31 August 2016 MEDIA STATEMENT
Taxpayer funds set aside to establish a charter school in Napier targeting male Maori students would be put to far better use invested in existing Maori special character schools in the region, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.
“I support any initiative that leads to better educational achievement for Maori young men, but I have serious doubts whether an experimental charter school will deliver those outcomes.
“We should be investing in the existing Maori special character schools we have here in Hawke’s Bay – Te Aute, Hukarere and St Joseph’s – not throwing taxpayer money at an educational model that was cooked up as part of a deal between National and ACT.
“Charter schools divert resources away from the vast majority of kids attending public schools and we’ve already seen one charter school close after only two years of operation.
“In fact, the latest information we’ve received from the Ministry of Education shows four of eight charter schools have failed to comply with their contracts in some areas and seven are not meeting part of their performance standards, with many of them down on their guaranteed roll numbers.
“We just don’t need charter schools here in Napier.
“Labour has a policy of placing a dedicated careers advisor in every high school to work one on one with each student to develop a personalised career plan. This policy ties in with our Dole for Apprenticeships scheme, which would see employers paid to take on an apprentice who might be light on experience but heavy on potential.
“These are the kinds of considered solutions which will help young people who learn in different ways, not failed experiments like charter schools,” says Meka Whaitiri.