Writing in Education Week’s Living in Dialogue blog, teacher Darcy Bedortha writes about her experience as a K-12, Inc. teacher. She writes:
- For most of last year I was Lead Teacher at the school, which required me to attend national staff meetings each week. At first the marketing focus of the conversations turned my stomach, and then it made me furious …. the focus was often about enrollment, about data, about numbers of students who had not taken the proper number of tests, about ranking schools and ranking teachers … how to get more children enrolled, how to reach more families, how to be sure they were pre-registered for next year, how to get Facebook pages and other marketing information “pushed out” to students.
- The majority of the students at the school were lacking credits needed for graduation. [N]early 80 percent of our students were failing their classes. At that time there were 303 students (12 percent of the school) enrolled in special education programs – and 259 of them were failing while 17 had no grade at all. Eighty-two percent of the 9th graders were failing.
- Earlier last fall, due to the sudden need for a colleague to take leave I was handed his student load on top of my own. For a month I had 476 students on my rosters, in 30 different classes.
- Last year I had a student who never showed up to class, never turned work in, skimmed by on gaming the system with a phone call every few weeks, just enough to keep from being dropped from the rosters. … A week or so later, when I arrived for graduation an administrator pulled me aside to tell me that this student had passed “by the proficiency method” and would be graduating.