"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anna Eastman, Charter Schools and Age Discrimination

From Houston teacher Jesse Alred:
When a candidate runnning for office receives financial and tactical support from an interest group, it is certainly fair to ask them how they feel about standard practices of that group.

The same people who fund expansion of the KIPP and YES PREP charter schools are backing the school board candidacy of Anna Eastman in Houston's northside district 1 .

The evidence suggests charter schools favor hiring young, inexperience teachers, rather than career teachers. The average Texas charter-school teacher has less than five years of experience. The average teacher in these schools remain there for less than three years. KIPP's Mike Feinberg reportedly prefers hiring twenty-one year olds from an organization called Teach for America (TFA).

I tried an experiment two years ago. I applied for several KIPP jobs to see how I would be recieved. I was 46 years old then, had 13 years of experience, and had earned a Master's degree in History.

Moreover, I had 28 students in a working-class, Hispanic neighborhood pass Advanced Placement exams. Another year, I had 24 students pass, and in another, 16. Since KIPP and Yes pride themselves on serving mainly Hispanic working-class youth, I thought I would be a prime candidate at least to get an interview.

I did not get an interview, a call back or an e-mail. By contrast, two of the twenty-one year old Teach for America trainees I taught with during this past summer already had jobs with either the KIPP or Yes Prep schools.

As a liberal Democrat who participated in the Obama campaign, Ms. Eastman should speak up on the issue of ageism and discrimination which may be practiced overtly or covertly by these charter schools.


  1. Public schools also engage in rampant age discrimination, and it's worse now with all of this mantra of running school districts like businesses.

    Public education, to say nothing of charters, is a total disaster in this country.

  2. Anonymous2:57 PM

    I'd like to see more stories here on charter schools.