The phrase "You can put lipstick on a pig, but its still a pig" springs to mind with the announcement that the New Zealand version of charter schools will now be called Partnership schools or Kura Hourua.
Associate Professor Peter O'Connor of the University of Auckland says the rebranding exercise clearly demonstrates the government has recognised that the charter school concept is political poison.
One of the key features announced today was that New Zealand charter schools would be able to employ unqualified and untrained teachers. Dr. Oconnor says that the Minister of Education, having spent the majority of this year saying she was intent on lifting student achievement by lifting the quality of teachers and teaching, now has to justify the hypocrisy of introducing legislation that allows unqualified and untrained teachers to work with the most disadvantaged children in our society.
Charter schools will continue to be a hard sell for this government, and a simple rebranding exercise won't make it any easier.
Associate Professor Peter O'Connor, The Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland
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