Tasked with advising the government on whether or not to push ahead with charter schools, Parliament's Education and Science Select Committee heard submissions from a number of dissenting voices. Presenting their cases were PPTA, New Orleans parents' activist Karran Harper Royal and the Victoria University of Wellington Students' Association (VUWSA).
School communities will be watching — PPTA
School communities will be watching you” — was the message PPTA president Angela Roberts had for National Party members of the committee.
Roberts was one of numerous submitters warning against inflicting an experiment on New Zealand children that had failed overseas.
National Party members of the committee were saddled with a big responsibility, Roberts said.
“School communities will be watching what you do and they won’t be impressed if they see their elected representatives taking money away from public schools." Roberts was particularly critical of the lack of transparency of charter schools, which would not be subject to neither the Official Information Act nor the office of the ombudsman.
“Charter school operators seek to line their pockets by syphoning funding from instruction to management and administration. The public will want to see the credit card statements and they will want to know what these untrained and unqualified charter school operators are paying themselves,” she said.
She said there was no educational or financial justification for charter schools, only a cynically political one.
“If the Act Party and its wealthy backers really believe they have the silver bullet for addressing educational underachievement, they should have the confidence to fund the experiment themselves and not demand full taxpayer funding while trying to evade account- ability for spending it,” she said.