The Charter School Achievement First – Hartford and their “Reorientation Room”

68 Comments

According to a September Hartford Courant story about Achievement First –Hartford’s newly opened high school, “Rolling one’s eyes at a teacher will get a freshman sent to the school’s Reorientation Room, where Dean of School Culture Peter Uwalaka said “’they get the extra culture they need.’”

The Achievement First Family Handbook goes into far more detail about the school’s discipline policy.

Having spoken with parents who have had students attending an Achievement First school, the “Reorientation Room” is a place that students go to work on improving unacceptable behaviors.  Students temporarily lose the privilege of wearing the school uniform. Instead, they wear a practice shirt. Students are not allowed to communicate with their peers. Students must stay after school to reflect on their behavior issue and to write apology letters to their teammates. Because students lose transportation privileges (they have lost the trust to take a bus unsupervised), parents need to pick their child up from school. Students remain in this room until they have shown dramatic behavior improvement.

Achievement First’s discipline code describes this place as, “a BIG DEAL. We are, in essence, isolating students from the rest of the school, and so it should be taken very seriously by students and teachers… [It] is a place where no student wants to go and will be a powerful tool in the establishment and maintenance of a strong, team-oriented school culture.”

Reorientation Room?

Dean of School Culture?

Get the Extra Culture they need?

In a world where words have meaning and phrases have history, my first thought was; is Achievement First, Inc. incredibly insensitive or incredibly stupid?

Words like “Reorientation Rooms” and phrases like “get the extra culture they need” are the creation of writers like George Orwell or Franz Kafka, or worse, the reality of Stalin’s Russia or China’s Cultural Revolution.

I can’t imagine Achievement First would ever call the room where children in trouble are sent, the Gulag, the Labor Camp, or the Ship’s Hold.  But, the term, “Reorientation Room” isn’t much better.

By their own admission, the “Reorientation Room” is a place that is intended to induce fear and force specific behaviors.

It is shocking that the company Stefan Pryor, Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education, created and help lead for eight years would utilize those words or promote those concepts of discipline.

It is even worse that more and more of our tax dollars are going to support that charter school company and their chain of schools.

In Connecticut, parents can send their children to a public school or pay to have them go to a private school.  Charter schools claim that they are really public schools; they just utilize an alternative educational approach and environment.

But no public school would ever brag about, or even allow, a place called the “Reorientation Room.”

And when all is said and done, Achievement First, Inc. looks and acts a lot more like a private school than a public school.

Achievement First, Inc. is run by a corporate board and not a board of education made up of the citizens of that community.

Achievement First, Inc. doesn’t take its fair share of children who need special education services.

Achievement First, Inc. doesn’t take its fair share of students who are not fluent in English.

And only about 70% of Achievement First teachers are even certified to teach in Connecticut.

The facts speak for themselves.

Achievement First – Hartford, which is located less than 3,000 feet from the Jumoke Academy at Milner, has a student population where 95 percent of the students are fluent in English.  Yet, at the same time, one in five Hartford students is an English Language Learner (i.e. not fluent in English).

In Hartford, where well over 40 percent of the students go home to households where English is not the spoken language, less than 5% of Academy First’s students come from homes where English is not the primary language.

Furthermore, the percentage of Achievement First students who need special education services is about half the percentage that attends Hartford’s public schools.

As noted, there is no question that parents have the right to send their children to private schools, but we taxpayers don’t directly pay the costs associated with parochial and other private schools, and we shouldn’t be forced to syphon off scarce taxpayer funds in order to pay for schools like Achievement First, schools that fail to meet the most basic criteria of what makes a public school – public.

