What is the most important thing?
It is people.
It is people
It is people.
I am reminded of this each time Hekia Parata and co. assure us that charter schools are about our tamariki, about bolstering their achievement, raising their grades, helping them do better.
Because, for all I have asked those driving the charter school movement to show me how these schools will improve things and why we cannot instead focus upon further improving all public schools, I am yet to get anything even remotely near a decent answer.
In fact most people refuse to answer me at all, which is telling.
Associate Minister of Education Nikki Kaye and I had a spirited exchange on Twitter earlier in the year, where she assured me publicly she had hard facts. She promised to come back to me with those facts. Instead she fobbed me off each time I reminded her and then unfollowed me.
So I am no nearer believing charter schools will be an educational miracle. Sadly, I almost wish I was.
Because all I care about is that we give as good an education as possible to as many children as we can, in a fair way, with as much equity as can be managed. If I thought this was going to work, I’d be all over it. If I even believed it was truly aimed at improving the system, I might give it a tentative nod. But the evidence is that charter schools’ real benefit is to one group and one group only – those running them. It’s not about students, it’s about profits.
Still, I’ll ask again: Tell me how. Give me hard facts. Explain it to me, please.
Because nothing about removing community involvement in schools by taking away their right to a locally-elected Board of Trustees indicates there will be a better school/community bond.
Nothing about charters being able to employ untrained, unqualified staff tells me that standards will rise.
Why are we not spending that money improving the system we already have in place, learning from best practice in our most successful schools?
Why charters? Why privatisation?
Tell me, please.
Set my mind at rest.
Hekia Parata, Nikki Kaye, John Banks, Christine Isaac and all of those pushing for NZ charter schools, I fear history will judge them thus:
He nui to ngaromanga, he iti to putanga.
You depart with mighty boasts, but you come back having done little.