We <3 chch #eqnz

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?

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3 thoughts on “We <3 chch #eqnz

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  1. Hi Stephanie,
    Yet again you provide a great insight into the ‘current affairs’ of teaching in NZ. All through my training I have been hearing that teaching is a political act in NZ – and more and more I see the truth in it.
    I’m Christchurch born and raised and looking for my 1st teaching position as a PRT right now – and the excitement has slowly been drowned by building anxiety over the state of Christchurch’s education sector.
    One aspect of the release yesterday that concerns me (amongst others I assure you!) is the state of the Eastern suburbs going forward. I grew up in the East and attended Wainoni Primary,a school now listed as a merger with 4 others into what will effectively be an area school – and the only school available to families living in the Aranui school cluster (I believe that going forward this cluster boundary will become the new zone boundary for the new Y1-13 Aranui area school). This is exactly the location suggested for the experiemental charter school in Chch. I imagine that this is no coincidence and from 2014 parents will have the choice of the public area school, or the charter school, or moving into a different school zone (which may simply not be an option as housing costs in Chch are rising out of the reach of average-income families as it is, without school zones becoming even more influential). I have no beef with area schools – but question the ethics of creating one in the lowest socio-economic suburbs of a metropolitan area (possibly freeing up nice patches of MoE land in the process to sell to potential charter schools – maybe?)
    I have no doubt there is much more to come on this particular topic in future.
    Kāti ake nei, hei konā mai i roto i ngā mihi

    Like

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