Are Charter Schools Opening The “Floodgates”?

charter schoolsIn an attempt to help the poorer parts of New Zealand, Auckland and Christchurch, New Zealand’s two political parties agreed to the set up of charter schools as part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement the two parties hammer out after each election. The result of the agreement, along with a move announced on New Year’s Eve by Destiny Church founder Brian Tamaki has many in traditional education more than a little nervous.

That is because, with the advent of charter schools, private companies, not for profit and religious groups could apply for government funding and compete with the traditional government funded schools. These not for profit religious groups would include a private school now being run by Destiny Church who announced on New Year’s a plan to build a university and move it’s private school to Wiri, Auckland at the end of the year.

Destiny’s church, which many in the media have labeled as a cult, is a multicultural, predominately Māori, and Polynesian Pentecostal fundamentalist Christian movement headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand. The church, led by Māorian Brian Tamaki say it wages war on an “evil” Government and a “radical homosexual agenda”. The patriarchal oriented church recently held a gathering of 700 men who pledged an oath of allegiance to Tamaki and made him Bishop of the church. Tamaki, who has been criticized by the media for his elaborate lifestyle, predicted Destiny Church would be “ruling the nation” within five years.

The possibility of government funding going to Destiny church has prompted Tertiary Education Union President Dr Sandra Grey to send out a press release saying the government must ensure Destiny University does not open the door for other foreign universities similar to Destiny church coming to New Zealand looking for public funding.

She says an education from Destiny Church is not what New Zealanders expect from a university. She predicted most Kiwis would not be tempted to attend Destiny’s university because of Tamaki’s reputation. Her concern, however, is that the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) now being negotiated with NZ and 8 other countries, including the U.S., will help open the door for other less than legitimate universities from foreign countries seeking government funding from New Zealand.

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations alluded to by Dr. Grey has many New Zealanders nervous on many other fronts, and not just education. Critics have accused the Government of not being transparent on issues and fear that the agreement will give foreign countries more rights to invest in and have control of New Zealand’s interests.

In answer to critics of the charter school issue, NZ Education Minister Hekia Parata says she had already been “accosted” by those wanting to signup even though the Government has yet to release details of a charter school plan.

In answer to critics, Tamaki says his church teaches values that build families instead of breaking them down. He says it is better to build churches than prisons, which he says is where many Māorian people are.

About The Author
Patti Hale is a freelance writer who spends her time writing for various blogs, including Career Training Base. One of her most popular articles is about Apprenticeship Programs.

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