The Government plans to close a successful all-Māori charter school while its officials say serious action is required to lift Māori achievement.
The Ministry of Education has told the Government that a bold step is needed to improve Māori educational results by tackling unconscious bias in the state education system.
“This advice comes a day after it was revealed that a charter school with a 100 per cent Māori roll ranked in the top two schools in Northland for University Entrance results”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The fact that the Government is scrapping a successful Māori charter school while it is being given such sobering advice is a complete disgrace.
“The final Martin Jenkins report on charter schools show they are strongly focused on disadvantaged kids with complex needs. Almost half of charter school students are Māori. Before attending charter schools, many students were transient, disengaged, with poor academic histories and complex socio-economic needs. They often lacked positive aspirations and role models.
“Student engagement has significantly improved. Stand-downs and length of suspensions are lower. Students give positive feedback. Whānau feel more involved and more confident communicating with schools. Very few learners are opting out.
“The Government is attacking the very people who voted for them.
“The Prime Minister said she would put ‘kids at the heart of everything this Government does’. Clearly that doesn’t apply to 1500 disadvantaged kids at charter schools who’d find success and a love of learning.
“The decision to close charter schools goes against everything Jacinda Ardern says she stands for and will irreparably tarnish her brand”, says Mr Seymour.