After we ran an innocent little piece encouraging teachers to take photos of their classes for Gotham Charter Schools, we received this message:
You need explicit permission to take photographs in a school building and any employee who does so without it runs risk of dismissal. Employees also need explicit permission from parents or guardians of any students if you are going to publish their photos.
In this climate, teachers whipping out their prohibited cell phones and sending photos to Gotham Charter Schools is not the best of ideas.
I never take photos in the building, only from the street, and I never take photos of students. When I did video projects with my kids last year I got written consent forms from every parent before sharing them with anyone.
We certainly understand that teachers can get into trouble for taking photographs without permission from administration or releases for minor students. In fact, we received another email stating that a principal went crazy when a teacher procured a grant for his school. The principal observed him every day, placed multiple letters in his file, and is now trying to fire him.
But, dear readers, isn't that a good thing? The more ineffective teachers we can write about, fire, or whatever, the more charters we can open, and the more money we can get from Gates and Walmart to keep this great site going. Here's another letter:
Why do you always write about charter schools? Don't you know that 94% of city students go to public schools?
Here at Gotham Charter Schools, we write about all charter schools, not just the Moskowitz schools. We love the Moskowitz schools! They are the best! But we take no position on them one way or the other. Our editorial policy is this---no matter how much money we get from Gates, or Walmart, or DFER, we cover charter schools wall to wall, even if they aren't run by Moskowitz.
Because that's just the kind of folks we are here at Gotham Charter Schools!