Education, Pontiac, Teachers — April 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Pontiac for-profit charter cancels humiliating “Teacher Appreciation Week” activities


Yesterday, I wrote about the activities planned for teachers at the Arts and Technology Academy of Pontiac (ATAP), a for-profit charter school run by Mosaica. These “Teacher Appreciation Week” activities featured a variety of what can only be described as humiliating activities planned for the teachers to raise funds for the school. They included:

  • MANDIVA – Our 3 favorite male faculty members in heels for an hour
  • SAVE MY JOB – 3 faculty members will stand in the parking lot during dismissal and hold a sign.
  • CREAM FACIAL – Students will throw pie in 3 faculty members’ faces during an assembly.
  • KINDERGARTEN EXTREME MAKEOVER – A kindergarten student will do the hair and makeup of 3 faculty members.
  • TEACHER SWAP – Teachers will swap roles with office, custodial, and lunch staff for an hour. We will also send a high school teacher to elementary and vice versa.
  • LOOK WHAT THE STORK BROUGHT IN!! – 3 faculty members in bonnets, bibs, and pacifiers (just like a baby)

These were compulsory for all faculty members of ATAP according to an email sent out by principal and Chief Academic Officer Septembra Williams.

I was contacted by Ms. Williams and she provided me with this statement:

Thank you for your e-mails and concerns. Be advised that Teacher Appreciation Week has been cancelled. It was never ATAP’s intention to humiliate its educators. We are all committed to improving the lives of our students, parents and faculty. I consider this issue closed and will not respond in any further matter. If you are ever in the area, we welcome you to come and see the great things happening at ATAP.

Ms. Williams has been gracious to a number of the folks that contacted her and did offer me the opportunity to visit her school. While my work schedule precludes this, I am appreciative of the offer. I believe she has a problem she is unaware of regarding how teachers perceive the environment they are working in at ATAP.

It’s my hope that this situation will spark a more positive relationship between the faculty and administration of ATAP. The onus is largely on the adminstrators since the teachers are not currently represented by a union and many of them feel their jobs are at risk if they speak out. Time will tell if that relationship can be improved.

Our precious public school system is at risk by lawmakers who wish to turn the education of our children over to for-profit corporations and by the for-profit charter schools themselves that siphon tax dollars away from public schools making their situation even more perilous. I remain deadset against this model of educating our children because I don’t believe anyone should profit from our tax dollars for this important component of any modern society. The education of our children is our collective responsibility and when we introduce a profit motive into it, corners will be cut in order to benefit the corporate bottom line. It is my heartfelt opinion that making a profit has no place in the education of our children.

One more thing: if they are going to be serious about “Teachers Appreciation Week”, how about a fundraiser that exults and lifts up teachers rather than something that demeans them?