Diane Ravitch wrote recently about the efforts in New York state by Gov. Cuomo to allow charter schools to hire and train their own teachers. While I have many reservations about charter schools, I weathered a barrage of criticism and weighed in on this hot topic in several places in the comments section of this post on her blog.
A sample comment:
One final point about Diane’s statement:
“Charters need to hire uncertified teachers because they churn through teachers and need newcomers who can devote long hours to the job without the diversion of a family.”
And, please, before reacting to this, read my just posted reply to jcgrim, Kate, and Bill Whitten above!
Possibly the reason that they need this kind of “slave labor” is because the social problems in poor communities are so intractable…
Sometimes it takes heroic efforts by an ongoing group of people who individually get burned out and pass the torch on to others in order to make progress on tough social problems. These situations usually do not afford the luxury of allowing people to work 9 to 5 and then turn things off and go home to their families
This is where the union mentality that all teachers have to be exactly the same blows up (“one for all and all for one” as the head of a local union here said to me recently).
As Bill said, don’t call these people “teachers,” but, at the same time, if it takes a heroic effort to make progress, don’t punish people who are willing to do this by restricting their work due to the spite of people who don’t want to look bad because some people are working much harder than them.
We should all realize that this effort is unsustainable and not use it as an excuse to punish people who have family commitments. At the same time we should not use family commitments of older people as a reason to prevent young single people from trying their best to better society.