Sunday, August 7, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: MI: Charter Demonstrates Need for Tenure + Big Money Loses, But Doesn't Give Up

CURMUDGUCATION: MI: Charter Demonstrates Need for Tenure:

MI: Charter Demonstrates Need for Tenure

Big Education Ape: State of Michigan Failing Charter Schools: One Year Later Nothing Has Changed -

Charters are fond of at-will staffing, where all teachers may be hired or fired at any time, for any reason. Sort of the exact opposite of tenure or due process. Here's a story out of Detroit of just how bad that can be-- not just for teachers, but for students and community.

Michigan has been a playland for charters. There are well over 300 charter schools operating in Michigan (the number varies a bit depending on who's counting). The vast majority are for-profit, and almost none have organized teacher unions.

Universal Academy is located in Detroit, and as reported by the Detroit Metro Times, their problems began with Etab Ahmed, a Yemeni immigrant. Ahmed, age twenty, was called into the office and encouraged to sign a paper. She thought it was about graduating, and it was-- sort of. She had written and signed, as coached by the principal, the following:

"I am Etab Ahmed want to finish the high school through GED. And do not want to continue at Universal Academy - Etab Ahmed 11/10/15"

As soon as she returned to her classroom, she asked the teacher, Asil Yassine, what a GED was, and was shattered to discover she had just signed away her dream of a high school diploma.

But Ahmed was twenty, which meant that Universal Academy had gotten as much money as they ever could out of her enrollment.

Yassine, a second-year teacher, decided to follow up.

"I am struggling to understand how this incredibly bright, hard-working student who fully deserves a 
CURMUDGUCATION: MI: Charter Demonstrates Need for Tenure:

CURMUDGUCATION: Big Money Loses, But Doesn't Give Up:

Big Money Loses, But Doesn't Give Up

This story has been covered extensively, but it's one of those stories that needs to be covered extensively, so if this post seems a little redundant, that's okay. As teachers and marketers both learn, if you really wnat a message to get through, repetition is key.

In Tennessee, Stand for Children and other outside pro-reform charter-pushing groups sank about three quarters of a million dollars in attempts to buy themselves more compliant school boards, with the main push landing on the Nashville board race.

It was ugly. Mailers defaming candidates. Apush poll insinuating that one candidate defended child molesters and pornographers. Newspapers throwing their weight behind the reformsters.

And standing against them, a completely disorganized array of moms and dads. No spokesperson, no point person, no strategy meetings-- just a whole bunch of people pissed off that outsiders were coming in to try to buy an election as a way to buy themselves a slice of the education biz, a sweet shot at charter money.

You can read newspaper accounts of the aftermath here and here. And for a local close up summary of the whole sorry mess, I recommend this account from Dad Gone Wild.

The events of Nashville are worth paying attention to because this is the way the game is now played. Reformsters sink big money into local races all across the country. Setting state and federal policy is hard and expensive, but making sure that you have board members or other officials in 
CURMUDGUCATION: Big Money Loses, But Doesn't Give Up:

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