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Charter schools push against process - NZEI

Thursday 7 Mar 2013 7:54 a.m.

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The application process for potential charter school operators has opened - even though a Parliamentary select committee is yet to report back on the contentious government policy.

The Ministry of Education launched a request for applications from potential sponsors for the "partnership" schools, and a draft agreement for sponsors, on Tuesday.

The newly-established Charters Schools Authorisation Board, chaired by charter school working group chairwoman and former ACT president Catherine Isaac, will review the applications and provide advice to the Minister of Education on which ones should be considered for contract negotiations.

Applications close on April 16.

However, the Ministry of Education says no final decisions will be made, or contracts entered into, until the Education Amendment Bill is passed.

That is still some time away, with parliament's education select committee due to report back on the legislation by April 18, before it has its next two readings in Parliament.

The ministry says subject to the legislation passing, contracts are expected to be in place by the middle of this year, with a view to opening schools in 2014.

Once the schools are established, the authorisation board will review of each school's progress against agreed performance targets.

Teachers' union NZEI says the Government is showing "breath-taking arrogance" and ignoring Parliamentary process in calling for applications before the legislation has passed.

National secretary Paul Goulter says it shows the government is desperate to foist the "dangerous" schooling system on Kiwi pupils.

"The Government seems determined to get these discredited charter schools into New Zealand."

Charter schools - part of the support agreement between National and ACT - will be able to be set up by businesses, community organisations, churches or a consortium.

They will be able to set their own curriculum, don't have to employ registered teachers and can have their own term dates.


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