There are two primary models of teacher professional practices: the original model, which started in Minnesota and the union-compatible variation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While there are a number of differences between the models, made clear in the TPP Inventory, the following are the fundamental differences:
All the chartered schools in Milwaukee that are working with TPPs are instrumentalities of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS, the school district). Under Wisconsin law the charter must be issued to an individual, so typically the TPPs elect a lead teacher who signs the chartering contract on behalf of the school. MPS enters this contract with the school having the understanding that a teacher cooperative will be given the authority to manage or arrange for the management of the school. The teacher cooperative is formally approved to carry out these tasks via a waiver it receives from the master contract under a memorandum of understanding with the union and MPS. Every school is served by its own independent teacher cooperative.
In Milwaukee-model TPPs teachers’ economic life does not change. Teachers remain employees of, are essentially leased from, MPS. Teachers remain union members and maintain their district seniority, so they continue to receive their pensions and other benefits as negotiated and outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. Teachers who are de-selected by the TPP and those who choose to leave remain in the district pool for reassignment. Aside from salaries and benefits the TPPs (or a committee–often including parents and community members–put together by the respective TPP) create a budget to allocate the lump sum fee transferred from MPS to the school. The final budget must be approved by MPS. MPS also provides administrative services to TPPs for a two to three percent administrative charge which pays for testing services, audit reports, and building maintenance among other things.
In the original model, each chartered school is its own independent entity (not a district instrumentality). EdVisions Cooperative enters into separate contracts with a number of chartered schools throughout the state. There is one cooperative serving many schools (as opposed to Milwaukee’s one cooperative, one school). EdVisions delegates the authority given to it by contract to manage, or arrange for the management of, the school to a “site team” that works at the school.
Members of each site team collectively determine the salaries and benefits of their fellow team members, working within the limits of the lump sum fee that EdVisions Cooperative is paid by the chartered school (the site) to implement the learning program and administrate the school. Teachers sign at-will contracts for a specified period of time. This agreement may be terminated by mutual agreement, the election of the site team (with ratification by the EdVisions Cooperative Board), or for cause. If terminated teachers want work, they must seek it elsewhere. EdVisions arranges for benefits and provides administrative services for a fee that is a percentage of what the site team paid in salaries and benefits. In recent years the fee has been two percent. EdVisions site teams set the entire budget for the school they serve, often with a committee that includes parents and community members.
Aveson Educational Cooperative in California operates in a very similar way in terms of organization and employment. There is no re-delegation of authority to site teams. All members make decisions that govern both schools. All educational service providers are members of the Aveson Cooperative, including the office manager, plant manager, and so on. All members (including non-teachers) have equal input in determining compensation.