The $125,000 Question Will Soon Be Answered

The charter school I blogged about last year will be opening it's doors this September and the NY Times has the scoop on the $125,000 Dream Team. It will definitely be interesting to see the results of this ambitious experiment. In the mean time, the comments section of this article reveals some chilling attitudes about the state of education in our country:
How come middle class, good students are denied opportunities like this? I bet if the students at this school do well they will be showered with opportunities other kids who are already working hard will never be offered. One again, the middle class taxes pay for benefits the middle class never receives. Sorry, but I'm sick of this.
Yes, JG, who will fight for the poor, underprivileged middle class "good kids"? Your implication being that because the charter school is reaching out to students from the Washington Heights community who are low performing (a nice change from the M.O. of most charter schools who skim off the top, these students must therefore be bad. Surely, someone will find a way to prop up those middle class kids who are being denied so many opportunities. You're sick of this? The undercurrent of disdain for the students struggling in America's failing schools is too much for me to stomach.

Comments

This idea has always struck me as flawed since I first heard about it last year. First of all, teachers are not in it for the money. The article even states that the teachers of this school will not receive the same benefits as regular NYC public school teachers that "To make ends meet, teachers will hold responsibilities usually shouldered by other staff members, like assistant principals (there will be none). There will be no deans, substitute teachers (except for extended leaves) or teacher coaches. Teachers will work longer hours and more days, and have 30 pupils, about 6 more than the typical New York City fifth-grade class."

Okay, so no substitute means break-ups if someone is absent adding at least 5 students per 30 pupil class. No deans, no APs, etc. Who is going to deal with discipline issues and irate parents? The teachers alone? Just because a teacher has a sparkling and prestigious resume doesn't mean that they can CONNECT with our kids and if they can't connect, without the support of coaches, deans, and APs, they will burn out quickly.

I met one of the founders of this program last year and he was shocked when I told him you couldn't pay me enough to work at that school. He was also shocked to learn that if we really wanted to, regular public school teachers could make similar money by teaching after school, SES programs, summer school, etc. AND still get our union benefits.

I am bothered, because if this school fails, the children, NOT the teachers or administrators or benefactors, will be blamed. It's almost as if they want to prove that poor city children cannot be educated and it makes me sick.

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