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desert flower's Message:

I've been at at charter school for 18 years. (Not for profit) Ours operates just like a regular school district with highly qualified teachers. We work 9 hour days Monday through Thursday. Our pay is pretty much the same as the regular district. We are one of the top charter schools in our state, and I'm in a small town. Best wishes on your decision.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
kitekrazy 07-08-2018 04:26 PM

I've asked about this same subject before. It is hard to research information on public and charter schools.

PoppySeed1110 06-22-2018 04:53 AM

I am biased because I've worked at a Charter school. Make sure to do as much research as possible.

My experience was rough. I quit because my main issue was that the administration took advantage of the staff. (Taking away excessive amounts if preps. I only had five total for the month of April and that included afternoon preps. Putting students who assaulted you back in your classroom same day, being sent home for "inappropriate" attire even though you wore that outfit on several occasions previously.

The we're also relentless with observations. I had 12 this year, and I was even observed during snack time.

I really felt like a terrible educator this year. I was even criticized for the volume of my voice during instruction time. (I had always be complimented on my ability to project my voice)

Over half the staff has resigned at the end of the school year and I found out that this is normal since this school opened. And the administration have done nothing to boost morale.

Any school you work at will have challenges but you need to be mindful and careful of how your rights will be treated. My experience was bad, but I'm sure not all charters are as rough. If I planned on staying in the profession. I would need protection (i.e. a union) which is why I switched to public.

Good luck with your search.

smannes 06-17-2018 05:33 AM

Please research the charter. It’s great to ask people their opinion but, really, charters vary greatly between states, counties and/or cities. There is SOOO much misinformation and generalization out there about charters. We can all tell you our experience but it will most likely be different for the school you’re considering.

For example, these are some things that most people will say about a charter school (mostly negative):

  • You have to work longer hours. Not always true. I work at a charter school and spent way less time working than I did when I was at a public school. It’s a ghost town by 3:30.
  • You won’t get the same benefits. Not true. I get the same health benefits as my public school teacher friends.
  • You won’t pay into retirement. Not true. We do.
  • The school is run and operated by a business. Not always true. I’m at a public charter and are not for profit.
  • Your pay is going to be considerably less. Again, I make the same as the state scale. This isn’t always true for all schools but my schools values it for teachers.
  • Charter schools have high turnover rate. Not always true. This year we lost 1 teacher but only because his family was moving and he needed to move with them to secure child care. We’ve actually doubled the size of our elementary and we have have waiting lists for all grades K-10 (no waiting list at 11-12).
  • You won’t belong to a union. Well my state doesn’t have unions so that’s not even a factor.

In addition, we test way less than the public schools. We are only required to do BOG, EOG, EOC. Those are state required. We don’t have to do any additional benchmark assessments unless we want to.

We also don’t have a bazillion meetings a week. We have maybe one a month, if that, unless you have volunteered (true volunteered, not voluntold) to start up or be on a committee.

All this to say that everyone has a different understanding/experience with charter schools. It’s best you inquire with the charter school itself to ask specific questions.
EarthMonkey 06-16-2018 07:00 PM

Charter schools have high turn over compared to public schools. What I have heard is no curriculum provided (expecting you to write and develop your own). Longer hours, no due process, no seniority, and lock step expectations. Now that is probably not all of them but, I would investigate very carefully before going for charter.

Newto3s 06-16-2018 10:12 AM

I don't know if you're new to teaching or not. As you didn't mention it. I would go charter. I was a teacher in a public school district for a decade. I was moved around consistently. The pension was shot to bits (I would have to retire at 82 to get an ok pension and I started teaching in my early 20s) and the healthy care was ok when I started, but in the end I was on private insurance (I was healthy and single). The pay was good on paper, but there were a lot of weird expectations and terrible families and students. For example, I was "culturally insensitive" when looking out for the students and being a mandated reported. However, I could be cursed at and disrespected, but it was ok because I am white. Moving to a religious private school (I am religious) was life changing to me. Public schools are not the be all to end all.

desert flower 06-15-2018 11:56 PM

I've been at at charter school for 18 years. (Not for profit) Ours operates just like a regular school district with highly qualified teachers. We work 9 hour days Monday through Thursday. Our pay is pretty much the same as the regular district. We are one of the top charter schools in our state, and I'm in a small town. Best wishes on your decision.

Haley23 06-15-2018 02:15 PM

I would choose public over charter, no contest. I know many people who have worked for charters IRL and have heard horror stories about really low paid, firing people mid-year for ridiculous reasons (i.e. a parent complains), ridiculous rules, long hours, etc. Especially if the public school has a union, I would choose that.

I do have ONE friend (of the 15 or so people that I know with charter experience) who left our school this past year to work in a charter and is happier. However, there are several factors to that. My school is very low SES, which obviously comes with significant behavior and academic challenges.

She moved to a charter in an extremely wealthy neighborhood with 0% free and reduced lunch. Her charter has a waiting list of 1,000 students. Her lowest student scored one year above grade level on end of year testing. Children with significant behavior challenges are kicked out, and they don't accept students with significant disabilities. She also was able to negotiate a significantly higher salary than she got at our school (which is also the only time I've heard of a charter paying more).

She does have to deal with helicopter parents and the hours are longer, but it's worth it to be in the significantly easier environment and making more money. I think her case is extremely rare. It doesn't sound like your case would be similar since it seems like both schools are low SES.

Kinderkr4zy 06-15-2018 05:48 AM

I moved the other way. I started at private school because I wasn't fully credentialed. After a few years I started m credential program and when I finished I got hired at a charter school. It was a hot mess. long days with a lot of needing to come in on Saturdays. We had no curriculum or pacing guides and no budget for supplies was given. We had major additional duties like SST coordinator and running 2 books fairs a year and coaching multiple after school sports teams and none of this was paid or given a stipend and they were not voluntary and you did even get to pick which one you did. Also We were not supported at all. The pay was much lower than public schools and we had no union or collective bargaining. We also had no tenure or job security at all. The Principal had never been an admin before and was totally not ready to be a principal. I heard she was a great teacher once-well she was a terrible admin. They also kept costs down but having 2/3 of the staff as interns so the whole staff was in survival mode all the time.

My switch to public was heavenly by comparison. When people at my school complain now I always think how good we have it compared to charter school teachers.

marguerite2 06-15-2018 03:30 AM

You are just starting your career, and may move to different jobs, but sometimes people stay in one place for all of most of their working life. Is there a pension plan? Do you pay into social security?

Also consider health benefits.

cemsnowy4 06-15-2018 03:19 AM

I have heard the charter schools are longer hours and less pay. We get a lot of teachers that leave the charter school to teach in public for those reasons.

Humblegirl 06-14-2018 08:44 PM

Is there anyone who chose a charter over a public school?
I got offers from both and neither of them are my favorite. (urban schools, low Glassdoor reviews, etc.)

At my interview at the charter, they complained why itís that hard to get highly qualified teachers. I wanted to ask back,(but I didnít) ďThen why do you have that low employee satisfaction rates?Ē

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