If you can’t beat them, take them in and make them a part of you and you won’t need to beat them. You’ll own them. Teacher union officials are known for their open contempt of charter schools. That is only a façade which hides their deep desire to control education. If you can’t own something, denigrate it so it will seem you’re not interested, then move in and take it over. However they are not foolish enough to turn down an opportunity to gain more power, especially in these uncertain times. In Illinois this is to the advantage of teacher unions, as they prepare for an all-out assault on their forced dues privileges in the Janus v. AFSCME Local 31 case, due to be heard next month.
Additionally, charter schools which are private schools may be subject to unionization under the National Labor Relations Act, and not local state law.
As more parents and governments turn to charter schools to improve education outcomes, teacher union officials are seeking to co-opt the schools and their administration. There is no doubt teacher union officials still want to control who enters, stays and leaves education today in 2018 than there was in 1970 when then-NEA president George Fischer uttered those fateful words. Erik Kohn has the story in illinoispolicy.org.
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union, or CTU, have approved a merger with the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, or ChiACTS, a union that claims to represent 1,000 teachers and staff at charter school campuses in the Chicago area.
That’s not good news for charter school students and parents – or for charter school teachers themselves.
CTU has a history of working against the expansion of charter schools and any increases in the number of students who can utilize them. That stance wouldn’t seem to gel well with teachers who have dedicated years of their lives to working in charter schools.
CTU’s adherence to militant union strike tactics, as well as its work to stifle charter school options, will undercut the mission of charter schools and harm both students and teachers in the Chicago area.
CTU’s strike tactics have been harmful to students, parents and teachers
In 2012, CTU went on strike demanding higher wages, even though Chicago Public Schools already faced a $1 billion operating shortfall and an $8 billion pension shortfall.
In the short term, students missed instruction time, and students’ families were left in a lurch during the 2012 strike. Thousands of students had no place to go during the day while teachers were on strike.
The 2012 strike also had longer-term effects. After the strike ended, CPS announced it had to close 50 schools and lay off thousands of teachers to help reduce costs.
On April 1, 2016, CTU once again turned its back on students and parents by calling a one-day strike. What’s more, the union even punished teachers who chose to support their students that day. Joe Ocol, a teacher and chess coach in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood, went to school April 1 to coach his renowned chess team. But CTU did not look favorably on Ocol’s decision to prioritize his students over the union’s agenda, and it expelled him from the union.
The Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board subsequently found the strike was likely illegal. But the damage had already been done.
Then in September 2016, members of CTU voted to authorize yet another strike against CPS. The union prepared to strike, but a contract with CPS was negotiated before CTU once again decided to step out on students.