Will our PM visit a Charter school?

I have just finished watching National leader Bill English ask PM Jacinda Ardern if she stands by all of her Government’s policies. As he drilled down into more specific questions he asked her if she would visit at least one Partnership school and talk to the students about their experiences and their views on whether their school should be closed. Incredibly Ardern refused to give a straight answer to what is a very simple question.

He asked many times and she avoided a direct answer every time. She just repeats her previous replies.

[…] Rt Hon Bill English: Will the Prime Minister visit at least one partnership school and talk to the students about their experience and their views on whether their school should be closed?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: One thing I will say is that it’s this Government’s ambition to make every school the best school it can be, and there are a range of schools doing a fantastic job, and, actually, all they’ve asked for is that those schools who the Government gave special treatment to be treated equally. That means curriculum, that means having qualified teachers, and it means the same level of funding. There is a pathway forward for them and we’re working with them.

But will she visit at least one Partnership school?

Rt Hon Bill English: If the Prime Minister’s policy is that everyone be treated equally, what does she have to say to those students who believe that by going to one of these schools they’re actually doing a lot better than at the school where they were treated equally?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: They can continue on in those schools, if those schools are willing to teach the curriculum and have—[Interruption] I’d really be interested in what the Opposition’s opposition to having registered and qualified teachers actually is.

Rt Hon Bill English: If she believes that “children are at the heart of everything we do”, why won’t she visit a partnership school and ask the children at the school for their views before she proceeds to close their schools?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As I’ve said, we’re not focused on closure; we’re focused on giving them options to make sure that if they continue to teach the curriculum and have registered and qualified teachers, there is a pathway for them to remain open. I’d be very interested to hear why the Opposition believes that having registered and qualified teachers is such a barrier to good education.

Ardern’s responses while avoiding answering English’s original question give the impression that (bumper sticker slogan alert) there will be a “pathway” for Charter schools but as my post at 5.30pm will show she is using weasel words to hide the reality of the situation.

Rt Hon Bill English: Why can’t the Prime Minister of New Zealand answer a simple question: will she visit a partnership school and speak to the children about their views about their school? Why can’t she answer that question?

[…] Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: My objection is that the member is implying that we’re closing those schools rather than working alongside them to transition them away from that old, failed model into a model that simply asks that they teach the curriculum and that they have registered teachers. I have to say, it’s purely—from the students’ perspective, that’s purely administrative; purely administrative.

Rt Hon Bill English: Will the Prime Minister visit a partnership school and speak to the students to ascertain their views about their school?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Again, the implication that I’ve never in my life met a child who hasn’t been to a partnership school is wrong.

No one was implying that she has never met a child who hasn’t been to a partnership school because a child who hasn’t been to a partnership school is a state school student and it is common knowledge that she has visited a number of State schools.

[…] Hon Nikki Kaye: Will the Prime Minister guarantee that all partnership schools with contracts will remain open if they meet the three criteria that she just mentioned: registered teachers, following the curriculum, and comparable funding?

Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: As our Minister of Education has said, that’s a process he’s going through as we speak.[…]

A yes or no would be nice. The fact that she is unable to answer yes reveals that her weasel words about transition, pathways and not focussing on closure mean very little.

Is it just me or do you get the impression that our PM doesn’t want to visit a charter school because she doesn’t want to hear how important they are to the students? Could it be that she is driven solely by socialist ideology ie the teacher’s unions?

-parliament.nz


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