One of the fatal flaws the charter schools and their media allies try to hide is the extremely high teacher turnover they experience. The charter schools average a 41% teacher turnover rate from one year to the next and the Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy it's even higher with a 60% teacher turnover rate annually, compared to a 18% turnover rate in the City public schools. It is common for students to have two or more teachers during the school year and many of them are uncertified as well.
Most of the teachers that charter schools recruit come from Teach for America and only received a seven week training session in pedagogy. These recent college graduates usually have no teaching certification or experience and last two years or less in the profession, some never getting their teaching license. Moreover, the few experienced teachers the charter schools hires are teachers that had either been discontinued or had 3020-a charges and lost their right to teach in DOE schools. For these teachers its usually jumping from one charter school to another and yet another as they are not rehired for the next school year or they are wary of the working conditions, such as an extended day, inferior benefits, and a longer year. Not to mention overbearing parents.
Having friends who work in charter schools they tell me that the charter school administrators don't appreciate their teachers and think of them as transient replaceable parts. Teachers that aren't available 24 hours a day during the extended school year, including weekends, can expect to be replaced by an uncertified "newbie" and it matters little that the replacement can't teach. In charter schools, the term professional educator is replaced by the revolving door of adults who use the position as a stepping stone to a better future. Therefore, the charter school reliance on hiring from Teach for America.
The New York Daily News published an opinion piece from a charter school parent who removed her daughter from the charter school because of the school's high teacher turnover. According to the parent she was tired of seeing good teachers leave for the suburbs or the City public schools because of better working conditions, union benefits, and a right to tenure and she can't blame them one bit. Furthermore, the wave of "baby boomer" retirements over the last few years at the City public schools and an improving economy opened up public school teaching positions for those inexperienced teachers who intend to make teaching a lifetime occupation. They were snatched up by the public schools who, due to tight school budgets, and DOE policies that discriminate against veteran teachers, can hire the charter school teacher at a much the lower salary.
The bottom line is that with an looming teacher shortage and even less college graduates applying to Teach for America, where will the charter schools get qualified teachers? The answer is that they won't be able to and that will result in the hiring of more uncertified people and a continued decline in these schools of their students failure to achieve their academic potential and that is the fatal flaw charter schools suffer from.
Note: This Bronx charter school is firing 11 of its 15 teachers, or 75% of the teaching staff. You can read the story Here.