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National Alliance for Public Charter Schools: We’re Public, Except When We Ain’t

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools has made no secret of its antipathy toward teacher unions and teacher voice in charter schools, despite the growing presence of unionized charter schools in the charter school world. In the month since the public announcement of the innovative Green Dot NY–UFT contract, their blog has been unable to bring themselves to even mention its existence in their daily round-up of news stories involving charter schools. Over the same period of time, it has managed to cover not only every other news story, but every anti-union opinion piece it can find.

It was with some interest then that we noted the appearance — and quick disappearance — of a NAPCS blog post on the subject of “Card Check” and Charters, submitted by NAPCS staffer and lawyer Tiffani Tatum. Notices of the post were sent to Facebook and Twitter, and appeared in Google Reader. But when one followed the link at the end of the notice, one ended up on a NACPS web page which declared “access denied.” Twenty-four hours later, one still ends up on the same page when following the link, and all mention of the original post has been expunged from the NACPS blog.

Here is the content of the notice, with the link:

“Card Check” and Charters
from Blogs | National Alliance for Public Charter Schools by sjohnson
Submitted by Tiffani Tatum on July 22, 2009 – 5:01pm

Despite reports of a possible re-write (see below), the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) remains stalled in Congress. Advocates and opponents alike agree that, if enacted, EFCA will dramatically change the unionization process in the private sector. Even though charter schools are public schools, some states classify their charter school employees as private sector employees, which means that up to a third of states with charter schools could be impacted. A quick primer/update:

As the bill is currently written, EFCA:

read more

So what did NAPCS have to say on the subject that suddenly was no longer fit for public eyes? Could it be that just as charter schools are public schools, except when denying their public status might be used in an effort to forestall the right of teachers to organize and bargain collectively, NAPCS anti-union discourse on the subject is fit only for private eyes? Inquiring minds need to know.

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2 Comments:

  • 1 jd2718
    · Jul 24, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Smoking guns are cool… but this is not so interesting. Google quickly found the cached version. Here’s the complete text (I didn’t copy links to the Times, The Atlantic, or TPMDC):

    Despite reports of a possible re-write (see below), the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) remains stalled in Congress. Advocates and opponents alike agree that, if enacted, EFCA will dramatically change the unionization process in the private sector. Even though charter schools are public schools, some states classify their charter school employees as private sector employees, which means that up to a third of states with charter schools could be impacted. A quick primer/update:

    As the bill is currently written, EFCA:

    * Eliminates the requirement of a secret ballot in the unionization process, instead certifying unions based on card check;
    * Imposes interest arbitration, where an independent negotiator establishes a binding 2-year contract if the parties are unable to negotiate or mediate a new contract within 120 days after a union is certified;
    * Increases penalties for employers accused of violating labor laws to up to $20,000; and
    * Forces the National Labor Relations Board to more aggressively seek federal court injunctions in instances of alleged violations.

    Last Friday the New York Times reported that key senators were prepared to jettison the card-check provision in an attempt to get a cloture-proof 60 votes for passage of an overall bill. (A slimmed-down EFCA might include the following: a shorter timeline for elections; mail-in elections instead of on-site elections; and the requirement that employers who hold meetings at work allow equal time to unions. It’s not clear whether arbitration would remain; business groups dislike it as much as card-check and a US Chamber official thinks it would prevent supporters from gathering 60 votes.

    But negotiations continue, and so does activism. SEIU leader Andy Stern today started a petition drive urging Congress to reconsider card-check (or “majority signup”). Even if it’s not put back into the bill draft, the move might force legislators into an up-or-down vote on the provision itself.

    The conventional wisdom is that another push to pass the bill will be made before the end of the summer.

  • 2 Bsagna
    · Aug 6, 2009 at 1:57 am

    Charter Schools

    My friend is teaching in a charter school; an academically rigorous college preparatory high school dedicated to the acceleration of academic success and development of leadership among their young men and women around New York City. It mission is to implement an academically rigorous curriculum that will raise the students intellectual capacity, provide them with a superior high school education and prepare them for higher education. But the United Federation of Teacher (UFT) and the Department of Education (DOE), and the City of New York are not giving protection to charter school teachers.

    The past two years, Leadership Charter School obtained fabulous achievements: renovating its building to comply with NYC Department of Building codes, its number of enrolled students passed from 88 to 150 in 9th through 12th grades. The school allocated two faculty members for every 22 students. They provided instruction and academic support for students. The school has 1:25 teacher to student ratio. They generated last year sixty-six percent of the students were accelerated in science and passed the Biology/Living Environment Regents, sixty-two percent in accelerated Algebra and passed the Math A/Algebra Regents. The school achieved its educational goals and objectives in year of service. It strived to provide an academic program of study that aligned to performance standards with clear data driven measures of progress.

    In addition, in Leadership Charter School the teachers begin their school day at 7:30 and end at 4:30 pm. They provide a total of 250 days of instruction. In top of that, the Charter School teachers teach on Saturdays as well as after school program. The teachers must be certified by the Department of Education. If the teacher is not certified, he must have a requirement of 3 years of teaching position in NYC in order to work within Leadership Charter School. Fingerprint is taken by the Department of Education and clearance. Teachers teach according to the DOE and the NY curriculum standards.

    Unfortunately, teachers like my friend do not have a Union, which will represent, protect and defend their professional interests. A teacher can be fire at any time as description of the principal. They work over contract; every year, the contract is renew as the school administrations consider that the teacher is doing well in his subject.

    Charter schools are public school with special students who require sometime assistance beyond the school curriculum. But charter schools employees are classified as private sectors employees. It is deplorable to see that for the same service a group of people get a better protection than others. Just an example, a teacher provides 180 days of instruction in New York City public school. And in the same city, a charter school (public school) a teacher dedicates 250 days. Charter schools deliver an excellent education for New York’s youth, it is important that teachers have the right to be organize as union to identify themselves as active educators.

    In conclusion, I urge that the DOE, the UFT and all educational entities to provide charter schools’ professionals the support they need, to continue raising our children education. They should work the same amount of time, same social advantages (health insurance) as their colleagues in “regular” public schools. These teachers deserve a better treatment because they been succeeding, and making a lot sacrifices for their students social and educational success.