Rally in support of charter schools in Auckland

Dominic Elliott is gutted at the prospect of his school being shut down. Photo: NZ Herald
Dominic Elliott is gutted at the prospect of his school being shut down. Photo: NZ Herald
The heavy downpour didn't stop about 150 parents, students and supporters from turning up at Britomart for a march to support the retention of charter schools.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins last Thursday brought in a Bill repealing the legislation that allows for future charter schools.

The 10 existing schools would be allowed to operate under their contracts for the time being while options for their future were being discussed on a case-by-case basis.

Charter, or partnership schools, are championed by the ACT party and leader David Seymour, who spoke at the rally.

"Charter schools are working," Seymour insisted.

"Over 1500 students attend the fledgling schools, most of which have had to turn students away due to rapid growth. Struggling kids are having their lives turned around."

Seymour insisted this wasn't a left-right issue, and called for party politics to be put aside to support educational opportunities for New Zealand children.

"Even three Labour Party Ministers – Kelvin Davis, Willie Jackson and Peeni Henare – know charter schools work and have publicly said so," Seymour said.

Mother and protester Adele Cruickshank said her son had been transformed since attending Vanguard.

"From one mother to a mother-to-be, the Prime Minister, I don't wish for her to go through with her child what I've been through, but I do ask for her understanding," Cruickshank said.

She said her son had previously refused to go to school, caused a lot of problems and did not have much hope for the future.

"Went to Vanguard and he's a different child, and now I have a relationship with him," Cruickshank said.

"The Minister should go to Vanguard, speak to the kids and the parents who have sat up nights crying and not knowing what to do."

Middle School student Dominic Elliot, 15, a Prime Minister's Scholarship recipient, said he was "gutted" that his school could be shut down.

Holding a placard asking "Jacinda, where's your support now?", Elliot said his school meant a lot to him.

"It's definitely helped me through my path, and it's definitely going to help me out with my career, it's definitely changed me a lot," he said.

"It's a massive part of my life, and it's really sad to hear that they want to close it down."

The rally started at Takutai Square in Britomart and protesters marched up Queen St to Aotea Square.

Charter schools receive funding from the Government similar to state schools, but they have the autonomy to determine their own curriculum, qualifications, hours and staff pay.

The Government's plan to abandon these schools have the support of the New Zealand's Principals' Federation.

''The scrapping of legislation that enabled the establishment of charter schools in New Zealand is welcomed by principals, " said federation president Whetu Cormick.

Cormick said charter schools was an idea imported from the United States of America and are intended to privatise public education.

"Charter schools have no place in New Zealand's education system," said Cormick.

"The former Government's efforts to establish them as part of their overall privatisation agenda, did not get the traction they intended, despite funding the schools at a considerably higher level than public schools."

The Amendment Bill proposing to remove the clause enabling the establishment of charter schools meant that the Government will not be signing any further contracts to establish charter schools.


Dump the placards, if it's not a left/right thing.

Without education choices children are exposed to stereotyping . A Marxist, I believe, once commented about how a state education system can train most of the children to become servants of central government implimentations.

Well, that's one career option. The Public Service. Nothing sinister.