Saturday, November 24, 2007

Teachers In My District Say Teachers In My District Don't Care About Students

The district in which I teach has a charter school. Honestly, I'm not sure what it is about this school that makes it special or "charter", but it's a public charter school. There are commercials for this school on the radio. A teacher I work with sent the following email to his union president asking about said commercials, and gave me permission to reproduce it here:

I just heard the Choices charter school ad on the radio, again, and I'm annoyed enough to write.

A couple of things: is the district spending money advertising one school at the expense of others? Why shouldn't [our school] be afforded an advertising budget to promote enrollment? Couldn't we build on our academic success and music program?

Second, the ad that runs is offensive to every non-Choices teacher in the district. The first line is, "Teachers at Choices listen, pay attention, and don't ignore their students." How can [the district] sign off on that line even if the ads are legal? Do they believe that the majority of their teachers, district wide, don't listen, don't pay attention, and ignore their students?

He's asked questions that deserve answers.


Anonymous said...

Wait! Did I miss something? Why is this the union's responsibility? And why are you giving central office and the board a pass on this issue? The charter school is the school district's deal, not the union's!

You're chummy with the Super. Why don't you put those questions to him. Like you said: those questions deserve answers.

Admittedly, you might be concerned that the Super has better things to do; he's a busy guy. Then again, so is the union pres.

allenm said...

without more information it's impossible to understand the situation. As a guess, and assuming the district paid for the ad, I'd say the district has a vested interest in seeing to it that the charter doesn't fail.

Each state is on its own regarding charter law and from some things I've read California has made districts a bigger player in the charter school movement then most other states. If that's the case, it would seem to me that the districts would have to be provided with some incentive to promote charters to offset the obvious, built-in incentive to oppose charters.

I don't see that going to the union would be the best route to understanding the situation since the union's interests aren't at stake if current member's jobs aren't put at risk due to the existence of the charter and charter school teachers are union members.

An independent charter school organization might have more insight to offer.

Anonymous said...

Most of the charter schools in my school district don't have to pay for advertising - the long line of parents waiting to get in on admission lottery night does that quite nicely.

District run schools have no problem filling seats - if you try to keep your child out of school without making provisions like private schooling or homeschooling your children will be forcibly removed from you. A police badge is the ultimate recruitment tool, the schools don't need to run ads. The charter school that is running radio ads is just trying to get their message out, to let the public know they exist.

In this state the school district has no control over how a charter school spends money. This is probably why they can operate on 66% of the budget as district run schools.

I honestly don't see anything offensive here. If I say "My child is bright, cute and athletic" (and many parents say exactly that) that does NOT mean that they think other children are stupid, ugly and clumsy. Companies advertise the excellence of their products all the time without denigrating the products of their competitors. You might recommend a brief introduction to logic to your colleague.

Full disclosure: I work as a volunteer in a low income district operated middle school. The charter schools don't need volunteers since parent participation is a requirement for admission.

Darren said...

Yes, anonymous, as usual, you're missing something--any semblance of a thinking brain.

The person who wrote the email sent it to the union because he wants *the union* to complain to the district about the teacher-bashing in the article.

Try reading for understanding, anonymous. And here's some free advice for you--when you find your foot stuck in your mouth, stop chewing.

Anonymous said...

Charter schools are usually established by private foundations. They are the perceived enemies of the NEA/CTA and AFT - because just like Wal Mart, they are non-union.
Unions (and their UBOT memberships) hate charter schools because they don't rehire bad teachers, and teachers are accountable year by year to the public, the parents, and stakeholders (i.e., taxpayers)- unlike regular public schools which just keep on ticking like the energizer bunny, in spite of high drop out rates and low scores.
Charter schools don't hire substitutes who change classes every 20 days throughout the school year, as many public schools are allowing (because after 20 days subs must be paid a different salary).
Charter schools will continue to face this type of criticism from loyal UBOTS as long as unions continue to brainwash their memberships into despising and defying the law - NCLB.
You can be sure that this charter school paid for it's own ad, as the school districts would never do such a thing.
This ad was NOT offensive.
In fact maybe public school teachers should seriously consider teaching at one of these ever-growing popular charter schools. Who knows, a good teacher just may make a higher salary than the good old CTA could ever negotiate with the hundreds of dollars they force teachers to pay for collective bargaining.
Just like the desegregation of public schools, school choice is here to stay.
Listen Up, NEA/CTA/AFT - It's a new day so...GET OVER IT!

Darren said...

Anyone who's spent more than 5 minutes on this site knows I'm no fan of the teachers unions. Please, go hit the NEA and/or CTA labels in the left column and see how much I gush over them. Answer: not much. At all.

The issue here, raised by the email writer, should be clear: should the school district allow one public school to disparage the teachers at the other public schools by implying that the teachers at the other public schools don't listen or pay attention to students? I would assert that NO, the district should not allow that at all.