There are countless issues with the Coastal Community Foundation’s Reimagine Schools proposal, which would potentially privatize a fourth of the schools in Charleston County. However, one issue that needs to be highlighted is how Reimagine Schools and similar proposals around the country disrespect teachers and assume they are the problem.
In the case of Reimagine Schools, the proposal has a goal of keeping a third of the teachers in the schools. Likely, if this followed the similar patterns of privatization, all teachers would have to reapply for their jobs and those who are “re-hired” would have to go through a special training from whatever private management company is in charge. Some teachers who have decades of teaching will have to be lectured on how to teach from instructors like Teach for America alumni who taught for a total of two to three years and think they know the secrets of education.
This infantilization of teachers in Title 1 schools is already happening. Part of the issue is that in a time of a teacher shortage, these schools tend to have particularly high levels of teacher turnover, so they do have more new teachers and teachers that are coming through alternative certification. These teachers do need real training and assistance, but in the process, experienced teachers are treated with little respect or professionalism. This becomes a vicious cycle and pushes experienced teachers out of Title 1 schools who need these teachers the most. This is of course not the case in every school, but it is an issue in many.
The mere narcissism that a group of wealthy individuals who have little to no experience in teaching think the issue is just re-training teachers is beyond demeaning to professionals who have dedicated their lives teaching children. It is an easy “fix” instead of actually addressing how school choice, segregation, and inequality have created many of the issues for schools in CCSD. They do not want to deal with these issues, so it is easier to blame teachers and believe the magical thinking that privatizing schools will make everything perfect.
If the school board actually respected teachers, they would not give Reimagine Schools any legitimate consideration. However, it is unfortunately not teachers who are funding their campaigns. It is time to treat teachers like professionals and not allow a group of out-of-touch elites to infantilize them.