Charter school politics behind creationism teaching claim

charter schools

A former student of Mount Hobson Middle School, a partnership (charter) school, claims that his science teacher Rachel O’Connor favoured creationism as an explanation for how the world began.

Rachel O’Connor is the sister of National Party leader Simon Bridges and wife of National MP Simon O’Connor.

This news item appeared on Newsroom two days after the opposition National Party had concluded its annual conference at which Bridges made his debut as leader of the party.

In his opening remarks at the conference, Bridges said he supported charter schools and that if elected his party would reinstate partnership schools within one year of returning to office.

Chris Hipkins, the minister of education in the labour-led governing coalition, earlier this year announced all charter schools would have to close by the end of this year unless they succeeded in joining the state system.

In a DomPost OpEd on Thursday, Philip Matthews said: “Family members’ personal religious beliefs should also be off limits.”

The editorial also noted that: “The story also appears to play on knee-jerk anti-Christian prejudice.”

The piece on NewsRoom reported that a group of Villa Education Trust students opened National’s weekend conference by singing Hallelujah.

“This might give readers the impression of religious fanaticism, except it turns out that it was Leonard Cohen’s very worldly Hallelujah” said Matthews.

Villa Education Trust runs two charter schools, one of them being Mount Hobson Middle School.

The University of Auckland’s head of physics, Professor Richard Easther, told Newsroom he thought any organisation presenting a video like the one shown to the science class at Mount Hobson Middle School has real problems with its expertise and integrity.

In his view, the problems are big enough “to preclude it from running any school, especially if they are receiving public funds to do so.”


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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