22 May 2012

Fury expressed over charter school

8:16 am on 22 May 2012

Some residents in Otahuhu, Auckland, are furious a charter school could be trialled in their community, saying it is not wanted or needed.

Charter schools get Government funding but are run by companies or non-profit organisations and can set teacher pay and their own school timetable.

A pilot programme for charter schools is part of the confidence and supply deal between the National and ACT parties.

About 400 people attended a meeting in Otahuhu Town Hall on Monday night to debate the merits of the idea.

Charter Schools Working Group chair Catherine Isaac, faced a tough audience and was heckled over her political affiliations.

The former ACT Party president asked the audience to keep an open mind about the charter school concept and said it was not politically motivated.

Ms Isaac said no students will be forced to go to a charter school and it is simply another option.

She said the current system is seriously failing some students and charter schools could help address that. She said the trial will not be a silver bullet, but it must be given a chance.

However, NZ Educational Institute president Ian Leckie said there is no evidence that charter schools work.