Lots of time for unions, virtually none for Charter Schools

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Perhaps unsurprising, but definitely disappointing, is that Education Minister Chris Hipkins has made plenty of time in his ministerial diary to meet with education unions, but virtually none to meet with, or visit, Charter Schools.

The exception to this being when Hipkins spoke at Waitangi with representatives of He Puna Mārana Trust, the sponsor of two Charter Schools whose connections to Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis have been the subject of Parliamentary scrutiny.

It makes perfect sense for a new Minister of Education to meet with two of the largest representative groups in the sector for which he's responsible for. Three times in your first seven weeks as Minister is probably reasonable too as you get to grips with the issues in your portfolio

But it also makes sense for the Minister to at least have made an effort to engage with Charter Schools too other than his edict that they either submit (in good faith of course) to the Ministry of Education gutting what's made them so successful, or he'll use his powers as Minister to tear up their contracts.

These schools are benefiting 1,000 students, some of them amongst New Zealand's most vulnerable kids, and are turning around lives thanks to the innovative approach that's only possible due to the freedom afforded to them.

You'd think that before writing off these schools and their operating model due to little more than narrow-minded and ideologically driven Labour Party policy, the Minister owes it to the students, their parents, and the teachers of these schools whose lives he's about to turn upside down, to have at least made an effort to meet or visit them as Minister. Especially when, as Hipkins recently announced, that the government is going to be undertaking a significant review of the education sector.

Of course for Hipkins it's much easier to threaten Charter Schools with closure if you don't have to come face-to-face with the families whose lives you're going to throw into turmoil. Given how often the then Labour opposition demanded this of the previous National Government, it seems like they're firmly on track to be guilty of the same behaviour.

You can read the full OIA I received from Hipkins below.