Compromised charter board should go

The Green Party is calling on the Government to cancel its latest charter school application round, and disestablish the Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua Authorisation (PSKH) board, following the bail out of a problem-plagued Northland charter school.

“Both the Education Minister and the PSKH board have put their desire to open charter schools ahead of the safety of the children in them, ignoring repeated warnings by the Ministry of Education that some schools were not ready to be opened,” Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

“The board is chaired by Catherine Isaacs who is hopelessly compromised by her relationship with the ACT party. The board has demonstrated it is not up to the task of objectively assessing applications to run a school.

“If the Ministry is correct, and the problems at Whangaruru are now beyond remedy, I want to know why the Minister is continuing with this experiment on the students, and doesn’t instead wrap intensive services around them and transition them into other local schools.

“Many of the Whangaruru students were already disengaged from school and deserved the best education that the state system had to offer; instead they have become the victims of the National/ACT charter school experiment.

“These students have been failed by both the Minister and the PSKH board in their rush to prove their charter school experiment before the school was anywhere near ready to be opened.

“The Whangaruru students were the last who should have been experimented on. They needed the best of what the public system has to offer. They now deserve to have no expense spared ensuring their education is salvaged to the best of the Minister’s ability,” Ms Delahunty said.

The Green Party would see the charter school programme stopped completely, and existing schools transitioned into public schools if they were viable.

“In the meantime, the least the Minister can do is put a hold to the current round of applications, and promise that a new and objective board will replace the one headed by Ms Isaacs,” Ms Delahunty said.