Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The demise of New Zealand's not-perfect-but-better-than-most education system

So we now have charter schools, an unaccountable breed of school foisted on the lower orders by people who would never send their own children to a school run by Destiny Church. Worse, this emerging two-tier education system is being underwritten by the taxpayer. Still, someone has to pay for Brian and Hannah's expensive hairdos.

In a classic bait-and-switch, charter schools have been touted by ACT as being the solution to New Zealand's underachieving 15% - mostly Maori and Pacific Island students. No discussion of why they might be underachieving has ever been had. Nor have any of the issues that contribute to poor educational outcomes ever been addressed, for example poverty, poor health and transience. But mostly, no one has asked why this man should suddenly be crying crocodile tears over young Maori and Polynesian men.

But while we expect unethical pro-corporate behaviour from ACT, the fact that the charter school legislation passed with the support of the Maori Party is truly disappointing. On Morning Report last week Pita Sharples dismissed criticism of charter schools with the well-researched and convincing (not) argument that we should 'give them a go'.

If that's the threshold for policy decisions in the Maori Party then it's time they packed up and went back to their turangawaewae. Good riddance.