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Want more proof that charter schools are just scams run by professional assholes and con artists? Check out what happens to a charter school teacher who tries to leave a charter school for a better paying real teaching job at a public school:
As a teacher, you’d have to do something pretty bad for your school to come after you for $6,087, right? You would think so — unless, that is, you were a teacher at the Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden. Three recent Mystic Valley employees came to the MTA for help when they received letters billing them for thousands of dollars. Their offense? Resigning before the start of the upcoming school year to take better jobs with public schools in the Greater Boston area.
“It was shocking, hurtful and, of course, very stressful to get that letter,” said Matthew Kowalski, a high school history and economics teacher. “I felt I was a good employee at Mystic Valley for seven years. I didn’t run out on my responsibilities. I didn’t leave the school in a damaging way. I can only assume they are coming after me to scare other teachers because they lose so many teachers every year.”
Anyone who thinks more charter schools is a good thing is a moron. You know what’s not good for kids? A brand new faculty every year. Charter schools have insane turnover rates because no one with any self respect or desire to own a home would ever work at a charter school. It’s a stepping stone for inexperienced Teach for America 22 year olds so they can throw it on their resume before making a killing in the private sector.
Kowalski worked in the business world for five years before deciding to become a teacher. He taught in a Catholic school and then earned a master’s degree in education at Boston College. He landed a job at Mystic Valley in the fall of 2009, heading there with a positive impression of charter schools.
“I saw some of the good things they are doing, but also a lot of problems with the system,” he said. “A big one is that teachers feel powerless. Their opinions are not always valued. A lot of decisions about the curriculum are made by the trustees, who for the most part don’t have any background in education — at least not in the classroom.”
“Decisions about the curriculum are made by the trustees.” That’s because charter schools do not have elected school committees. Thus they are not governed or overseen by the people. Yet the taxpayers finance them out of their own pockets. When you’re run by an elected board of “trustees” they get to decide what kids learn. Look no further than Seven Hills Charter School in Worcester, which has been taken over by social justice warriors who force their kids to hold plagiarized signs about microaggressions that they stole from Buzzfeed:
So what this teacher is experiencing is not surprising in the least.
The grinding schedule at the school also presented problems for family life. The school year is a month longer and the school day is an hour longer at Mystic Valley than at most public schools, and the teachers there have no job security. With three children under the age of 6 and another one due in November, Kowalski was eager to get a more stable job in a public school. Because they are not in a union, charter school staff members are at-will employees. At Mystic Valley, employees have to sign a new contract each year, no matter how long they have worked there. The contract for 2016-17 stipulates: “The School reserves the right to terminate this agreement at any time, for reasons it determines are in the best interests of the School.”
So basically they have about the same amount of rights as a unskilled industrial worker in a factory in 1872. No self respecting person with a family and a mortgage would ever consider working for an employer that could arbitrarily get rid of them without ANY recourse. Not even an HR department. You’re completely on your own. I mean, if you’re anti-union, I get it. But who is gonna teach at these schools? You’re not gonna have ANY qualified people willing to put up with garbage like this. It’s gonna be a revolving door of 22 year old SJW’s. This is what “conservatives” are getting behind. Makes sense.
It goes on to say, “If Employee unilaterally terminates his/her employment with the School, Employee shall remain obligated to pay liquidated damages and to refrain from working in other sending district schools for the remainder of the school year.”
Wait…..what?? They make them sign non-compete agreements? You know who doesn’t sign non-compete contracts? People who work in the public sector. So if charter schools are really “public schools” then they wouldn’t be having their teachers sign non-compete agreements. So if you find a better job somewhere else you can’t take it because the charter school owns you? You know why they do this right? Because they know how much it sucks to work at a charter school. If they didn’t do this then their teachers would constantly be leaving in the middle of the year. What a scam.
It gets worse. One might think that this unusual clause must refer to employees who leave in the middle of the school year, but that’s not so. The school demands that employees sign the contract in the spring for the upcoming school year — and then pay damages for terminating the contract at any time after that.
