Sunday, March 18, 2018

The Charter School Horrors

Some teachers, having bought the hype, enter teaching in a charter with exuberance. Think of the joy of a hot shower. Early on you are in ecstasy. And very soon, the horror begins. Read the horror stories coming out of charter schools. The music is eerily familiar.

Here are some posts of interest.

A teacher quits a charter school as posted by posted at Schools Matter

Florina Rodov: The Truth About Charter Schools

“[W]hen teachers aren’t unionized, they’re exploited — and when teachers suffer, so do kids.” — Florina Rodov
This amazing piece by Florina Rodov on Shondaland is a must read. Taking place at one of the seedy charter corporations here in Los Angeles, the story Rodov tells is all too familiar to all of us that are anti-privatization activists. Much of the mistreatment of faculty and students mirrors the accounts in Professor Horn's Work Hard, Be Hard: Journeys Through "No Excuses" Teaching. Hat tip to Leonie Haimson, whose Tweet regarding this essay caught my eye... posted at at Schools Matter

Another teacher quits Noble charter in Chicago on March 1.
I left Noble because I could no longer stomach feeling unvalued and untrusted by the administration and the network, and hampered in my ability to provide an environment in which my students could thrive.

Noble needs a Union because teachers need to feel respected, valued and trusted in the work that they do. Leadership and education are collaborative endeavors, and they require trust and respect on each side. The policies that Noble enforces on its staff, students, and communities are not equitable because they do not represent the voices of those populations in a meaningful, substantive, or concrete way. Noble designed and implemented a payscale without transparency or formal outlets for staff input, and as a result it does not adequately account for teacher experience or equally recognize the work of our paras, facilities workers, office staff, or culture team. My experience, though potentially an outlier because of credentials, is surely not an anomaly in the dismissive manner which Noble treats much of its staff and their service to our kids. Noble constantly demands that teachers are to trust their administrators, yet they fail to show us that trust in return. A union would allow teacher and staff voices to be heard, teacher autonomy to be respected, and teacher expertise to be valued. Without those things, your network will continue to be a revolving door for educators and the students will suffer the most for it. 
The Facts About NJ Charter Schools, Part I: Prelude 


Renegade Teacher: Online Charter Schools Are a Fraud and a Scam

by dianeravitch
Renegade Teacher hast taught in both public schools and charter schools in Detroit. He writes here about the highly profitable fraud of online charter schools. Among their most prominent supporters are Betsy DeVos (who invested in them, and now advocates for them) and Jeb Bush, who relentlessly promotes online learning.
From his own experience as a teacher, he saw what online learning lacks: human relationships between students and teachers and between peers. It is soul-deadening.
“Online education in the K-12 sphere is a growing trend- as of 2015, there were some 275,000 students enrolled in online charter schools. In my home state of Michigan, from 2010 to 2014, the number of students in Online Charter Schools increased from 718 students to 7,934 students (over 1000% increase).
“Private, for-profit companies (using public funds) are cashing in- the two largest online charter companies, K12 and Connections Academy, are raking in an estimated $1 billion per year (as of 2014). The motive is profit over substance: less operating costs, less teachers, and less building maintenance.
“The results have been damning: according a study from the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CREDO), students in online charters lost an average of about 72 days of learning in reading and 180 days of learning in math IN THE COURSE OF AN 180-DAY SCHOOL YEAR. They could have had equal math progress if they had spent the entire year asleep.
“In Philadelphia, a system composed of mainly poverty-stricken Black and Latinx students, online schools educated more than one-third of students as of 2014 [1]. The kicker is that, between 2011 and 2014, 100% of those students failed their state achievement tests. 100%!!! [2].”
The biggest online charter school in Ohio recently collapsed, both an academic and financial disaster.
Renegade Teacher thinks they should be banned. They are educational frauds.

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