You can read the Hartford Courant’s article on Achievement First – Hartford here: http://www.courant.com/community/hartford/hc-hartford-af-high-school-20120916,0,591034,full.story

  • buygoldandprosper

    Reminds me of CLOCKWORK ORANGE.
    Arrogant politicans like Dan Malloy,who have lived off public money for almost their entire carreers,bring their skewed sense of entitlement to their positions of leadership and rather than try to fix what is broken they attempt to re-create the system for their benefit.
    Dan had his kids in magnet schools that most had to wait in line for back in Stamford. When public schools did not work out,the kids were shipped of to private schools. Dan consistantly blamed Stamford Schools for budget woes during his time as mayor. One of my favorite stories was how Dan traded a new HS atheletic field for a new hockey coach who would play one of his kids!! THAT is Dan Malloy and education at it’s best!
    While he will not be able to have his kids benefit from the various charter schools,Dan will benefit from the fix he has implemented later down the road in the form of anonymous SuperPac donations. He has moved waaay beyond trading sports fields for coaches.
    Dan is just one of many politicians who has abandoned teachers and their unions, and educators MUST remember this at election time.

    • Sleepless in Bridgeport

      Super PAC donations my butt! How about the old CT plan…..this is about money in the pocket or a new porch on the house.
      Here is why Connecticut is in deep trouble. Roland, Ganim, Malloy, Pryor, Finch, Vallas, the mayor of Waterbury who liked to date 8 year olds……Ernie Newton……Christina Ayala……..Adamowsky…the babe superintendent in Hartford.
      Oh my God…….we have become Rhode Island!

      • jonpelto

        Today’s winning entry for “funniest comment” of the day!

        Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonny-Cache/1039153428 Jonny Cache

          Your excussed …

          • Linda174

            You’re meaning you are!

  • Margaret Rick

    According to the Hartford Courant, the Achievement First
    High School has a budget of $1.7 million for it’s 62 students. Do the math.
    That’s $27, 419 per student. The city has also provided a facility, transportation and
    meals which may or may not be included in the budget. In contrast, the Hartford
    public school system spends about $14, 830 per student. Talk about syphoning off scarce taxpayers funds….

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rich-White/100000066062155 Rich White

      And St Bernard’s in Enfield educates kids K-8 for $3,300 each or $7,850 for a family of 3. That same $1.7 million buys 620 seats not 62 seats at St Bernards. Some people know when they are being ripped off by the Gold Domers, the Unions, and the Hartford “pity me, I am entitled” crowd.

  • Guest

    Reading the Courant article it sounds as if these schools are the greatest thing since electricity.
    The real story is most of these charter schools are schools of tyranny and oppression. The irony is thick. Oppress them now for a chance at getting out of poverty later?

  • Tom Hoffman

    My one correction is that I gather that variations on this sort of thing have quietly become more common in regular public schools as well, just not bragged about.

    • jonpelto

      I’ve received a couple of notes making that same point – will certainly look into it and update/change this post as warranted. A “rose” by any other name. No question discipline is an important issue and needs to be addressed but there are activities that are never appropriate – unless of course we can say it is response to terrorism. It would be a sad commentary if these rooms are showing in schools – just not bragged about.

      • msavage

        We had a discussion a while back here in Hebron about the possible existence of “scream rooms” in our elementary schools. Rumor has it that there was a lawsuit filed by parents re a child who was allegedly left alone in one of these rooms for the better part of a day. “Scream room,” “reorientation room”–which is worse?

        • Linda174

          See my post above. The only situation I know of as you describe is those with serious emotional issues who attend psychiatric facilities.

          • Andie

            Even psychiatric facilities are moving away from use of restraint and seclusion because of the physical harm and emotional trauma restraint and seclusion can produce in a patient. Actually this sounds like the initial stages of brainwashing. Don’t drink the Koolade kids.

          • msavage

            Here’s a link to an article re the case I’m talking about. It says the “scream room” isolation, which occurred in Hebron, lasted for 20 minutes and resulted in the attempted suicide of a five-year-old.
            I’d suggest that any child that young who tries to commit suicide probably has some very serious issues.

            http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Screams-Room-Controversy-Heads-to-Hearing-Room-141669873.html

    • Linda174

      Other schools, traditional public, may have a quiet room where a student will go to meet with a teacher or guidance counselor to discuss a problem or a situation. Yes, they may discuss the choices they made and what they could do better next time. They do not stay more than 5-10 minutes.

