith Nowotarski says it’s not surprising that Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru school in Northland is failing to provide quality education and a safe environment for students.
“Charter schools are ill-conceived and were set up hastily to support a shonky deal between Act and the National Party. The aim was all about privatising education, not providing good quality public education.
“When the Government embarked on its ideologically-driven experiment, the Prime Minister maintained that charter schools would be more accountable than public schools and that any school that did not perform would be able to be closed down.
“So why is the Prime Minister not prepared to front up, take responsibility, and admit that this experiment is proving to be an expensive failure?”
As well as an initial $1.3m to buy the farm property, the Northland school last year received $1.5m in its operational grant despite the fact that it continually failed to meet its Guaranteed Minimum Roll of 71. The latest reports show that the school’s roll has now dropped to just 47 students.
Meanwhile a second charter school, the Vanguard Military School, despite receiving at least $2.1m this year in operational funding, has also failed to meet its Guaranteed Minimum Roll. It was revealed earlier that while it was funded for a minimum roll of 108 students, just 79 were attending by October this year.
“Clearly these schools, at a cost of between $27,000 and $40,000 per student are costing well in excess of the $7000 per student cost at a state school.
“We need to stop this failing, expensive Act-driven model, put the money back into public school and then all move on.”