The BPS and the appointed Boston School Committee have granted two in-district charters to a nonprofit group called Unlocking Potential (UP). One of their charter schools has already opened up as UP Academy in what was formally the Gavin Middle School site. Another will open up on a yet-to-be-decided elementary school site in September 2012.
The charters, even though they are in-district, have tremendous leeway and autonomies under the new Ed Reform law. Autonomy to exploit, that is.
Of the 55+ newly-hired teachers at UP Academy, seven are former BPS teachers. One is a permanent teacher and six are provisionals. UP Academy is exploiting all staff by requiring them to work 642 additional hours for as little as $500. That’s 78 cents an hour.
Why are they exploiting our professional work staff? Because they can. UP told the BTU that the teachers are ‘happy’ to be working long hours for a good cause. We don’t deny it’s a good cause. We just think that UP is taking advantage of the staff, who would be a lot ‘happier’ if they were properly compensated. So what is the UP work schedule?
- Each teacher works a 185-day school year, at 9 hours per day.
- Plus 20 PD days, at 8 hours per day, in the summer.
- Plus another 5 PD days, at 8 hours per day, during the school year.
- Plus other sundry tasks.
This is exploitation (and a guarantee of burn-out) no matter how ‘happy’ UP management claims teachers are. In a way, it’s hard to blame UP. After all, UP is just taking full advantage of the new Ed Reform law.
But we can blame the school district for allowing this WalMart-like presence in our schools. After all, the district is supposed to know better–isn’t it? But if the district truly believes that this rank exploitation of the system’s professionals is good for morale, well, then the system’s leadership is truly out of touch. That’s the real shame.