Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Outrageous "Class" Sizes at a Virtual Charter School

An experienced teacher who took a job with an online (virtual) charter school corporation wants to blow the whistle on unbelievable conditions under which these teachers labor.
I have an MS in Education and two areas of special education. I have endorsements in eight specialty areas. I have obtained certification in 11 states in order to teach for Connections [a Pearson Learning company]. I have been a public educator, pre-school through college, for more than 25 years.

During the month of September, I have had between 1300-1500+ students in my courses. I have had a total of about 1900 students move through my courses this past month. Recently a "small number" of students were moved to a new hire teacher. She has approximately 1300 students, and I now have 1100 students in approximately 80 sections. These sections are throughout the nation with students in various levels of Elementary through 12th grade. I also have had approximately 360 SPED students in my courses at any one time. I have about 250 at this time.

By the way, I am not receiving more compensation for this huge case load of students. I do not have a contract. I am paid $20,000 a year less than I was paid when I left my brick and mortar school. Connections Learning teachers do not receive retirement benefits. There is no union for virtual teachers.

As a teacher with integrity, I am appalled and don't know where to turn. I have had dialogues with Connections administrators and with Connections HR, sharing my concerns, to no avail. My student numbers have increased by 100 students just this week. 500 students were moved last week to the new teacher.

Stories such as these can be multiplied hundreds of times as the virtual charter school juggernaut rolls on.

Gene V Glass
Arizona State University
National Education Policy Center
University of Colorado Boulder

The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not represent the official position of the National Education Policy Center, Arizona State University, nor the University of Colorado Boulder.