Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Charter schools: Public or private?

Another Chicago charter has claimed it's a "private" school in order to stop its teachers from unionizing. The school has received $23 million in public funds since it opened in 2004. But eight months ago, a solid majority of the school's teachers voted to organize. The school's board, with backing from the charter school association and the Civic Committee, decided to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in hopes of stalling off union certification.
In papers filed with the National Labor Relations Board, attorneys for the Chicago Math and Science Academy on the city's North Side say the school should be exempt from an Illinois law that grants employees of all public schools the right to form unions for contract negotiations. -- Tribune
Teachers report threats by principal, Ali Yilmaz as well as the firing of a popular and well-respected teacher who was part of the union organizing drive.

In the same Trib article, University of Chicago's Tim Knowles is sounding more and more like Wisconsin's Gov. Walker, claiming that collective-bargaining rights for teachers are "a risk to those basic freedoms".

Rahm Emanuel, who is the poll leader in today's mayor's race, promises more of the same if he's elected.

Third-year teacher Kate Ostler says the process has brought many teachers closer together.
"We've built a real community here, and that's helped," she said. "We're sticking this out because we love the kids and we love what we do."

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