Here’s the latest in the Charter School drama. We had a staff meeting this week and HR sent two people to lead it: A child psychologist with experience in child abuse and a representative from HR. The psychologist explained the signs of inappropriate behavior between a child and an adult. She used the metaphor of a stop light -green is appropriate behavior, yellow is possibly inappropriate behavior, red is obviously inappropriate behavior- and then she went on and on about how we should report anything yellow or red to the administration.



Then we asked HR about why our reporting of yellow and red behaviors hadn’t gotten the teacher fired, the HR rep hemmed and hawed about how our admins were not to blame for what happened, how they did everything they could, etc. The lead admin, who had a big talk with the parents of the student who was abused, told the parents that the school couldn’t have fired the teacher earlier because the district wouldn’t allow the admin to. This is all BS because every charter school around us makes teachers “At-Will” employees, meaning that we can be fired for any reason, at any time, with no protection or compensation should that happen. We’re not on contracts, which means we could also quit for any reason, at any time, should we desire; but we’re also not protected from repercussions and reprisals. So, should the administration find out that one of us went to the media and blew up this story, which some teachers have tried to do, with a little luck, we could very well be out of a job and possibly out of a career. But HR claimed that the administration was given the choice after previous allegations of misconduct were brought to their attention, that it was the school’s choice to keep the teacher on or not.

This entire meeting was a disaster. Teachers were asking very pointed and direct questions and getting run-around answers. Teachers were walking out of the meeting due to disgust and revulsion at the level to which the behavior of both the teacher (and others under the direct supervision of the Principal) were being allowed to get away with behavior that would have had them fired at any school with an ounce of professionalism.

At the end of the day, HR doesn’t exist to protect the teachers or the students, it exists to protect the company. And this gets to the crux of my problem with charter schools: They take education and commercialize it. They don’t care about the students as much as they care about the results. Our “district” boasts over a 95 % college acceptance rate, and during college signing day every student who has been accepted to a college, which is much closer to 100% since we force them to take the ACT exam during school hours, “declares” which college they’ll be graduating from in the fall. This entire series of events is little more than propaganda for our donors. About a dozen of our students don’t have the credits to graduate and about 75% of our students aren’t able to graduate in 6 years. Yet all of them get up on a stage and declare how they’re going to be successful in life so these ignorant rich folks will continue to cut us fact checks and inflate the reputations of everyone at the district office. Because the reality is that 50% of our students who enter as freshman won’t graduate from our school. But I’ll be damned it those seniors aren’t all walking up to a microphone on national signing day.

On the happy side of things, I’ve been making working out a priority. I’ve put 3 miles on my rowing machine in the past week and I’m doing push-ups every other night. Today, a family-owned GNC was having a sale on a bunch of stuff and I finally took the plunge on protein powder. I’d always doubted the efficacy of that stuff but it has made my recovery day noticeably less painful.