The Choices Charters Hate
One of the evergreen arguments in favor of modern charters is that they will be laboratories of innovation. Freed from the constraints of the public school system, charters will whip up brand new educational approaches, pedagogical discoveries that somehow nobody has ever whipped up before. Once they have freed the edu-genii, they will then unleash these cool new ideas on the whole education world, and all schools will work better because the charters were allowed to figure out brilliant new techniques that the public schools could not.
That's how it's sold. But that's not how it works.
First, charters have displayed no special ability to think of brand new educational ideas that nobody has ever thought of before. Longer day, longer year, only teach the kids that are easy to teach-- none of these are new ideas. Pay teachers less and give them no say in how the school is run-- also not new ideas, but also not particularly good ones, either.
But even if charters are whipping up new edu-concepts, that doesn't mean they want to share. The modern charter is born of corporate culture, and one basic principle of corporate culture is that Ford does not send its best ideas over to Chrysler management.
No, in the corporate world many contracts come with strict non-competition clauses. So it should be no surprise to find the same thing going on in the charter world. In fact, it should be no surprise to discover that charters want to straightjacket their teachers as much as possible.
Meet Mike Kowalski.
Mike Kowalski was a teacher for the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School. Like most charters, CURMUDGUCATION: The Choices Charters Hate: