Charter schools to allow unqualified staff
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 6:16p.m.
By Ingrid Hipkiss
The Government's unveiled the rules for its new charter schools scheme, and the first sponsored schools are expected to open in 18 months.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says they will have to reach strict education standards, but they will be given unprecedented flexibility and won't have to employ registered teachers.
The teachers' union says that will be a disaster.
Charter schools were an election deal between National and ACT, and now they're being sold as the solution to failing students.
“We want to reach out and try something different, because we know that for four out of five we have a world class system, but for one out of five it is hopeless, it’s not working for them,” says Ms Parata.
What will work they say are schools that operate outside the state system, sponsored by entities like iwi, churches or businesses- or any group that can prove it's up to the job.
Ms Parata is interested to see what will happen.
“We'll be looking forward to the initiative, the innovation and imagination of sponsors out there as to what they think their concept might look like.”
The big difference between charter schools and any other is their flexibility.
Charters can choose their days and hours of operation, develop their own curriculum, and choose whether to be profit or non-profit.
But they'll have a contractual obligation to meet strict performance criteria.
ACT MP John Banks is excited about the initiative.
“This is going to be a world class development, with world class architecture and we'll hold them to world class accountability.”
That world class development doesn't have to include registered teachers. Mr Banks says for example, someone like decorated SAS soldier Willie Apiata would be a good fit.
“He might say ‘I’ll put my hand up, I’m a role model and I could do some really good things for the kids in the partnership schools in south east Auckland, I’ll come along two days a week’. [He’s] not a teacher but no one wouldn’t think that he would be great in front of these young people.”
The teachers' union, the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), says it won't work.
“Here now is a Government announcement that is legitimising schools not having to have qualified teachers in front of children, we're astounded,” NZEI president Ian Leckie says.
But Ms Parata thinks charter schools could be a solution to education problems.
“We cannot continue to consign generations of children to not being successful because we're not prepared to be brave enough to offer another option.”
And the minister will have the final say about who gets to be part of that brave new world.
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20/08/2012 5:05:53 p.m.
This is so hilarious! On one had you have the MOE going flat out, (especially over the past month) to get literacy and numeracy at the top of everyones achievement agendas via National Standards...planning to release this data so that parents can chose a 'brainy' school for their kids - yet on the other hand they're saying - hey all the rest of you losers, set up your own schools, find you own teachers and knock yourselves out, we're washing our hands of you special needs, underachievers, Maori and PI - aka the 'tail'.
14/08/2012 11:18:50 p.m.
I have tried a system such as this. I have taught a small group of kids with learning disabilities. I am not a teacher, but have had 30 years experience with kids, travelled, and am passionate about education meeting the needs of our non-steriotypical kids. There is not a one-size fits all. I had huge success with the kids I taught and I am very excited about this development.
6/08/2012 6:45:54 p.m.
I got a teaching diploma in the 90's. It was a complete waste of time. I've never held a teaching job and now it would seem, I don't even need a diploma to teach anyway.
5/08/2012 2:22:46 p.m.
If John Banks & co think they have a solution to under-achieving kids, why don't they use their magic wand in all schools rather than trying to reinvent the wheel with charter schools. This has nothing at all to do with kids, it has everything to do with ACT/National ideology.
4/08/2012 8:33:06 p.m.
Disgraceful that Key and Banks can use disadvantaged children to bring this business venture in to NZ. Private businesses using tax payer money to fund their charter schools whilst making profits. I do not believe for a second that Banks cares one iota for the under-achieving kids in our schools.
4/08/2012 3:02:15 p.m.
This is extremely disingenuous. Should someone like Willie Apiata wish to spend time in a school somewhere, they actually already have the chance to do that. There are thousands of parents and others from the community who do exactly that. Trying to sell this as a way to justify the unregistered teachers is ridiculous.
4/08/2012 10:54:44 a.m.
Fair NZer wrote:
Hopefully some NZ role models will care for the upbringings for our long neglected children before it is too late again...
3/08/2012 2:29:25 p.m.
When Ms Parata and others say that NZ's world class education system is failing one in five students (for whom she says it is 'hopeless'), she is saying that 20% of students leave school without gaining NCEA Level 2. To translate, the govt now says you are illiterate/ a school failure/ a hopeless case if you leave school without the equivalent of what used to be called UE, or at least 6th Form Certificate. And because of mainstreaming of students of all abilities, these statistics include all students. Not everyone will achieve at this level, but it doesn't mean they are failures, nor that they are illiterate. Creating and naming perceived failure, to then offer a 'solution', should stay within the field of advertising, where at least the general public can recognize it as propaganda for peddling one's wares/snake oil fix-alls.
3/08/2012 12:29:20 p.m.
So unqualified teachers can succeed where qualified teachers can't. Ok, how about unqualified doctors, unqualified accountants, unqualified drivers? Maybe we should just get rid of the whole qualifications system and go back to the jungle. Great thinking from John "got amnesia again" Banks and his mate John "sell the country" Key.
3/08/2012 12:07:20 p.m.
People don't seem to realise schools presently can use unlicenced teachers. If a school can't find a qualified teacher for a subject they can use an unlicenced person. But that person can only teach at that school.
In some of the technology areas would you prefer students been taught by someone fresh from University with only 6 weeks technology training. Or would they better be served by someone who has taught apprentices trade skills for the last 20 - 30 years.
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