      They do not change into different clothes or a different color shirt. They are not ostracized from the school community. People, students and teachers, are allowed to speak to them. They do not lose the tax payer provided transportation. None of what is described above happens for minor violations, such as eye rolling.

      A major incident with a weapon or a physical fight is much different. Eye rolling, not sitting up straight (SLANT) in your chair, sighing, or any other “cultural” issues (whatever that is I am not sure –whose culture? TFA culture?) are NOT dealt with as they are at an Achievement First “public” charter school.

      How many of the privatizers/“reformers” send their kids to schools like these? There are many in D.C. and Sasha and Malia do not attend these types of schools.

      • Magister

        If I booted kids for eye-rolls, I’d completely empty out my room in about seven minutes. Yippee – extra prep period! I can surf the internet to shop for my third yacht with my bloated teacher paychecks!

        • jonpelto

          You’ve locked up at least a top three position on the funniest comment of the day.

          Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

        • Linda174

          I have eye rolled and kept teaching…..imagine!

      • msavage

        I agree with you though, Linda. Even if the Hebron lawsuit is truth rather than rumor, I think that such a room in the public school environment is more likely to be where an out-of-control student might be taken, by a responsible adult, to be given an opportunity to calm down with adult supervision. I’ve heard stories about children, even here in suburbia, who have become so violent that they’ve injured paras. My position–I’d rather have a child in such a state removed from the general population for the safety of the other children, if nothing else. But there is a big difference between allowing a child the opportunity to calm down and punishing a child for something as minor as eye-rolling by humiliating him and removing him from his peers.

  • conconn

    Pryor forget to mention this when he spoke about the great success of AF Hartford last night at Fairfield University.

    • Linda174

      Was he ever questioned or challenged or was it just a Pryor party?

      • conconn

        The university leadership praised him, but 3 of the 6 or 7 questions were about overtesting in Bridgeport, no-bid contracts, and why the charter schools he founded are given so much with this reform while they choose to ignore ELLs and students who come from homes where English is not the primary language.

        • Linda174

          Did he answer or just spin BS?

          • conconn

            He said things like Texas and South Dakota have better schools than CT now, and that in countries where schools are better, the teachers come from the top percentage of college graduates, whereas in CT, it’s the bottom percentage of college graduates who become teachers.

          • Apartheid First

            He is horrific. In countries where schools are better, they have educators and scholars in the commissioner’s posts, not corporate hacks.
            I wish I had been there to boo and hiss.
            Connecticut’s students, parents, and teachers are much too polite and indulgent.

          • Linda174

            I wonder if those states and those countries have leaders and/or commissioner’s who have been teachers themselves? So according to Pryor, with no prior teaching experience, the teachers are solely responsible for any and all failures? Really? Leadership is never to be held accountable? That will work for him when he leave so in two to three years, I suppose. Pompous ass!

        • Apartheid first

          Yes, what is Fairfield getting out of this? There is always payoff. Look how Elsa Nunez–whose husband, by the way, is Massachusett’s education commissioner!–fared after supporting the original ed reform bill–a huge raise and it looks like some new construction going forward at ECSU. Maybe Fairfield will get a charter school to run, or a fast-track teacher certification gig.

  • Pingback: Beware the Reorientation Room! « Diane Ravitch's blog

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.collins.7773 Mark Collins

    Wow! Fidel, Mao, Joseph, Adolph and others would be so proud.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonny-Cache/1039153428 Jonny Cache

    Resist the Running Dogs of Public Education Relentlessly Rooting Out Rhee-Orientation❢

    • jonpelto

      Two comment awards for you- best use of the letter R …. Plus the comment that looks like a haiku but isn’t…. Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

  • Magister

    If this is where they stick uncompliant students, they must put curmudgeony teachers in a hot box like Cool Hand Luke. “What this VAM score indicates is a failure to commuinicate . . . “

  • Linda174

    I want to know what is the culture where eye rolling results in being ostracized from the entire community?

