I have much sympathy for freedom of choice in education but not at the expense of religious and racial intolerance so it's good to see Destiny does not meet the criteria for state funding.
Destiny Church's failed attempt to set up a charter school was blocked in part because of Ministry of Education fears about students being pressured into joining the church.
The ministry found serious shortcomings with Destiny's application, revealed for the first time in documents released to the Herald on Sunday.
The ministry discovered irregularities between Destiny's claim that they were open to non-church members, as school-goers were also expected to attend the church.
In a stinging debrief delivered to church elders, the ministry wrote: "[Destiny] say they currently have an open enrolment process, but the ministry could not reconcile this with an apparent expectation that learners will attend church."
And it found the fraction of Destiny School students who weren't already church members, joined soon after they began at the school.
This scares the hell out of the all powerful teachers unions and an education system based on social engineering. This is how Rodney Hide put it recently.
But schools are different. Here we have never known choice and competition. Our schools are run like the Soviet economy. The Ministry of Education is our Kremlin.
It’s North Korea versus South Korea. East Berlin compared to West. Our education system is walled in, hermetically sealed. There is no choice, no accountability and no competition.
At stake? The stultifying, mind-numbing, child-crushing edifice that is state education. The state’s dead-hand has stifled innovation, sunk achievement, killed education success and condemned generations to a life barely schooled solely to concentrate power into the hands of the few.
There have always been religious schools in New Zealand but they are mostly private schools where choice is paid for by parents. I guess it’s open to Destiny to ‘go it alone’ like other schools where religious education forms a fundamental part of the curriculum. It is the right decision to disallow state funding for fanatical religions like Destiny and I hope the same would go for Muslim schools. The UK experience of Muslim schools being used as hotbeds of fundamentalist fanaticism should not be repeated here.
Similarly there are great dangers in funding race based schools and I have deep concerns about tribal schools for similar reasons. I hope the safeguards are similarly robust in not allowing racial hatred or racial segregation to be preached in race based schools.
There are dangers all around for young minds. If the State system perpetuates social engineering, the private system can be accused of perpetuating religious and racial fanaticism.
It’s such a shame that it seems impossible now to get back to basics. Every international study has shown that it’s not class size, or ideology that leads to higher achievement in education. It’s teachers that matter. Good teachers are as rare as hen’s teeth. They are as likely to be found in the home as in the schools because teacher training is infected with the same social engineering as schools.
Is it any wonder then that after decades of ‘comprehensive’ schools, dumbing down, and businesses so exasperated at receiving school leavers who can barely read and write that they refuse to employ them that there is a mood for change. Here it’s Charter Schools. In the UK it is increasing calls to bring back Grammar Schools.
As always I lean on the side of freedom of choice. There is already envy from state schools at the success of their Partnership School neighbour. May Partnership Schools flourish, but only as long as they don’t become hotbeds of religious and racial intolerance.