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Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion
Tue Feb 22nd 2011, 09:09 PM
and it looks just like that school wants to have it both ways. It wants the benefits of being called a "public charter"...over $23 million in benefits since its founding in 2004.

But it doesn't want its teachers unionizing, so now it is claiming to be a private school. Seems to me it wants to have things both ways.

From Mike Klonsky's blog:

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".

Here is more on the topic from The Chicago Tribune.
Charter school says it's private, though it gets millions in tax dollars

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.

The school of about 600 students is appealing an unfavorable decision by a regional director of the national labor board. Academy officials say charter schools don't have the governmental ties that characterize public schools, such as government-appointed leadership or controls over wages, hours and working conditions. In other words, they say, the same freedoms over personnel and policy that many credit to charter schools' success are also indicative of their independence.

It's a provocative argument, particularly in Chicago, where organized labor is woven into the city's social and political fabric. Education experts say this dispute between the academy and its teachers believed to be the first to test a charter school's independence at the national level underscores a rising tension between charters and traditional public schools coexisting under Chicago Public Schools, the nation's third-largest school district.

"They have been guarded and protective, and the prospect of a labor contract is a risk to those basic freedoms," said Timothy Knowles, director of the Urban Education Institute at the University of Chicago. "That's why charters have been reluctant to go there and have fought efforts to organize."

I feel for Chicago schools right now. Rahm promised if he were elected mayor (and looks like he might be) he would close 35 public schools. He plans to turn them around into charter schools.

Here's the latest Rahm bomb

He promises even more arbitrary school closings in black and Latino communities, turning them over to private management companies under the failed Race To The Top policies he helped engineer in Washington.

The so-called "turnaround" process, handing neighborhood schools over to operators like Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), has only served to widen the city's achievement gap and expand the two-tier school system we have always known in the Windy City.

While Emanuel won't commit to sending his own children to any AUSL-run schools, or to any other public school period, he giddily promised, at a press conference on Tuesday, to "turnaround" and hand over to companies like AUSL 35 more local public schools. Where did he get the number 35? Has he studied each school (he doesn't name them) to see what their specific needs are? Are they really "failing"? Does he know the impact the "turnaround" process will have on the surrounding community? Of course not.

Victims of the current "turnaround" process are mainly hundreds of teachers and students who fell victim to the ensuing instability and chaos. A study out of the University of Chicago's Consortium for Chicago School Research showed that for all but 6% of the displaced students, there were no significant learning gains. The other 94% ended up in some of the city's worst schools and made no measurable gains in learning.

The war on unions is escalating now. I remember when Howard Dean said firmly that unions helped build the strong middle class in this country. He is nowhere to be seen on the topic of WI right now.

I don't see any strong voices among Democratic leadership speaking out strongly, firmly....that there will be no union busting.

Detroit is closing half its schools, other states are growing their efforts to bring in more charters.

I feel sad that there is so little opposition.

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