    Is that just a white TFA elite cultural thing?

    • CitizensArrested

      Prison industrial complex thing……

  • ctcarpenter

    How is this practice any different from wearing a dunce cap?

    • Apartheid First

      A dunce cap is less humiliating.

      • Magister

        Or a Hogwarts Sorting Hat. It could be a great way to “counsel out” the kids who “aren’t the right fit.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rich-White/100000066062155 Rich White

    I recommend using the term “In-House Detention”. All these other terms confuse people. It’s the American Public after all. They prefer detention and incarceration to rehabilitative solutions.

    • Linda174

      Free the goats!

  • Apartheid First

    “Practice shirt” or hair shirt? Is there a scarlet letter on it?

    There are still scream rooms (quiet rooms) in public schools, although there are
    huge checks and balances on their use. No child is ever supposed
    to be left in one. No child is awarded a shirt for having entered one.

    I don’t think a private school would allow this, unless it is one of those high-priced institutions that rich people ship
    their troubled, drug-addicted children to. (Remember the chilling stories about
    the school the Skakel children were sent to?)

    Who are the social workers and psychologists at Achievement First, Inc.?
    TFAers? That’s the other thing about public schools–not any teacher can decide
    to use this punishment, or implement it.

    Pryor has got to go. The final consideration about this Practice Shirt,
    Reorientation Room atrocity is that it is so racist and classist.
    I expect this takes place at Milner. It certainly takes place at other Apartheid First charter schools, where the curriculum is deadly and the discipline deadlier.

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    I really don’t get it…….If someone in a public school tried to discipline in this manner the Dept of Children and Families would have that administrator or teacher off duty for 45 days while they “investigate”. Public schools are overwhelmed with mandate after mandate NCLB, certification mandates, NEASC, Special Ed mandates, minority student mandates (like last years “You can’t suspend them” deal).
    Now who is watching over the charters…..and what mandates are they woried about? Answer is “no one” and “nothing”. They seem to do whatever the hell they feel like in the name of God, motherhood, Rhee, Duncan, and apple pie. They will all soon be slurking off with bags of the public’s cash along with Rudy Crews and Manny Riviera…….remember them? They were the big name “turnaround” specialists that Bridgeport brought in to fix Harding.
    Please…….how do we stop the madness?

  • Achievement First

    Really, I wonder at the human rights implications of all this. The fact that the “correction” is brutal and humiliating is bad enough, but it is only for a certain “population.” If they have this kind of Reorientation Room, I want to know if it is supervised and approved by state agencies.
    Are there any recent college grads out there, perhaps someone rejected by the exclusive TFA, who has youthful looks and could pose as a High School student to do some investigations as a mole of Achievement First?

  • Linda174

    It makes you wonder, what do they do for more severe behaviors: swearing, non compliance for school work, fights, etc….I guess that is when you are determined to be: “not a good fit”….tip of the hat to Steve Perry….he coined that bs terminology.

  • JDE

    Sounds great, actually. Lots of kids need to learn how to behave. Public schools would be better off if they cracked down on disrespect and uncivilized behavior as well.

    • Linda174

      So send your kids of grandkids to a military charter chain…have them wear sunglasses and NO smirking either or else!

  • buygoldandprosper

    I promise you that soon they will have the rubber rooms that NYC has,for teachers. Clearly in NYC some of the teachers should be incarcerated and possibly in CT as well…but what about due process?
    Dan Malloy and Bloomberg like headlines and “quick fixes” so they can move on and say they did something. That is one of the reasons why “education reform” has been taken up by them. Big headlines. Big money.Big load of crap!
    Address the issues and fix the problems? Too hard!

  • Chris Liebig

    Is it Room 101?

