Press Release – Tertiary Education Union
New Zealand’s public universities are letting big business and overseas political lobbyists dupe them into endorsing bad education policy, says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.
The universities of Auckland, Victoria, and Canterbury are all holding public meetings this week where USA charter schools proponent Mike Feinberg will get a platform to argue his case for charter schools. His trip is funded by the New Zealand Initiative (a recent merger of right-wing lobby groups the Business Round Table and the New Zealand Institute) and the Aotearoa Foundation, which is a New Zealand offshoot of a religious US philanthropy organisation that gives money to organisations that ‘promote reform of public education’.
“Universities are places of free speech and we welcome Mike Feinberg sharing his views,” said Sharn Riggs. “However, those same universities also need to weigh their duty as critic and conscience of society. They should not allow lobby groups with political objectives that have been widely discounted by the majority of New Zealand’s education academics to trade on the reputation of our public universities.”
“We would like to see these three universities making it clear that Mr. Feinberg’s views are those of political lobbying organisations, not New Zealand universities’ schools and faculties of education. He does not deserve credibility from our public education system, which he has not yet earned.”