Things I Wish I Knew Before Accepting a Teaching Position at a Charter School
When Charter Schools go bad...
- •The students that attend charter schools often didn't fit into mainstream classroomsIn my area, they call my school "The Island of Misfit Toys."
- •Charter schools often are tools of segregationThe NAACP points to schools who are tools of segregation by race, but they failed to take into account schools that may be tools of segregation toward the Special Needs population. If a large proportion of the students are Special Needs, then are they really being mainstreamed?
- •Charter schools may not discriminate in admissions, but they can still discriminate in disenrollmentsCharters who accept any student can be quick to get rid of students instead of giving them the chance they need to turn their behavior around. Violations such as fighting often result in disenrollment.
- •Many charter school teachers are not credentialed teachersThis basically means that they may not be qualified to teach students. Some teachers haven't even passed their basic skills tests, which means they definitely aren't qualified (or they just haven't taken it, so there's no way to know).
- •Charter school districts are known for constantly changing thingsThis isn't just a problem in adaptation. Constantly changing things such as curriculum, teachers, staff, procedures, bell schedules, graduation requirements is not only confusing and difficult for the faculty and staff, but that trickles down to the students who matter the most. When you can't provide, or don't provide a stable environment for youngsters, it's difficult for them to feel secure and learn.
- •Charter schools employ their teachers "at will."Basically, even those qualified teachers can be fired at any time. Contracts mean nothing at Charter schools. So if the parents or other teachers or administration decide they don't like you much, they can give you the axe at any time (even in the middle of the semester which is terrible for kids).
- •Charter schools often don't pay better than other districtsThey often pay exactly the same or less.
- •Charter schools do whatever the hell they wantSo predictability is off the table. Welcome to "we are changing the curriculum for the third time this semester," or "we don't have a real curriculum," or "we have a curriculum, but just teach what we want regardless."
- •Charter schools can lose their charter at any timeSo not only do staff and faculty lose jobs, but kids are displaced from schools when this happens.
- •Charter schools aren't a worthwhile experiment