As reported in last week’s New York Teacher, educators at Merrick Academy-Queens Public Charter School overwhelmingly petitioned for representation by the UFT, and we’re moving quickly to make this a reality. Their action follows the recent decision by charter educators in Buffalo and Yonkers to unionize.
We often write about the original intent of charters, describing Al Shanker’s proposal for accountable schools of choice in which educators are free to innovate and exercise professional judgment. But as the teachers at Merrick found, their voice was muted without the legitimacy afforded by a “seat at the table.” This group of first-rate educators concluded that responsibility must be shared throughout the school community in order to generate a broad sense of ownership and high achievement. Out of a deep commitment to their students, they acted to make Merrick a better school instead of simply seeking employment elsewhere. These are the hallmarks of professionalism and we welcome Merrick’s employees to the UFT’s growing family.