The announcement that the government will fund another seven charter schools and an independent body to support them is a “huge disappointment” to principals across the nation.
“Only a few months ago, the minister (Hekia Parata) was closing the Whangaruru failed charter school which spent $1.6million on a farm and the government has no mechanism to retrieve that money, even though the school is now closed,” said Iain Taylor, president of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation today.
“We thought that lessons had been learned from that disaster,” said Mr Taylor, “but obviously not.
“No one is calling for more of these schools. Parents already have more than enough schools to choose from. Charter schools are a political arrangement with the government and the ACT party.’ he said.
“Kids are not flocking to charter schools. Parents have to be enticed to send their kids there. We see the incentives like free school uniforms, free stationery and no programme charges,” said Taylor. “Charter schools are a business, not a regular school, and businesses market themselves to get more customers by offering enticements. That’s what charter schools do,” he said.
‘The minister has often said that the vast majority of public schools of all decile levels in this country are great schools. We want all public schools in New Zealand to be great schools and we don’t need charter schools soaking up precious funds that would make that happen,” said Taylor.