Teacher Union Work Rules Make No Sense for Education
One of the fundamental reasons for establishing charter schools was to free teachers and administrators from the stifling regulation of a teacher union contract. The Beginning with Children charter school in New York City has once again demonstrated this need for education, not monopoly bargaining.
Jason Riley has the story in the Wall Street Journal
The Beginning With Children charter school in New York City announced that it will close next year because operating under union work rules has made it impossible to provide students with a decent education.
“Because the school converted from a traditional district school to a charter school in 2001, the board was bound by the [United Federation of Teachers] contract with the Department of Education,” reports the New York Post. In a letter to parents notifying them of the decision, the board wrote, “We had to carry many of the burdens of being a DOE school, but we could not enjoy the benefits and flexibilities that charter status normally allows.”
To understand how union work rules can impact the quality of a school, consider this passage from Steven Brill’s “Class Warfare,” in which he compares the teachers’ contracts at Harlem Success Academy, a high-performing charter school in New York City, and a traditional public school that share the same building space and teach kids from the same socio-economic background.
In the 2010, 29 percent of the students at the traditional public school were reading and writing at grade level, and 34 percent were performing at grade level in math. At the charter school, the corresponding numbers were 86 percent and 94 percent.