…What we have here is a combination of non-union workers’ helplessness in the face of the arbitrary actions of dictatorial bosses who tolerate no challenge from their employees, combined with the right-wings tendency to blame the ills of our education system on teachers, or more specifically on the unions that represent teachers. The anti-union National Right To Work Foundation has formed a special organization to oppose teachers’ unions:
Like many government-sector professions, public education has long been dominated by compulsory unionism. To combat the serious threat to academic freedom that compulsory unionism poses, Concerned Educators Against Forced Unionism (CEAFU) was founded in 1975. As a special project of the National Right to Work Legal Foundation, CEAFU has been at the forefront in the battle against forced unionism in public education for 30 years. It is continuing to educate America’s teachers about the coercive agenda of the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers’ union hierarchies.
California Governor Schwarzenegger has put together his “Education Coalition,” and packed it full of right-wing, anti-union members. And the AFL-CIO Now reports that New York Governor Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others are trying to make it nearly impossible for the union to sign up members at charter schools
But New York is not the only place that charter schools have been used to attack teachers’ unions. Earlier this year, 7500 New Orleans teachers were fired, and all but four of the schools still exist in the city were transformed into charter schools which are exempt from union rules. The New Orleans Times Picayune describes how the non-union system is supposed to work.
Ed at the AFT on Eduwonk:
But today he mounts a wishy-washy defense of the New York Charter School Association’s (NYCSA) advocacy against holding charter schools to the same organizing rules used for private schools in New York. Frankly, I don’t think he has a leg to stand on. And, unless something has changed in his status, this is NYCSA Board Member Andy Rotherham standing behind his policy director Peter Murphy in advocating for the hard way. And doing it without disclosing his connection to the board. (Did someone say “To the Barricades”?)
I’ll just close by noting that DLC leading light Bruce Reed thinks card check is the way to go.
So, what does this say to me as a parent? While I’m sure that there must be good charter schools out there the overall conditions can’t bode well for a stable and consistent learning environment for children. Charter schools operate within an industry where standards for teacher compensation have been set by employers and unions, thus creating a “high road” approach for working conditions in this sector. When charter schools opt out of this approach they become no different than low road employers in any other industry.