The National government are throwing good money after bad with their decision to pump even more funding into their failed charter school experiment, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“There are already major problems with several of the first charter schools that haven’t been addressed. Why on earth plough ahead with opening more schools when there have been so many problems with the ones already operating?
The troubled Whangaruru charter school asked Hekia Parata for $25,000 to fence the school farm at the expense of spending on teaching, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“This unbelievable revelation comes hard on the heels of Hekia Parata’s decision to ignore a damning audit, overrule her officials and spend another $129,000 dollars on the school. The audit listed a catalogue of wasteful failures at Whangaruru which is costing five times as much per pupil as state schools.
Hekia Parata’s decision to keep troubled Whangaruru Charter school open despite being presented with a catalogue of failure defies belief, goes against official advice and breaks a Government promise to close these schools if they were failing, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
“Both Hekia Parata and the Prime Minister John Key have said that if charter schools fail they will not remain open. A damning audit of the Whangaruru school has found there were grounds for closure but the Minister has ignored this and overruled her own officials advice.
The National Government’s charter school experiment has descended into chaos and it’s time for Hekia Parata to stop trying to cover up the full extent of the problems, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“The Education Minister must release all of the information about charter schools she has been sitting on for months.
A botched Government contract has allowed an Auckland charter school to double dip by getting funding for students it has accommodated for free, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“Information received by Labour through written Parliamentary questions show the Ministry of Education failed to check whether the Villa Education Trust had enough room to house the 160 students it is being funded for at the new Middle School West Auckland.
Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“New Zealand school students are already amongst the most tested kids in the world. We don’t need more assessment to tell us who the kids are that are falling behind. What we need is more targeted support so that they can catch up.
At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“Recently released financial statements show the Whangarei charter school He Puna Marama received $3.9 million in government funding to the end of last year. Yet their audited accounts show they only spent $1.4 million on education, leaving almost $2.5 million over two years unaccounted for.
Student learning will suffer and parents will be asked to fork out even more for their children’s education because of National’s underfunding of education in this year’s Budget, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
“A survey of principals found cash-strapped schools have had to stop classroom activities, cancel field trips and drop some courses. One school even had to ask the Qualifications Authority for special permission to alter its assessment requirements so its students wouldn’t fail NCEA.