I came away from the opening (of Te Kura Maori o Waatea – a Mangere based Kura Hourua) thinking if there are members of a community who believe their children will be better served by a school that specifically addresses their educational needs than the current one on offer, then they should be supported in establishing such a school.
The majority of New Zealand parents are probably happy with the current education system and the educational outcomes for their children.
An increasing number of Maori and Pasifika families are not. They know charter schools were established to focus on priority learners: Maori, Pasifika, students from low socio-economic backgrounds and learners with special education needs.
And they have seen the spectacular success of the schools so far. Most are performing well above national averages and some are above the rest of the country, in particular in results for Maori students.
I am told by the principal of a charter school they are accountable for academic results and for upholding the promises made in their charter.
Who has been held accountable for the abysmal academic results of Maori and Pasifika children over the past decades?
For the students, the priority learners, charter schools are successful. That’s why Māori leaders in particular are not happy.
Sir Toby Curtis, a member of the Partnership Schools Authorisation Board, is spot-on when he said recently, “This Government has decided to do things ‘for’ us, rather than let Māori do things for ourselves. I’ve seen this happen countless times. I’ve watched billions being spent on government and NGO initiatives designed to fix our problems. But things keep getting worse.”
History repeating itself once again. At the expense of priority learners, those who can least afford it.