Investing in what works, An open letter to Parliament

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Today an open letter has been sent to Parliament, outlining strong opposition to charter schools by 65 of New Zealands professors, educators, MPs, and others. Here is the open letter in full, with all signatories names.

Investing in what works

Alfistron_Chemistry_01_lightboxEveryone agrees that all children should receive the education that meets their needs: that engages, motivates and supports them to learn to their full potential. In Aotearoa we have the knowledge to make this happen, but sadly it seems that we sometimes lack the political will.

This governments charter school plans are a distraction from investing more in what we know works for the young learners we represent and work with. Some of these things include increasing opportunities for bi-lingual education, supporting high quality te reo learning in kura and mainstream settings, programmes such as Te Kotahitanga and the various AIMHI initiatives. While the government has recently announced more resourcing for some of these, others have had funding withdrawn or frozen.

Charter schools will also take the focus away from developing the special character and Kura Kaupapa Maori models which already give New Zealand state schooling unprecedented flexibility. These models need more support, more opportunity to share good practice and innovation, and not to be undermined by the latest, politically driven fad.

Charter schools are part of the problem, not part of the solution

On the advent of the government passing the charter schools legislation, we express our deep concern that this initiative is a serious wrong turn for education. The legislation allows for-profit and foreign-owned organisations to set up schools. It permits unqualified people to replace qualified and registered teachers and principals. It removes the right of parents to take part in school governance. And it takes no account of how new charter schools may impact on existing schools. There is a serious concern that in the process of introducing charter schools, groups of students are being put at risk.

Charter schools exploit vulnerable children

Charter schools are not the solution for New Zealands most vulnerable leaners. Overseas, charter schools have not raised achievement for children who need it the most. For example the US-based KIPP (Knowledge is Power Programme) charter schools which have been held up as a successful example, have a push-out rate of 40% for African American boys before Grade 8 (Year 9). This is the opposite of what we need in New Zealand for our Maori and Pasifika boys.

Our most vulnerable learners need more assistance, not less. They need schools responsible directly to parents; they need trained and qualified teachers who are supported in an ongoing manner by effective professional development that has shown results; they need their schools to provide information when parents request it; their parents need access to the Ombudsman. Why would these most vulnerable of children get less than every other child in New Zealand and why would they be subject to being profited from just because they are deemed to be struggling?

Dont experiment on children; do what works.

Yours sincerely

Professor Russell Bishop

Professor of M?ori Education

Faculty of Education

University of Waikato

Dr. Damon Salesa

Associate Professor

Department of Pacific Studies

Univerity of Auckland

Deborah Morris-Travers

Manager

Every Child Counts

Trish Grant

Director of Advocacy

IHC

Dr. Tamasailau Suaalii-Sauni

Senior Lecturer

Pacific Studies & Samoan Studies Programmes

Vaaomanu Pasifika Unit

Victoria University of Wellington

Dr. Peter Brunt
Art History
School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies
Victoria University of Wellington

Dr. Teresia Teaiwa

Senior Lecturer and Post-Graduate Coordinator

Pacific Studies

Victoria University of Wellington

Anne Milne

Principal

Kia Aroha College

Philip Harding

President

NZ Principals Federation

Dr. Leonie Pihama

Senior Research Fellow

Te Kotahi Research Institute

University of Waikato

Ngaropi Cameron

Chief Executive

Senior Family Violence Programme Facilitator & Educator

Tu Tama Wahine O Taranaki Inc

Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith

Professor of Education and M?ori Development

Pro-Vice Chancellor M?ori

University of Waikato

Dr. Margie Hohepa

Associate Professor

Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research

University of Waikato

Dr. Carl Mika

Lecturer in Policy, Cultural and Social Studies in Education

University of Waikato

Dr. Hinemoa Elder

Fellow of the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists

Professor Trish Johnston

Head of School of Indigenous Graduate Studies

Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiaragi

Jenny Joy Lee

Dr. Mera Penehira

University of Waikato

Marley Matamua

Operations Manager

Te Kotahi Research Institute

University of Waikato

Dr. Rangi Matamua

Lecturer in Te Reo M?ori

Massey University

Dr. Ranginui Walker, DCNZM

Deirdre Walker

Herearoha Skipper

Pouwhakahaere

Pro Vice Chancellor Maaori Office

The University of Waikato

Ngaropi Cameron

Manager, Senior Family Violence Programme Facilitator & Educator

Tu Tama Wahine O Taranaki

Ronald Ngata, BSS (Hons)

Maryann Lee

Educational Designer

Centre for Educational Design and Development

University of Auckland

Dr. Ani Mikaere

Kaihautu of Te Whare Whakatupu Matauranga

Te Wananga o Raukawa

Angeline Greensill, LLB, TTC

Lecturer

Geography, Tourism and Environmental Planning Programme

School of Social Sciences

University of Waikato

Helen Te Hira

Dr. Amohia Boulton

Senior Researcher

Whakauae Research for M?ori Health and Development

Whanganui

Dr. Robert Gregory

Adjunct Professor of Political Science

School of Government

Victoria University of Wellington

Dr. Wally Penetito

Retired Prof. of Education

Te Kura M?ori

Faculty of Education

Victoria University of Wellington

Metiria Turei

Member of Parliament

Co-Leader of the Green Party

Lesley Rameka

Senior Lecturer

Educational Psychology and Pedagogy

Faculty of Education

Victoria University of Wellington

Dr. Cindy Kiro

Head of School Te Kura M?ori

Victoria University of Wellington

Seth Brown, DPhil

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Education

Massey University

Dr. Jenny Boyack

Massey University

Steve K.W. Lang, PhD
Senior Lecturer

Institute of Education

Massey University

Dr. Tim Burgess

Senior Lecturer: Mathematics and Statistics Education

Institute of Education

Massey University

Brian Finch EdD

School of Educational Studies

Institute of Education

Massey University

Dr. Roberta Hunter

Massey University

Dr. Michael Irwin

Institute of Education

Massey University

Auckland

Dr. Tracey-Lynne Cody

Lecturer Arts Education & Initial Teacher Education

Massey University

Dr. Peter Rawlins

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Education

Massey University

Leaufaamulia Asenati Lole-Taylor

Member of Parliament

Dr. Kama Weir

Institute of Education

Massey University

Maurice Walden

Wellington Tenths Trust Board Member

Damon Heke

Te Taitonga Kapa Haka Trust

Kapa Haka Tutor, Community Liason

Kelly Henare-Heke

Te Taitonga Kapa Haka Trust

Kapa Haka Tutor, Community Liason

Dudley Adams

Clendon Park School

Deputy Principal

Avele Tanielu

Teacher in Charge of Samoan Language

Papatoetoe High School

Penelope Togiatama

Pasefika Liason

Papatoetoe High School

Mohi Thompson

Kaumatua

Manurewa Intermediate School

TeAriki Tuiono

Teacher Te Whanau Awhina

Clendon Park School

Matene Karena

HoL M?ori

Alfriston College

Barbara Tauranga

Kuia

Opuatia Marae

Dr. Alyson McGee

Senior Lecturer

Institute of Education

Massey University

Annette Sykes

Barrister and Solicitor

Partner Aurere Law

Dr. Penny Haworth

Institute of Education

Massey University

Nanaia Mahuta

Member of Parliament for Hauraki-Waikato

Carmel Sepuloni

Sua William Sio

Member of Parliament for Mangere

Dr Diane Lysette Mara

Associate Dead Pasifika

Faculty of Education

University of Auckland

Professor Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop

Professor of Pacific Studies

AUT University

Michael OBrien

Director

Child Poverty Action Group

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