I almost missed the big announcement yesterday about the future of Christchurch schooling in the rush to make my plane to Auckland for a day of PRT release and #padcampakl.
But having seen the reports, I feel nothing but sympathy for my colleagues down south.
I remember how horrible it felt in May when my school, like most intermediate schools up and down the country, was looking down the barrel of a loss of 3-4 teaching positions. I can’t even begin to imagine the effect of closing entire schools would have on the communities of Christchurch. My heart goes out to the families and in particular the teachers looking at redundancy in what is a very tight job market.
But there is one thing I just don’t understand.
How can a city in which so many public schools be told that they either need to merge or shut down due to a lack of students and resources does the government then see fit to launch charter schools in the area?
If rationalisation is needed why then go ahead with a plan that would see funding diverted away from existing schools in order to build new ones?
That just doesn’t make sense.
New Zealand has a strong history of sending their children to public schools. At present something like 85% of students attend our state schools which are run by their local communities.
It is worth pointing out the public heard nearly nothing of charter schools until after the election. Now the large-scale closure and merger of schools in Christchurch should surely be getting people wondering.
Is Christchurch, like New Orleans post-Katrina, about to become the an unwilling subject in an unfortunate educational experiment?