Who’ll Get the Nod? You Just Wait and See.

When I’m teaching I like to use thinking tools to get my kids out of their comfort zone and cranking out ideas and thoughts they never expect they’d have.

A great way to do this is to get them making a prediction or hypothesis about what they think could happen in certain situations.

What would happen if there was no gravity? How could we generate free power? If you could be anything, what could you be?

So I thought I’d get my own thinking tools out and make a bit of a prediction myself – a prediction about charter schools.

You may, or may not, be aware that the Education Amendment Bill is making its way slowly through parliament. The numbers are pretty safe for the government to get their wish and create these private schools paid for with public money (and not subject to the usual rigors of public service scrutiny).

The government is planning to set up two of these private public schools. One in Auckland and another in Christchurch.

The big claim is that they will lift achievement for our most vulnerable – the alleged 20% of kids who leave school and go straight to prison, or whatever they’re saying this week.

There are two permits up for grabs. Who will they go to? Here’s my prediction.

One school will be awarded to an Iwi group or an urban Maori authority such as the Waipareira Trust. This will help shore up the support of the (almost extinct) Maori Party. They continue to fall for the charter schools sales pitch.

Remember in this age of PR soundbites, image is everything and if you are selling your schools as catering to the most vulnerable, it would be very silly not to have a charter school filled with the right kind of kids.

Who will they award the other school to? Well it won’t be awarded to a group dealing with Pacific Island education because they don’t have three votes to pass the legislation into law.

No, the other school will be awarded to an international educational corporation, such as K.I.P.P. but not necessarily that company. It is this type of company that the proponents of charter schools will really want to see running them in this country.

After all, charter schools are not about education. They are about corporates getting access to the $16 billion we spend each year on public education. The ‘most vulnerable’ argument is only a way to sell a policy that, when it is looked into in any great depth, is outrageous and will not deliver what is claimed.

So in summary: There’ll be one Maori charter school and another corporate charter school.

That’s my prediction. You just wait and see.

Mr B

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