Charter Schools - Submission to Education Amendment Bill. Please complete by 22 January  so that we can get it to the Select Committee before 24 January 2013 deadline. After 22 January, please go to the parliament website to make your submission.

1. Your details
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2. I/we wish to appear before the Select Committee to speak to my submission
3. General comments

I/we oppose the intent of this bill because it creates the framework for the approval and establishment of charter schools (partnership schools/kura hourua) which pose a threat to New Zealand’s world-leading quality public education system.

The bill undermines teacher quality by permitting charter schools to hire unqualified people to act as teachers, will reduce transparency by making charter schools exempt from the Official Information Act and does not require the schools to follow the New Zealand Curriculum.

My additional comments are:
4. Specific comments

Charter schools undermine quality teaching

I/we oppose clauses 23,24, 25 and 26 of the Bill which make changes to sections 120A – 120C (teacher registration) of the Education Act (“the Act”) and section 158T which will:

- allow charters schools to hire unqualified people to work as teachers
- permit principals to be non-teachers
- exempts charter schools from the Act’s Teachers Council provisions.

My additional comments are:
5. Charter schools undermine quality schools

I/we oppose Clause 31 in its entirety because it inserts new Part 12A (containing sections 158A-158X) and creates the underlying framework for charter schools (partnership schools/kura hourua).

These sections will:
- allow charter schools to take over or compete with local state schools. Charter schools can be run by private companies and make a profit by creaming off the most successful students and leaving local state schools to support the children with the most complex and challenging needs.
- exempt charter school governance bodies from the requirement to include elected parent and community representatives.
- exempt charter schools from the enrollment schemes that apply to state schools. This means that charters schools will not be under any obligation to accept students from their local areas – if demand for places exceed supply they will not be required to have a geographic enrollment zone to take the closest local children but will instead chose students through a ballot.

My additional comments are:
6. Charter schools undermine quality learning for kids

I/we oppose Section 158 D which does not oblige charter schools to follow the New Zealand Curriculum.

The New Zealand Curriculum is a world-leading curriculum that focuses on key competencies learners require to make an effective and productive contribution as citizens in the 21st century. Charters schools will not be obliged to follow the New Zealand Curriculum. This raises questions about the quality and direction charter schools will follow, including the risk that students may be delivered sectarian and/or narrow curricula.

My additional comments are:
7. Charter schools are not accountable

I/we oppose Section 158X which means the Ombudsmen and Official Information Acts will not apply to charter schools.

Although the schools will be taxpayer funded, they will not require to be audited by the Auditor General as state schools are. Charter schools will not be required to have elected representatives or Crown appointees on their governance body and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act will not apply.

My additional comments are:
8. Any other comments: