22 Feb 2013

Conflicting views on charter school potential

10:31 pm on 22 February 2013

Potential charter school operators have told Parliament's Education and Science select committee the education system is failing Maori and Pasifika children and they could do a better job.

The Education and Science select committee heard submissions in Auckland on Friday on the Education Amendment Bill which aims to introduce publicly-funded private schools, known as charter or partnership schools.

Nga Kakano, a private bilingual Christian school, told the committee that Maori children need partnership schools now because it will take too long to change the state system. Board member Arohanui Vause said Maori are failing.

"Our people have been educated for 30 years under the system and our people are deteriorating. Even though changes can be made to the current system, it's a very slow machine and we don't have the time to wait around for the system to catch up."

Rise Up Trust, which works with Pasifika parents, told MPs it could do a better job than many schools.

Both the trust and Nga Kakano want to become charter schools.

But the Post Primary Teachers' Association's Committee Pasifika said partnership schools are not the answer to under-achievement by those students.

The Auckland Primary Principals' Association said it is not true that state schools are failing Maori and Pacific children and the Government should look at what is working in state schools, rather than introducing a foreign model of school.

However, Stuart Middleton, director of external relations at Manukau Institute of Technology, told MPs that too many children are failing and it's time to try charter schools.