Teachers unions and charter schools | IN 60 SECONDS

Teachers unions and charter schools | IN 60 SECONDS

In December 2018, for the first time,
teacher strikes ensnared a charter school network. This was seen by many as
another sign that unions are coming for charter schools.
Indeed, unions have worked avidly to organize more charter school teachers.
Are they succeeding? Nope! During the past decade, the share of
unionized charters has actually declined. What’s the story? Well, it’s tough for
unions to organize charter teachers when union leaders are busy treating charter
schools as a political pinata, and a target during teacher strikes and
legislative fights. It’s also not clear that unions think charters are ultimately
worth the trouble! Charter schools tend to be small, account
for just a tiny fraction of all teachers, and typically require unions to work
school-by-school, rather than by organizing whole school districts at a
time. Charters have much to offer teachers frustrated by district
bureaucracies, but this has been too rarely celebrated — or communicated — by
advocates. Whatever the unions do, that’s one place charters need to do much
better. Do you think it’s good or bad for charter schools to be unionized? Let us
know in our poll. Also, let us know what other topics you’d like our scholars to
cover in 60 seconds, and be sure to like and subscribe for more research and
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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. Provided that the union does not become the sole point of entry into the charter schools. In many areas, teachers are forced to join the unions, as only unionized teachers are allowed to teach in schools. This is an unacceptable coercive tactic. The same with mass transit in many areas, and we see that good staff are driven away by being forced to take the same wage as the most unproductive employee. By unionizing many of the wages become fixed, and this means that genuinely good employees simply do not stay.

  2. A union in a single charter school is perhaps wasteful and unnecessary. Wasteful because it makes teachers pay union dues; and, it imposes a state required structure on the relationship between the teachers and the school. Unnecessary because charter schools are generally smaller and the relationship between a teacher and the administration is likely to be rather different than that of a teacher and the administration in a large school. I think that as long as the teachers' contracts are clear, a union would not be necessary. On the other hand, perhaps a teachers' association might be helpful as it would give teachers a chance to discuss common problems and share information between both themselves and the administration. A teachers' association could also be helpful to teachers by providing information, in lay person's language, about income taxes, retirement plan options, medical coverage plan options and such.

  3. Teachers Unions as they stand are a huge problem, if, perhaps, the charter school had its own union, or even just smaller unions covering several charter schools, it might be good, as long as individual teachers were not obligated to join the union. The teachers unions impose undue rules and regulations upon the teachers, including wage control. I live in NYS and was going to become a teacher, I have all of my qualifications complete apart from student teaching, but the head of the teachers association for one of the fields I was getting certified in does not like me, and began failing me as soon as she heard my political beliefs (she also failed all the other men in that class apart from the teacher for 9 years, and the one she was hitting on throughout the entire year). Since the teacher blocked me from student teaching, I cannot work in any unionized school district here, even the one that wanted to hire me before she blocked me. I was able to get a position as a substitute at a school despite the union rules, but even then the union rules limited me to working 40 days a week, and limited my hourly wage to 18.50 an hour, which was the standard starting wage for subs in that district. With those limitations I ended up leaving to get a job as a senior software engineer at a small company (I have 10+ years of experience in the field, and wanted to teach it), but even still, the district is unable to have skilled technical teachers, they couldn't match the tiny (for the field) hourly wage I am getting at this company that is horribly underpaying me for my work, how do they expect to be able to hold any computer science teachers if they can make way more in industry?

    A charter school may have an even worse time of it, as the school is then forced to ensure every single one of its teachers follows all union rules, and they have lower actual wages for their teachers, and cannot pay teachers based on their performance. This results in teachers of more technical fields, such as math or computer science, being: unskilled, underperforming, leaving after a year or two, unsavory, or underpaid.

  4. Charter schools should be done away with all they do is take money out of the education system to give to billionaires like Betsy DeVos, who uses her position as Secretary of Education to line her own pockets.It's little wonder that her brother owns what ever they are calling his Blackwater private army now. They both owe their success to being the recipients of the welfare system for the wealthy that runs America.The standing of students in the USA is far below many other countries school systems the US ranking is below Estonia and Hungary.These liars think you should give your money to Betsy DeVos instead of the people who care for and educate your children.Re-unionise so that it's worth being a teacher, not doing so is stupid, but of course the uneducated do often appear stupid because they are uneducated just like Betsy DeVos wants them.

  5. Im definitely pro union but not at the expense of academics. Charters offer a better quality of education. It's unfortunate but not surprising the the government mismanages it.

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