“Last year, the contract for the following school year came out in April,” Kowalski explained. “I asked for more time because my wife and I were still considering our plans for the following year after we found out we’d be having another child.
“They gave me some extra time, but then I got called into the office and was given an ultimatum to sign by April 29 or give up my position,” he continued. “With three young children at home, I couldn’t risk not having a job in the fall, so I had to sign. It’s tough for teachers, because a lot of openings come up in May, June, July or even later, but I had to sign.”
In fact, many jobs do not become available until after June 15, the date by which districts in Massachusetts have to notify teachers who don’t have Professional Teacher Status that they won’t be rehired in the fall.
“I was offered a job in Walpole a couple of weeks after I signed at Mystic Valley,” Kowalski said. On May 20, exactly three weeks after I had signed the contract, I gave Mystic Valley written and verbal notice that I was offered this other job and I wanted to rescind my acceptance of the contract. I felt confident there were no damages. If I’d just been sent to a training because they expected I’d be back next year, maybe then I would understand that they’d want reimbursement. But there was nothing like that.”
In fact, Mystic Valley quickly hired Kowalski’s replacement, whom Kowalski trained and provided with all of his curricula and materials. He also assured students who were juniors that he would write their college recommendations in the fall, even after starting his new job. Mystic Valley administrators didn’t even sign Kowalski’s contract until two weeks after he had rescinded his signature. He was sure there wouldn’t be a problem.
“I was shocked in the middle of July to get a letter demanding a payment of over $6,000 for liquidated damages,” he said. “What damages?”
So just to review. The school came out with a contract in April. They gave him an ultimatum, and since he had another baby on the way he could not afford to take a risk that he wouldn’t have a job the next year, so he signed. Two weeks later he was offered a better paying job at a public school, so he signed on with them instead. But the charter school still hadn’t signed the contract, so he rescinded his signature. And then they signed the contract anyway, knowing he had no desire to work there and already had a new job. Just to be dicks. Just because they can. Just because they wanted to steal $6K from him on the way out.
Obviously most public schools aren’t gonna start hiring until the end of the school year when they know what positions will be available the next year. This is why charter schools make you sign contracts in April – because they want to put you in this position. This is how they treat their teachers.
This just proves once again that charter schools are NOT public schools. They’re paid for by tax dollars, but there’s nothing public about them. Public schools allow teachers to leave if they don’t want to be there any more. They are not legally allowed to force their teachers to sign contracts that forbid them from working for a competing charter school. But charter schools can. Even though they’re “public.” Makes sense.
You know why they’re trying to make this guy pay $6,000? Because it’s all about the money. He didn’t cost them any money. He didn’t receive any training from them before leaving the job. There’s no justifiable reason to try to get this from him except for the fact that they’re driven by profits. This is why people like Pitbull are opening charter schools. Yes, you read that right. Goddamn PITBULL the rapper owns a charter school:
Ya see all those suits behind him and holding the shovels? They’re the board of trustees. The investors. They’ve never spent a day in their entire lives working with kids, and don’t have any clue how actual education works. But they like money, and they use the front of “helping kids” to steal from the taxpayers. And morons fell for it.
Newflash conservatives – if you support charter schools then you’re not a real conservative. You’re a big government liberal. Because charter schools are brand new schools that come with brand new costs that are added to the budget. The public pays for this. But they also continue to reimburse the public schools for every student they lose to a charter school. In year 1 the sending school gets 100% reimbursement, followed by 25% reimbursement for the remainder of the student’s academic career. This is what “small government” apparently looks like.
All this story does is prove once again that charter schools are really just for-profit brainwashing academies that try to steal money from employees when they have the audacity to seek greener pastures. They don’t care about what is in the best interest of the kids, and they certainly don’t treat their teachers like professionals with Master’s Degrees.
Vote No on Question 2.
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