  • Rob

    All these comments are ridiculous! If a kid is rolling his eyes or otherwise acting disrespectful and refuses to correct the behavior while in class, that student must be isolated from his classmates. Otherwise, there’s a huge risk that the disrespectful behavior will spread and ruin the classroom culture. The doors at AFHA are open all day, every day. If anyone is genuinely concerned that students are being unfairly separated from their peers, come visit and see for yourself. Because AFHA teachers uphold high behavioral standards, real learning can occur.

    • jonpelto

      As the author of the commentary piece, I appreciate your belief that rolling eyes and being disrespectful is bad… you are right it is.

      What I don’t quite get is why the “student must be isolated” and why you’d think calling the place the “re-orientation” room isn’t inappropriate, insensitive and – to be quite honest – disgusting.

      In Stalin’s re-education and labor camps, more than $1 million people died.
      China was also fond of the notion of re-orientation and re-education.

      I’m sure a group of us would be happy to come over and see the re-orientation process in action.

      The one thing key factor is we’d need an opportunity to speak privately with a number of students to see what other experiences, if any, that they would like to report.

      In the meantime, I’m hopeful the Department of Child and Families is beginning to investigate the use of these rooms.

      • sharewhut

        Gee, I just had to go sit in the Principal’s office.
        Maybe write 200 times “I will not ( insert current offence here )”

        • jonpelto

          Exactly – and I can still spell I will not….although that was the extent of my writing ability but at least the called it the office and not something out of clockwork orange or 1984 Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

          • sharewhut

            At least rolling eyes, while being disrespectful, is an evoked response. Shows that the kid is at least aware that the teacher is saying something and forming/expressing an opinion (albeit a negative one).
            Thinking.
            Better than glazed eyes, blank stare?
            Better than lashing out physically, at least brain is engaged before acting, which for a lot of these kids is probably a step in the right direction.

          • jonpelto

            You are definitely a glass half full kind a guy!

            Sent from my BlackBerry please excuss typos

          • sharewhut

            Already emptied the first 3 glasses, only 1/2 way through the 4th. But I’m working on it!

          • sharewhut

            Perhaps a bit of a skewed view having spent umpteen years dealing with inmates… who for a large part are adolescents in terms of societal development… throwing a kid in ‘seg’ isn’t going to correct the behavior. The eye rolling, tongue sticking, one finger salute waving will continue. Maybe just less overtly. Even making the individual a ‘hero’ within their cohort.The underlying disrespect won’t be cured by reorientation, in fact may be tempered into animosity.
            Put the kid to work clapping erasers or emptying trash, something that’s going to be unpleasant and public (but not humiliating).” I ain’t gonna be out there with erasers again in front of my buddies!” and maybe the buddies see that and don’t want to risk that fate and the razzing that comes with it.
            But of course Juhokie want’s the reorientation to fail- “we tried and tried, but this behaviorally (academically?) deficient student just doesn’t belong here.”

    • Sleepless in Bridgeport

      It is quite clear that you must be on of the “Great” teachers who work with hand selected students (please no special ed or spanish speakers), are not subject to the rediculous mandates that public school teachers must live with every day. A public school principal who pulled this would be fired (and probably hired at your school the next day for half the salary). You probably are not certified and will be a hedge fund trainee when your two years are up and of course you do not have 35 kids in your classes.
      Come to my school where young men and women physically and verbally abuse their fellow students and teachers in the classroom. Rolling eyes……My goodness I am stunned you don’t just waterboard them.

    • Linda174

      “Real learning” or test prep? Because that’s what “scholars” do all day: prepare for tests, take tests and follow orders while walking in straight lines and SLANTing.

      By the way, since you are in the know…what is the culture that you “give them”….could you elaborate?

  • sharewhut
  • Linda174

    I understand AF teachers are not allowed to disagree or question either. Look at all the AF successes:

    CONSISTENTLY UNDER-ENROLLS HIGHEST NEED STUDENTS. All AF schools enroll fewer poor, ELL and Special Education students than the districts from which they draw. ELL and Special Education populations represent RI’s greatest achievement gaps, and are the most expensive and complex to educate. This disparity in enrollment calls into question AF’s performance and budget comparisons to neighborhood districts.

