Shawgi Tell: Countless U.S. Charter Schools Hire Many Uncertified Teachers
Dr. Shawgi Tell is a professor of education at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY. Tell focuses research on charter schools and school privatization. In this piece for Global Research, Tell unveils some research about the staffing of charter schools.
According to a 2018 state-by-state information chart from the Education Commission of the States, more than 25 states (including Washington, DC) either do not require charter school teachers to be certified or allow charter schools to hire a large portion of teachers with no teaching certification (see this).
And, on average, charter school teachers have fewer years of teaching experience and fewer credentials than their public school counterparts. They also tend to work longer days and years than public school teachers while generally being paid less than them. Further, many charter school teachers are not part of an employee retirement plan and are treated as “at-will” employees, which is linked to why nearly ninety percent of charter school teachers are not part of any organization that defends their collective interests.
A few examples of charter schools with uncertified teachers are worth noting. A May 30, 2019 article in The Palm Beach Post titled, “Underpaid, undertrained, unlicensed: In PBC’s largest charter school chain, 1 in 5 teachers weren’t certified to teach,” points out that the Renaissance Charter School chain in Florida routinely employed large numbers of substitute teachers and operated many schools where a quarter to a third of the teachers were not certified to teach.
Several years ago, one of the main charter school authorizers in New York State unilaterally further lowered teaching qualifications for teachers in charter schools. It willfully ignored numerous public demands to not further dilute teaching standards, prompting a lawsuit against its arbitrary actions.