The Government's push to phase out charter schools is being described as "heart-breaking" and a "massacre of opportunity", ahead of a Member's Bill that will have its first reading next week.
Labour's Education Minister Chris Hipkins introduced the Bill in Parliament on Thursday, and if passed it will bring an end to the controversial alternative education system seven years after its introduction by the National Party.
The New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) says charter schools have proven to have been an expensive, but ultimately failed, experiment.
- Labour won't close my charter school - Willie Jackson
- Are charter schools making the grade?
- Labour reveals its $4 billion education plan
"They didn't work - that was fundamentally the issue," NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter told RadioLIVE's First at Five.
"It was, in our view, a dangerous diversion away from the need to lift our whole public education system."
If it passes through Parliament, the new legislation will get rid of the schools but will allow some to continue on a case-by-case basis.
ACT leader David Seymour, the architect behind the previous Government's partnership school programme, says it will ruin the education system.
"It's a massacre of opportunity for kids who weren't doing well in the state system," he explained.
"The Government's saying, 'Well kids, sorry you like this opportunity, but we're sending you right back to the schools you chose to leave'."
He says the changes will leave the children affected heartbroken.
"If you're a student who has actively chosen to go to a school because it gives you a better opportunity, and the Government takes that away for petty, ideological, utu reasons, you'd be pretty upset," he said.
Alwyn Poole, academic advisor for Villa Education Trust, which operates three charter schools in Auckland, says he feels blind-sided by the Government's decision.
"The first few weeks after the election, Jacinda Ardern in the house promised an easy transition," he told The AM Show on Friday morning.
"Hipkins has promised an easy transition for a long time, so his operation yesterday in throwing out that 'if you don't close, we'll close you for you', was a huge surprise."
The Bill will also scrap national standards, which were introduced by the National government.