    FAILURE TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP. AF claims it has effectively closed the achievement gap by comparing its performance to neighborhood districts and statewide averages. However, the true achieve- ment gap (as defined by RIDE and others) exists between minority and white, poor and wealthier, ELL and non- ELL, and special needs and non-special needs students. Framed in this way, AF’s results show persistent gaps.

    FAILURE TO SUPPORT CRITICAL THINKING AND COLLEGE READINESS. According to the most recent NYC charter school renewal reports, all Achievement First schools reviewed were found to be ineffective in supporting and developing “higher-order thinking and student voice” – skills that are necessary, charter authorizers say, to “meet the goal of college readiness.

    And there are more failures:

    http://wecanri.org/sites/default/files/WeCanRI-AchievementFirstPacket.pdf

  • Rob

    Linda: The criticism that charter
    schools are too focused on standardized tests is legitimate. I wish it
    weren’t so. But the reality is that policymakers need objective measures
    of what students can do, and standardized tests offer such measures. AF
    schools target all instruction to state standards because the CMT is based on
    state standards. I’d just offer the rebuttal that just because instruction
    is based on state standards, doesn’t mean that such instruction doesn’t result
    in “real learning.” If a student can
    earn “advanced” on the CMT, any teacher would agree that the student has
    learned a good amount that year.

    With regards to class culture,
    teachers (both at charter and non-charter schools) don’t “give” it to
    students, they BUILD it WITH students. When school leaders use the term
    “culture,” they’re not talking about indoctrinating students,
    Soviet-style, with quotes from Mao’s little red book. They’re talking
    about building a positive, open, and safe atmosphere where students feel happy
    and willing to take risks in the learning process. Occasionally,
    students’ misbehaviors can negatively impact the culture of the class. If
    such misbehavior occurs repeatedly, it erodes the classroom culture that
    teachers and students work hard to maintain.

    If anyone should know about the
    corrosive effects of repeated misbehaviors, it should be Sleepless in
    Bridgeport! The fact that young men and
    women physically and verbally abuse each other in your school is a sign that
    your school leaders don’t take culture seriously enough – no teacher should
    have to endure that, and no student could hope to learn in such an
    environment. I’m sure you do all you can
    to ensure a positive climate in your room, but when the rest of the school is
    falling apart, the task is Sisyphean. If
    your school leadership were serious about building a positive culture, they’d
    start addressing the big things like verbal and physical abuse. Then, they’d gradually work down to less
    overt disrespectful behaviors like eye-rolling and laughing at a classmate’s
    incorrect response. Imagine if such
    behavior wasn’t tolerated at your school – you could make immeasurable academic
    progress with your students.

    To Jon: I admit that the term “reorientation”
    is Kafka-esque to an outsider, but at the risk of being further lampooned by
    your commenters, I’d repeat what I said before – just go visit a school. If a kid misbehaves and moves through a
    ladder of consequences without correcting the misbehavior, that kid spends a
    period away from his peers. Though the
    name of the room is reminiscent of Stalin, the actual situation is reminiscent of
    the old-school, discipline-focused style of style of school leadership
    described by sharewhut; instead of going to the principal’s office, though,
    kids spent a block in reorientation, and instead of writing a sentence 200
    times, they write an essay reflecting on their behavior.

    • Linda174

      Guess what Rob…I don’t need a standardized test to tell me what my kids know, don’t know..what their strengths and weaknesses are…I create authentic assessments and I am an experienced professional with many years in the classroom…all ages, abilities, disabilities, subjects. I can tell you how my kids will score before they take standardized tests. I don’t need bubble sheets and number two pencils to drive my instruction because I am a professional, unionized, dedicated, intelligent, hard working, life-long teacher.

