Saturday, May 16, 2015

Jersey Jazzman: Teaching At a Charter School Means Taking a Pay Cut

Jersey Jazzman: Teaching At a Charter School Means Taking a Pay Cut:

Teaching At a Charter School Means Taking a Pay Cut

After this past Sunday's big, fat, wet kiss to the Newark charter school industry -- see hereherehere, and here -- you'd think the Star-Ledger, New Jersey's biggest newspaper, would make a little room in their op-ed section for someone to express a contrary view.

You'd be wrong.

On Tuesday, the S-L gave space to a charter school employee to tell us why teachers shouldn't fear charter school expansion:

I've been a teacher for four years. While I wasn't always sure what type of school I'd end up in, I've spent my career at BelovED Community Charter School, an independent, high-performing public charter school in Jersey City. It is in this innovative environment that I've been able to experience the flexibility and autonomy that I've always envisioned for my career. 
Despite serving millions of students and employing thousands of educators across the country, these laboratory-like schools are still misunderstood in many communities. Independent charter schools are unique public schools offered bureaucratic freedom in exchange for real results. Just like traditional public schools, they don't charge tuition, are publicly funded and open to anyone who applies—including students with special needs. 
Free from union contracts, my charter school has the freedom to adjust the school day, choose new and exciting curriculum resources and develop strong models for learning. Teachers like me are treated as equal partners with valuable experience and ideas. Personally, I feel empowered by school leadership to teach in a way that is unique to every student in my classroom. [emphasis mine]
Let me start, as I always do with these cases, by stating that I have no doubt the author of this piece, my colleague Jomayra I. Torres, is a dedicated professional and fine teacher. Her school, BelovED CCS, is actually far better than most Jersey City charter schools in serving children in economic disadvantage:

I applaud Ms. Torres for her dedication, and BelovED for its service to Jersey City's children. But let's get one thing straight:

On average, charter school teachers make considerably less than public school teachers -- and BelovED Community Charter School is no exception.

I've got some work coming out soon on this as it relates to all of New Jersey; for now,
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