Backing public education by ending charter schools
A passion for Pasifika education
Students, teachers and parents will all benefit from the government’s decision to back public education in New Zealand by removing the legislation that created charter schools.
PPTA Komiti Pasifika executive member Natalie Faitala is a passionate advocate for Pasifika education. She believes the funds being diverted into charter schools could have a much bigger impact on those groups if they were returned to the state system that serves all students.
Nothing charters were achieving that couldn't be done in the state system
There was nothing charter schools were achieving that could not be done in the state system, Natalie said.
“There is no amazing innovation or difference that’s happening in charter schools that couldn’t happen if state schools had the resources.”
These approaches should be used for everyone, not just the select few that can attend charter schools.“You can innovate and have new ideas and find things that can work better but there should be no reason why that can’t happen in the state system,” she said.
Nobody is opposed to innovation
“The charter schools crying foul about closing – if they are really passionate about what they are doing – should be able to find a way to do it within the state system,” she said.
“Nobody’s opposed to success or innovative ways of learning for Māorit and Pasifika students. The opposition is to the privatisation ideology behind the charter schools. We had to draw a line,” she said.
The charter school experiment was very small and Natalie hopes practitioners can take the things they have learned and share those ideas within the state system, so all students could benefit.
Legislation removal no surprise
The removal of the legislation was not a surprise to Natalie who had expected it from the new government.
“The first I heard of it was David Seymour’s protest against charter school closures. I thought, why are they protesting? The Labour/Green/NZ First coalition has always indicated that was their policy. They just did what they said they were going to do.”
A great day for public schools and their communities
PPTA president Jack Boyle said the decision to include the removal of charters schools in Education Amendment Bill marked a great day for public schools and their communities.
“Public schools can and do reflect the diversity in their communities and are responsive and accountable to them. Many public schools are using the creativity of NCEA and the New Zealand Curriculum far better than any charters and it is no surprise well-supported and skilled professional teachers are more likely to be innovative. We don’t need charter schools for innovation,” he said.
Making good on promises
Jack gave credit to the Labour-led government for following through on their promises in good time.
“This was a strong policy position of all three parties of government, so a majority of New Zealanders clearly voted for this,” he said.
A really positive sign
This was in stark contrast to the way charter schools were introduced, with the Act party not even having them on its manifesto. “No one saw them (charter schools) coming when they emerged from the coalition deal,” he said.
With the rest of the world turning against privatised, for-profit, education New Zealand can lead the world with real investment and support for public education, he said.
“This is a really positive sign.”