Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Charter Schools and "Teacher Appreciation Week"

From Daily Kos, comes a fairly unbelievable story (and yet, they are not The Onion) about a charter school group, run by a for-profit education management org, called Mosaica. 

To note before I get to the main story, Mosaica, run in the Muskegon, Michigan area, was recently in the news as they were not able to meet their own payroll. 

The state is fronting $231,000 to the charter school district in Muskegon Heights so it can pay its employees. Teachers and staff didn’t get paid like they were supposed to on Monday.

The new Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System was set up in June 2012 when the old school district there went broke.

A state-appointed emergency manager created the PSA, which hired Mosaica, a charter school company, to run the school system. Now the new school system is running a deficit of its own.

Right, because private industry does run so much better for all areas.

The unbelievable story is about "Faculty Fun Day" at Mosaica's Arts and Technology Academy of Pontiac.  

Faculty Fun Day
WHEN:  Friday, May 2, 2014
WHAT:  Would you like the chance to see how fun your child’s teacher can be?
WHY:  Fundraiser for Teacher Appreciation Week
WHERE:  [name redacted]'s class - Room XXX
COST:  Any monetary amount

The Faculty at ATAP would like to invite our students and parents to help us kick off our Teacher Appreciation Week by donating money to have our teachers do some fun and wild activities.  If you would like to see any faculty member do one of the following activities, you may bring in any amount of money and put it in the box of your choice in [name redacted]'s room by Wednesday, April 30.  Check out our list of fun things and we can’t wait to have fun.  By the way… NO STAFF MEMBER IS EXEMPT…this includes administration!!
MANDIVA – Our 3 favorite male faculty members in heels for an hour
SAVE MY JOB – 3 faculty members will stand in the parking lot during dismissal and hold a sign.
CREAM FACIAL – Students will throw pie in 3 faculty members’ faces during an assembly.
KINDERGARTEN EXTREME MAKEOVER – A kindergarten student will do the hair and makeup of 3 faculty members.
TEACHER SWAP – Teachers will swap roles with office, custodial, and lunch staff for an hour.  We will also send a high school teacher to elementary and vice versa.
LOOK WHAT THE STORK BROUGHT IN!! – 3 faculty members in bonnets, bibs, and pacifiers (just like a baby)
Every staff member has to participate.

 This means that whatever the students pay for you to do, you MUST do it. I have also volunteered for some items so you know that I am serious about the implementation of this.

What does one teacher say?

As professional educators we accept that teaching within the urban core will have no shortage of challenges. Disrespect – which ultimately is combated by instilling a value for education and people – is the biggest challenge we face. The humiliation of teachers undermines the steps that we (teachers) have taken in working with our students. Will the students view the CREAM FACIAL as a fun? As humbling an authority figure? As revenge? How about a male teacher it heels? Does wearing women’s clothing enhance his stature within the student body? What about treating teachers as infants? Humiliation and ridicule bring teachers down a peg.

Washington State is having a charter conference to introduce the new charter schools.  I note there is a panel one evening with former charter teachers that is for current public school teachers.

 I wonder if this kind of "fundraising" will be discussed.  Probably not. 

I wonder if public school teachers realize how easily they can be used for fundraising and/or summarily kicked to the curb without the benefit of a strong union to prevent this kind of nonsense. 


Po3 said...


mirmac1 said...

That's not a slap in the face, it's a pie in the face!

Lynn said...

I was looking at initiative 1240 today and saw this:

Sec. 206. CHARTER SCHOOL STUDENTS. (1) School districts must provide information to parents and the general public about charter schools located within the district as an enrollment option for students

I don't remember seeing any information on the district's website about the enrollment process for First Place Scholars. Applications were due March 31st.

Who would be responsible for this at the district level?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Given that First Place was behind in its own enrollment procedures, I think this just didn't happen.

Going forward, I would think that would fall to Tracy Libros in Enrollment but the direct responsibility would fall to First Place to give her timely and clear information in a format the district could put up at the website.

seattle citizen said...

"Provide information...ABOUT charter schools within the district..." So they can tell prospective parents and students that the charters are unaccountable to taxpayers and are entities intended to privatize public education? : )

Lynn said...

The law doesn't say anything about the school's responsibility to provide information to the district - only the district's responsibility is addressed. I know we all think First Place is a wonderful organization providing a much-needed service, but there will be other schools opening next year. They cannot be allowed to choose their students by advertising to specific populations. They are required by law to be open to every student in the state.

Charlie Mas said...

Lynn, Does the law say that the information has to be timely? Does it say that it has to come with the Enrollment packet?

I wonder if the requirements of this law couldn't be achieved by posting a notice somewhere - anywhere - on the District web site.

Lynn said...


The law is pretty vague - which is of course a problem. I searched the district website and the only mention of First Place Charter School was the February 6th budget work session. (The issue discussed was whether the school would have any financial impact on the district.) I emailed the Charter Commission and asked them if charter schools are required to publicize their admission timelines.

Charlie Mas said...

Here it is in the RCW:

It is vague. I'm pretty sure that it could be fulfilled with a mention of any charter schools on the District web site. Say, a little box on the Enrollment page that says: "Charter schools in Seattle: First Place"

I also wonder if this notice on the Enrollment page doesn't satisfy the law:
"Students may also apply to attend any other school or program in the district. Assignment depends on space availability and the assignment rules in effect at the time of application."

Not only is the law vague, it is unenforceable. What if the District doesn't provide information about charter schools - then what? Then nothing. It's not like the cops are going to come and arrest the superintendent and put him in jail.

Charlie Mas said...

Whenever I talk with people about what makes a great school, the discussion becomes focused on culture. And the cultural value that is most desired is to make heroes of thinkers, inventors, artists, writers, scholars, and teachers. The goal is for these people to be held in the highest regard - higher than athletes and those who are famous for being famous. All of these "games" are not only disrespectful to the teachers as human beings, but also disrespectful to teaching. In addition, the idea that men are ridiculed for resembling women is filled with misogyny.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Yes, that "great" 1240 law that has overkill AND vagueness built right in.

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