One of the reasons the UFT is able to engage with charter schools here in New York City is because of the rigorous screening process built into our charter school law. That same screening process means the proposal you go in with isn’t always the one you walk out with. But now that our charter school partnership with Green Dot has been approved by SUNY, we know more about how the school will work.
Green Dot’s charter school in the Bronx will be their first on the east coast. And as they come east, Green Dot will be changing how they’ve been doing things to match what we do here.
Health, welfare and retirement benefits will be identical to those offered to NYC teachers. A 10 percent increase in salaries. Collaborative decision-making that keeps teachers at the center of the school’s enterprise.
Once the school hires its employees, the UFT will negotiate a contract that ensures fair pay, fair treatment and workplace voice. We need to wait until teachers are hired at the school before getting started on the contract because that’s how labor law works, but Steve Barr has shown that he’s committed to work hand-in-hand with organized labor to put together a first-rate team of educators who are dead serious about creating great schools for disadvantaged students. The SUNY Trustees affirmed as much when they approved the application, commenting that it was one of the strongest proposals–and founding teams–they’ve encountered.
Our experience working with Green Dot staff over the last six months has only confirmed their commitment to partnership and good faith, and we look forward to a productive partnership that fulfills the promise of charter schools.