Megan Woods |
Thursday, September 12, 2013 – 16:17
Education Minister Hekia Parata’s refusal to take a public-private partnership off the table for the newly formed Aranui super school raises the prospect of further privatisation of education in Christchurch, says Labour’s Associate Education spokesperson for Christchurch, Megan Woods.
“Education is an investment in our children and their future, not a way for private businesses to make a profit. We should be focussed on rebuilding Christchurch’s public education system and ensuring all children have access to great schools and good teachers.
“Hekia Parata has not ruled out a public-private partnership for the build, design and management of the newly formed Aranui super school and has refused to rule out the prospect of new charter schools in Christchurch East. This raises serious questions about the future of public education in Christchurch.
“Parents who have been through months of negotiating with the Minister – fighting for their local schools’ survival, deserve to know whether they were closed to make way for privatisation.
“Labour has a vision for world class education in Christchurch. Privatisation will take the focus off ensuring quality education and will break down the link between schools and communities that have been so important in Christchurch after the earthquakes.
“Public-private partnerships are the thin edge of the privatisation wedge. Overseas experience has shown us that private ownership of the school facilities limits community use.
Contracts for facility use can limit the hours in which school facilities can be used – where does this leave night classes, and all the after-hours community meetings held in school halls? Will this be the case in Christchurch East?
“The Minister’s refusal to rule out a public-private partnership for the Aranui super school shows that she is in favour of our system being used for private profit. Does this mean she also sees a future for a charter school in the city?
“Charter schools won’t be good for education. They won’t have to have registered teachers, won’t have to teach to the curriculum and won’t be subject to the same accountability as state schools.
“New Zealand’s state education system is world leading. The announced schools in the East deserve all the resource they can get to succeed. Profit making centres for business and competition at a time when newly merged schools are finding their feet risks creating further instability for the kids and communities in Christchurch East.
“Clarity from the Minister cannot stop at yesterday’s announcement. She must engage and be open with the people in Christchurch East about her plans in the years ahead,”