They say critique of charter schools is “tired.” Then I say it’s exhausting to see charter proponents cast some nebulous aspersions towards the nefarious “teachers’ contract.”
This, from the NY Daily “News.” The author touts the flexibility of charters to lengthen school days and years, but then:
While there is no direct correlation between increased learning and increased learning time, research shows that longer school days provide extended academic growth for children from impoverished backgrounds.
Correlation is not causation. Precisely. One has nothing to do with the other.
Extending a school day or year is hardly an “innovation.” To that end, why not have students from impoverished backgrounds sleep at the school, residing there year round if extended learning time increases academic growth, whatever that means. Test scores?
From my experience, there’s really not much that is “innovative” about charters. Learning is confined to a building. Students are separated into grades. Traditional, “Essentialist” curriculum, (see Bill Bagley) which has been around since the 1930s, prevails. I mean, squeezing every minute out of a school day by having students eat in the classroom is hardly innovative. Maybe efficient, but so are prisons.
What isn’t in the teachers’ “contract,” which in most cases is called a Collective Bargaining Agreement, or CBA, are minor flexibilities that I’d like to have, granted to charters, but not us. For instance, I’d like a better wireless network with fewer content filters. Maybe we at the school level get to choose our curriculum. Why do charters get to do that? Maybe we get private donations from philanthropic organizations to support our budgets. Charters get that. We don’t.
What’s really funny, charters are not innovative. They are the status quo. Their innovations, if you want to call them that, simply magnify the status quo. They don’t challenge it.