I bet you they will be popular

Kate Chapman at Stuff reports:

The first are expected to open in term one next year after the legislation passed its final hurdle in Parliament on Tuesday night.

Excellent. But of course they will only open, if parents choose to send their kids there. Unlike other (state) schools they have no zones. No parent will have to send their kids there because no other school will take them. Parents will only send their kids there if they think it will provide a better eductaional outcome for their children.

I welcome parents having that choice.

There have already been 35 applications to run charter schools, with successful applicants due to be announced soon.

The evidence from overseas is very clear. In some areas, charter schools have made a significant, or even more than significant, improvement in the learning results of their students. But also in some areas, they have not. A charter school is not a magic bullet.

What will determine success is the rigor of the contract with the Ministry of Education, and the quality of the successful applicants.

My hope is that once they have been established and operating, we’ll judge them on their actual results. An evidence based approach to the issue is what I seek. If a charter school does not meet the (bulk of the) targets it agrees to and students are not doing well with them – then they should face having to change or close down. But that will be decisions based on individual schools and how they go.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said students were being “exploited and experimented on” by Banks and his “mad ACT policies”.

Mad? To give parents choice?Again, no parent is forced to send their children to a charter school, unlike the local state school.

What I am looking forward to is being able to evaluate at the end of 2014 how each individual charter school has done.

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