Monday, March 26, 2007

The Longest Day

March 26, 2007

Today's NY Times has an article about schools implementing a longer day.

A longer day can only be implemented with very high labor charges. Thus the attacks on teacher unions nationwide where ever the corporate model is implemented. (The few people from the Leadership Academy who will talk say that is one of the major components of the training.)

The "heroic sacrificing teacher" is the model. They must be fairly young without families to go home to in order to put in 12 hour days. (Teachers with young children with long commutes are especially vulnerable and I bet when they apply for jobs these factors enter into decisions to hire them, though hidden, of course.)

Low salaries are a factor. Get rid of higher priced teachers and you can get 2 for 1. Thus the idea behind the school budgeting plan, the first step of which was to get a compliant UFT to agree to end seniority rights for teacher transfers, a bogus issue all along since so relatively few really took advantage of it. The open market plan strikes fear and loathing into any teacher who reaches a decent salary.

Behind it is the idea to use Professional Development (outsourced where possible of course) to train a new teacher corps when each group burns out or just gets tired of working the long hours and days. Teacher turnover is not something to worry about if schools are factories and teachers are easily replacable.

Schools like KIPP are a model and one should check their turnover rate and that at charter schools.

A report from Eva Moskowitz' charter school (Harlem Success) in Inside Schools:
A teacher at the school writes that in the four months since the school opened, four teachers and the assistant principal have left the school. "There is no full time staff with special education training despite the attendance of students with IEPs," writes the teacher. "Not all teachers are certified or have prior teaching experience." (November 2006)

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