Why has it all gone quiet on Charter Schools?


charter schools and your taxesCharter Schools TrialThey’re one of ACT’s flagship policies and the National Party have been gung ho in supporting them.

So how come we’re not hearing Hekia Parata, Jamie Whyte, Catherine Isaac, et al singing from the rafters about what a resounding success charter schools are?

The silence worries me.

So, I have some questions:

  • Do all five current charter schools have at least the minimum number of students they must have according to their contracts?
  • How many students have they lost?
  • Have any of the current schools had ERO there to do readiness reviews, yet, and if so, what did they say?
  • Do the schools lose funding if a pupil leaves? (Like mainstream state schools do)
  • How many ORS funded students (students with significant special educational needs) do the charters cater for?
  • Whatever happened to Catherine Isaac’s working group – where’s the report they surely did after all of their unbiased research?
  • Given charters are so costly compared with other forms of education in New Zealand, are they providing good value for our tax money?
  • Why has it gone silent on the new charter schools due to start next year?
  • Are the initial problems at Whangaruru resolved now?
  • How does having charter schools starting at preschool age (as indicated by the Minister may happen) help with the mythical 20%?
  • Jamie Whyte this week said charter schools are the answer to issues of bullying that LGBTI students face – how?
  • Leading Maori educationalists signed an open letter to government opposing charter schools. have their concerns been dealt with?
  • Given charters were set up to help with the mythical “1 in 5” who do not get NCEA 2, is there any evidence that this group’s achievement is rising?
  • Charter schools have not  improved educational success in USA, England or Sweden,  In fact all have dropped significantly in PISA tables.  So what has been put in place to ensure the same does not happen in New Zealand?

Man alive, I could go on, but I am late for my deadline and that’s enough to ponder on.

I look forward to some detailed answers.

I assume Alwyn Poole of Villa Education Trust – one of the first five charter schools – will be typing furiously right now, as he always does, with rebuttals.  Sadly, you might not see those answers as he only ever writes to people privately, and seems reluctant to engage in the public arena.

Which leads to another question – why the silence from charter schools?  Are they gagged by Ministry? Do they not have answers that would stand up to scrutiny?

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Who knows.

One thing’s for sure, for such a radical change to our education system, that was brought in with so many promises and against fierce opposition, there are still far more questions than answers on charter schools.













  1. Maybe it’s all quite so as to not arouse attention. Attention to a special new education flavour the Conservatives will deal with after the election.

  2. National have been like a wrecking ball on public education while giving more and more money to rich private schools and now the charter schools debacle.

    We have never plummeted in international education standings like we have under this national government.

    Charter schools in their present form are a rip off and a scam.

  3. What, no IV, no Parata, no Isaacs, no Whyte, no Poole, no-one out there going to answer the questions? Quelle surprise.

  4. Charter schools were not about improving educational standards or giving people more choices, although that’s what National would like everyone to believe. they were primarily designed to reduce what the right believe is a dangerous influence on our children from those Labour-leaning trendy lefty intellectual teachers. National’s simple philosophy – take away kids from those lefties and we get more right-wing (aka normal) young adults. Charter schools inevitably cater for the rich, the privileged, the religious and (of course) the right. That is why the political right love charter schools. They justify it by blabbering on about choice and how much less these schools cost to run. They make charter schools look more attractive by running down state education and picking fights with teachers (National has always loathed state teachers) but as you have said above – the results have not been good. Charter schools have dubious records for educational achievement and don’t cost much less than state schools to run. They are primarily a right-wing ideological experiment using our kids as guinea pigs.

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