One of the reasons Ohio's charter schools perform so poorly is because they suffer from a large amount of annual teacher turnover. Classrooms are overpopulated with rookies learning on the job with few veterans to mentor them. This happens because underpaid quality educators get snapped up by traditional school districts, while charter operators like to churn their staff in order to keep payroll low. Everyone but the bottom line is a loser.
HB 2, the recently passed charter school reform bill, will make matter worse.
A last-minute addition to the state's charter school reform bill would block some teachers - those teaching at charters run by for-profit companies - from being part of the state pension system.
The change, which would apply only to new teachers at those schools and not to any current teachers, was a surprise amendment to House Bill 2 on Tuesday and drew angry complaints from some legislators and the Ohio Federation of Teachers.
Details about the change, how it came about and exactly who it would affect were difficult to verify last night as teachers unions and legislators made a flurry of phone calls to sort it out.
It's not complicated to understand why this was snuck into the bill at the last minute. Pushing charter school teachers out of the State Teachers Retirement System, and into social security will save a charter school operator about 8% on their payroll. Employers typically pay 14% into STRS on behalf of their employees, but only 6.2% into Social Security.
Because it will only apply to new employees charter operators will now be incentivized to fire existing staff, who have no union protections, and replace them with staff that are 8% cheaper. Further more, the closing of the door to STRS only makes becoming a teacher in a charter school even less appealing - further damaging the teaching quality.