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Fingers Crossed


So, the cunningly-timed submission period on the Education reform Bill is over.  Our chance to respond to ACT’s ridiculous plan for charter schools at an  end.  NZEI and PPTA are pleased with the submissions that came through their online proformas – a good 1700 of them, and it looks like a good haul has been made directly to the select committee, too.

If you are one of the people who took time to make a submission, bloody good job.  Because the only way to fight things like this is to stand up and be counted.

SOSNZ peeps certainly did their bit, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

* 195 people clicked through to the NZEI submission form from this blog

* 73 clicked straight through to the government’s submission pages

* 33 clicked through to the NZEI’s page about charters/submissions

* 33 clicked through to the PPTA’s page about charters/submissions

* and countless more went off, thought about it, and made submissions after reading about stuff or hearing from you or me about it all.

We’ve done our bit and should be thrilled.

But it’s not all over.

We still need to engage other teachers, talk to parents, discuss it all with students, and keep the pressure on the government by writing to MPs, newspapers, blogs, and, of course, the Minister.

Well done everyone – keep it up.  We can do it.



Get off your lazy tush and do something

Too harsh?  I think not.

I am agog that so many people have not the faintest clue about what is being done to and being proposed for our education system.

Teachers, parents, students – so many people I talk to in real life are oblivious that National/ACT are gunning for changes that have proven hugely controversial and largely detrimental across the world.  I don’t know why I’m surprised – aside from MPs, political pundits, bloggers and social media activists, there is little said about the proposals in the media.  If it weren’t for Twitter, Facebook and some brilliant blogs (see below) I too would have no idea what is going on.

Make a submission to parliament (by 24th January) DO IT HERE

outside voices

And to be fair, it’s taken me hours and hours and hours to read up and make sense of it all.  Hours many don’t have – especially if they are teaching, parenting or otherwise working  full time.

Aside from a few pieces in our Kiwi newspapers, and one or two bits on the news (usually breakfast TV (does anyone watch that any more?)) we’ve only John Campbell making any sort of noise about it all.  (Thanks John, we love you.)  The media prefer to whip up a storm about one nutbar who thinks gay marriage will lead to anarchy or someone who suddenly had a brain-burst about cats eating kiwis.  And don’t get me started on cheating cyclists.

So, spreading the word is left to people like you, who bother to read up, who clearly care, and who can tell at least one other person what is happening and hopefully spread the word before it is all a little bit too late.

profits not pupils

So here are the basics:

  • charter schools will not have to employ trained or qualified staff to be their  ‘teachers’.
  • charter schools are funded by our taxes but can be – and often are – run for profit (your taxes into someone else’s pocket, as profit, not to staff OR to students’ learning)
  • they will not be required to have a community-appointed Board of Trustees to oversee them nor have any form of community input
  • charter schools will not have to give information to the public via Official Information Act requests – in other words they can run their business (with your money) in any way they please and are not accountable
  • charter schools will not have to follow the National Curriculum
  • evidence from reliable sources (1) show that around 83% children in charters do the same or worse than they would in an ordinary public schools, so why have them?
  • exclusions are far higher in charter schools, leaving many children without any teaching at all
  • minority children tend to do worse in charter schools – somewhat countering the argument that we are having them to help those suffering in the ‘tail of underachievement’
  • overseas, charter schools are poor at supporting children with high special needs and students who have English as second language

You can read about the ins and outs  in more detail here and here and here.

Make a submission to parliament (by 24th January) DO IT HERE

The government and the working group overseeing charter schools (or Partnership Schools, as they have re-branded them) has so far not offered one single sensible reason why or clear indication how charter schools would raise achievement or help students in any way that is NOT ALREADY POSSIBLE with the school options we have.

The proposals are not at all about raising achievement – they are about selling off our schools  and saving money.  And even that doesn’t work as a good argument since in the UK and USA many, many charter schools are costing the taxpayer far more per pupil than public schools were.

It is also about devaluing teachers.  All I can say to that is this – the countries who value their teachers, train them well, pay them decently and have good programmes for continued learning and professional development are those that are doing the best in terms of student achievement.  It is those countries we should look to.

So, can I ask you a favour, as I am thinking you care about this issue since you have read this far – can I ask you to engage one person per week in a conversation about our schools.  Not a lecture, or a nag, but to ask them what they know, have they heard what’s going on – would they be happy with untrained and unregistered staff who are not accountable to the community or the wider public running their schools and teaching their children?  If they are, then you tried, if they aren’t, well you might just have added one more person to the list of those asking questions about just what is going on.

Make a submission to parliament (by 24th January) DO IT HERE

Kia kaha


Notes and further reading:

(1) Stamford University’s CREDO Report on charter schools in the USA READ HERE

Make a submission to parliament (by 24th January) DO IT HERE

My own draft submission (feel free to use, copy, edit, etc) READ HERE

A debate for and against charter schools READ HERE

The UK’s Free Schools are heading for failure READ HERE


Charter schools and segregation / inequality READ HERE

Some informative blogs and pages to take a peek at:

No To Charter Schools in NZ

A message from NZEI:

Make a submission to Parliament to stop Charter Schools

Changes to education legislation to allow for the establishment of charter schools, is now before Parliament.

Public submissions are invited to the Education Select Committee on the Education Amendment Bill with a closing date of January 24, 2013.

Click here to complete a submission.

Make sure you take this opportunity to make a difference by doing a submission over the school break.

Charter schools are a symptom of the Government’s Global Education Reform Plan which would allow for unqualified people to teach, companies to make a profit from schools and for power  to be taken away from the local community in the running of its local school.

The Government has no mandate for charter schools – or “partnership schools/kura hourua” as ACT MP John Banks and Education Minister Hekia Parata call them.

  • They are a failed ideological experiment from overseas.
  • They will be exempt from the Official Information Act and able to cherry pick students or take over local schools.

They are part of an agenda of privatisation and competition that has no place in New Zealand’s high achieving system.

Find out more at our Facebook Group We Don’t Want Your Charter Schools.

Follow Save Our Schools NZ on

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