New Zealand

Charter schools ‘harmful’ says study
Davison, I.  New Zealand Herald (14 April 2012)

Despite an academic group’s insistence that charter schools “may do more harm than good to the under-achievers,” the New Zealand Government “has recently reaffirmed its keenness to implement charter schools…”  Under the National-Act agreement, New Zealand will be implementing charter school reform in areas that are traditionally low-achieving—South Auckland, Christchurch East, and possibly Wellington.  “The academic group welcomed the Government’s focus on the need to address educational achievement through wider social and economic policies,” but they believe the narrow focus of the educational achievement data could end up increasing the educational inequities charter schools aim to reduce.  The Government, however, countered that there were many different models of charter schools worldwide.  Said Act Party leader and Associate Education Minister John Banks, “For our New Zealand model we are taking the best of the best ideas from the most successful charter schools, as well as from the most successful schools in New Zealand.”  The same academic group also said that charter schools were a “radical departure” from the principles of social democracy and civic participation.

Despite the debate about charter schools, this video highlights how charter schools “remain a mystery” for many New Zealanders, whereas this video is an interview with Head of Education at Aukland University, Dr. Airini, discussing the aforementioned poll and the New Zealand charter school movement in general.

One response to “New Zealand

  1. As a result of their high quality education systems, New Zealand has been recognized as one of the few countries that have already started to close the gap between lower and higher achieving students. Charter schools seem to be another method to promote the closure of this gap. While charter schools offer more administrative choice this could potentially be harmful for many students if their policies are not supportive of under-achieving students. Charter schools allow the freedom of choosing school hours as well as choosing registered and non-registered teachers. Making sure that the teachers are qualified (they don’t necessarily have to be registered) could be the determining factor of the success of New Zealand Charter Schools. If New Zealand models their charter schools after those that have been proven effective in the United States their chance at succeeding will be much higher. It seems that the New Zealand government wants to provide more choice, but they also seem to have a handle on determining if the school is hurting or helping the underachieving students. As long as the school shows improvement in the student’s education charter schools could become very helpful for many New Zealand schools.

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