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Charter application skew assists rich American

The Government has skewed the latest round of charter school applications to assist an American millionaire’s goal of ‘revolutionising” New Zealand’s education system, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

ACT Leader David Seymour and Ngāi Tahu’s Sir Mark Solomon in January visited charter schools in the United States set up by the Hong-Kong based businessman Marc Holtzman based around science, technology, engineering and maths.

“It is no coincidence that last month the Government indicated a preference for schools that have a focus on those specific subjects.

“Marc Holtzman has claimed he wants to lead an education ‘revolution’ in New Zealand, which sounds awfully like him wanting to experiment with our kids.

“It now looks as if the Government may have bought into his idea and rolled out the red carpet.

“Charter schools have already proven disastrous for some of our kids and the latest round appears to be taking charter schools in an entirely different direction from the Government’s previous assurances.

“Hekia Parata and John Key originally said these schools were to help struggling students, not to radically reshape our education system.

“The Government must now assure the public that our children will not be guinea pigs for this wealthy American.

“New Zealand already has a world-class education system. We don’t need that being pulled apart by further experimental charter schools which are getting up to five times the funding of state schools,” Chris Hipkins says.