      Teaching is not an exact science, which the reformers like to promote because they can then replace the expensive teachers with TFA scabs and short term Stepford test prep drones. Their future includes: charters sweatshops, vouchers, privatization, union busting, no collective bargaining , a fleet of at will employees with high turnover and no pension costs…..and an overwhelming need for educrap to keep the tax dollars flowing into their greedy hands while experimenting on the poor kids stuck in public schools.

      Did they tell you it was all about the children?

  • George Peterman

    Wasn’t a school in Middletown raked over the coals a few months ago for having a “time-out” room? Is this not the same thing? If the charters do it, under a different name, it’s a form of positive reinforcement? WTF?

  • Rob

    For what it’s worth, I just read the Dean of Culture’s comment about getting “the extra culture they need.”

    It’s a little embarrassing to have just written several paragraphs defending a school whose dean would use such an unfortunate choice of words. Culture isn’t given or transferred – it’s built, as a team effort, by teachers and students alike.

  • Rob

    Linda, I don’t doubt your effectiveness and dedication to underprivileged kids – I’m just out to correct misconceptions about Achievement First.

    If you visited an AF school, you’d find similarly diligent and dedicated teachers. I wouldn’t call it a sweatshop, but teachers definitely put in long hours. You’re right: teaching is not an exact science, it’s a skill that takes years to develop. AF teachers work hard to get good at their jobs, just like you do. They might not be unionized, but their paychecks contribute to TRB, just like yours does.

    The majority of AF teachers began their careers as unionized teachers in traditional public schools but eventually moved to Achievement First because the schools at which they began were so badly managed. At AF, they found like-minded colleagues who were fed up with the poor leadership and low expectations of their original schools. It didn’t help that union officials happily collected dues from these teachers’ paychecks each month, but were nowhere to be found when such junior teachers actually needed union support.

    I bet if we both described our ideal worlds, we’d list almost the exact same desires: a world where teaching carries the prestige of law or medicine, with schools run by competent administrators who don’t let petty personal conflicts negatively impact student achievement. In this utopia, all teachers would be life-long professionals who could look forward to a safe retirement after years of adequately-compensated service. The schools in this world wouldn’t be test-driven, but they’d still recognize the value of tests as an objective diagnostic tool. Will TFA or AF accelerate the arrival of this perfect world? I don’t know; maybe, maybe not. All I know is that simply perpetuating the status quo and hoping things get better for poor kids DOESN’T WORK, and it hasn’t been working FOR YEARS.

    • Linda174

      And TFA has been around for twenty years? Maybe Kopp is the status quo. In many cities, TFA members are now scabs taking the jobs of laid off teachers. That was the purpose of TFA?
      Some call it Teach for Wendy’s Wallett.

      Define status quo.

      Here is a comment from a former AF teacher:

      Former AF teacher
      June 25, 2012 at 11:32 am
      But when you hire teachers with experience at AF schools, who do these teachers turn to for help? Not managers because they went straight through from TFA and have very little experience to offer help and advice. The managers have less experience than non-TFA teachers. That’s why there is a constant turnover of teachers. The experienced ones leave and you are left with people you must train who have most likely have never been around children. It is run like a business instead of like a school.

      End of comment….my thoughts…

      AF has very high attrition rates among students and teachers. I don’t know many seasoned teachers leaving public schools to work at AF schools. There are many misconceptions out there about public schools, too. Many are very successful. Teachers in my school put in long hours. That is not a reformy charter thing that only your school achieves.

      Despite the Won’t Back Down Philanthropimp propaganda, my union does not tell me when I have to leave the building.

      We are tired of the unionized teacher bashing and we are rallying.

  • Rob

    Linda,

    Let’s rejoice that we’ve reached some common ground after a vigorous debate: “Won’t Back Down” is a terrible movie.

    • Linda174

      With a horrifying message that is filled with lies….worst opening ever since 1982…I guess the billionaire Philanthropimps cannot force the 99% to part with 8 bucks for garbage.

      You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

      Have a great school year and I wish you the best….no sarcasm…just one dedicated teacher to another.

  • Rob

    Thanks, Linda.