Charter school experiment must stop

The Government must rule out opening any more charter schools, as the first of the experimental schools has just been told it is closing, the Green Party said today.

The Minister of Education Hekia Parata has today given Whangaruru School in Northland a month to respond to her decision to close the school. A further 26 charter schools have applied to open in 2017.

“The experience of the children who were experimented on in Northland should never be allowed to be repeated on others,” Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said today.

“The Minister of Education must not wash her hands of the children of Whangaruru. These kids were the unwitting victims of the charter school experiment and the Minister must now promise all the resources that they need to ensure their education can be salvaged.

“It is particularly concerning that Hekia Parata chose to open Whangaruru in the first place as the Ministry of Education had raised concerns that it was not ready. Those concerns were repeatedly overruled.

“The resources that went into propping up a school that was never ready to open was a waste that could have been spent on supporting these students properly.

“There was never any evidence that charter schools would do well by Māori, kids with special needs and those from poorer families – the groups who are supposed to be the priority students for enrolment.

“It defies belief that the Government would plough ahead with another round of charter schools when the programme has been so plagued by problems.

“The charter school experiment must be stopped now, before any more children are hurt,” Ms Delahunty said.

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