John Banks gives two-fingered salute to parliament

John Banks gives two-fingered salute to parliament with charter school board appointments

Act Party leader and Associate Education Minister John Banks has given a two-fingered salute to parliament with his premature appointment of the government’s new charter school authorisation board.

He is arrogantly undermining the authority of parliament itself which has yet to pass the enabling legislation to even allow these publicly-funded, privately-operated schools to operate.

Act Party appointment to the Charter School Working Group Catherine Isaacs did a similar thing before Xmas when she called for expressions of interest from those wanting to run charter schools – before parliament had heard a single submission on the charter school proposal.

In typical fashion Banks is also setting up charter schools to be an unaccountable success by making it clear the new Board “…will have a role in the regular review and monitoring of their [charter schools] performance to ensure agreed targets are achieved.

So the same Board that approves school applications will monitor their success. This creates an obvious conflict of interest as those who approve applications will typically be the last to admit failure.

Banks waited till public submissions on the bill ended before making his announcement to avoid criticism of his appointments – none of whom have a track record of improving schooling outcomes for children from low-income communities.

And yet these children are the very group which Act says will be the focus of charter schools.

This is not about improving education for Maori, Pacifika or children from low income communities. Instead these are political appointments to drive a political policy which uses some of our most vulnerable students as guinea pigs for an experiment which has already been an epic fail every country it has been implemented.

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