In a discussion about a charter teacher who acquiesced to practices that were objectionable, some readers asked why she didn’t complain or take action. This reader explains why teachers must sometimes accept the intolerable:
You are exactly right-easier said than done! Charter Schools are a company, a business. If you work for an employer then they expect loyalty. Imagine if people working in chicken processing plants, common around here, complained about the inhumane treatment of animals-you get fired. If you work for Hewlett Packard and complain about the outsourcing of jobs to other countries because there are unemployed people here-you get fired. If you have a job driving a truck and complain about the fact you are expected to be on time no matter how many hours you have to drive even if safety is compromised-you are fired.
The rules are such that if you need a job to feed your family, have an indoor place to live and any sort of so called benefits and you take a job doing something you find repugnant and complain-you get fired. In many areas of the country there are no other jobs or the job qualifications and educational background of a teacher are not valued by future employers.
I feel it isn’t so much that the Charters count on teachers being too timid to speak up, and while there are a few teachers who are choosing to remain ignorant so they do not have to deal with the moral conflicts, the Charters are just doing business as usual in the USA. We are being scapegoated as teachers and the public is apathetic for the most part or too lazy to find out the facts. The crisis in education is also competing for attention with the Presidential Election, the Olympics and Kim Kardashian. The people blaming teachers are counting on the fact that our American culture has an attention span of 3 minutes, our national literacy levels are low, people are dealing with the basic levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs dealing with poverty and until they SEE how this all directly affects them, humanity remains uninvolved. Sort of a reverse NIMBY-if it doesn’t affect me and is happening “Over there” it is unimportant; but the real problem is how America communicates information through talking heads who are seen as authorities and are many times idiots, by local elected officials who may or may not know what they are talking about etc… We have so many in business, politics and government who are willing to lie and distort the facts that humanity quit listening. We have so many dis-enfranchised voters, apathetic voters, people who don’t vote because it is inconvienent or they are too busy, thousands of military overseas whose ballots never make it to their state on time to be counted, laws enacted to prevent or make it harder to vote for some, an illiteracy rate that makes reading a ballot impossible for so many adults, incarceration rates and felony laws that remove huge numbers from the voting public FOREVER and a lack of public transportation is many many areas that even if you want to vote you have no way to get there!
Charters are counting on all this; the people who own them are counting on all this.