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Source: ACT Party

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Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin should publicly apologise to charter schools and students over her outrageous comments during a debate on the Education Amendment Bill, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Referring to charter schools during the debate, Martin said that ‘…some of us wouldn’t put our dog in them.’

“Martin – who is the Minister for Children – also decided to bring National MP Nicola Willis’ family into the debate by claiming Willis wouldn’t send her children to a charter school.

“Martin clearly hasn’t bothered to read the final report on charter schools from independent consultants MartinJenkins which cut through the spin and painted a glowing picture of the model.

“That report said the schools are strongly focused on disadvantaged kids with complex needs and meeting learners’ needs using innovative practices and high-quality standards. The schools had significantly improved student and whanau engagement.

“An email to Martin from Villa Education Trust – which operates two charter schools – said families and students would be ‘repulsed’ by the comments.

“Despite repeated requests, Martin has never visited the two schools. She has chosen to make ignorant comments from afar.

“Unlike Tracey Martin, I have visited every charter school. The Education Review Office inspected every charter school before they opened.

“Charter schools have attracted students who have been underserved by the state system and have produced amazing results.

“For example, Te Kapehu Whetu, a charter school with a 100 per cent Māori roll, ranks in the top two schools in Northland for UE results.

“Martin’s comments are even more bizarre given that recent polling shows the group of voters most in favour of charter schools are NZ First supporters.

“She should immediately and publicly apologise to students, parents, teachers, and administrators involved with charter schools.”