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Chicago Teachers Union moves in to snuff out reform, hope in charter schools

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From The New York Times:

In a trend that worries charter school operators, teachers at 12 of Chicago’s charters have formed unions over the past two years, and the Chicago Teachers Union is seeking to organize all 85 of the schools.

Union leaders say the growing charter movement is changing the landscape of public education and, with its disdain for unions, could leave teachers without a strong voice on issues like working conditions, teacher evaluations and curriculum.

Administrators and operators are battling back, arguing that unionization could undermine the basic premise of the charter school model: that they are more effective because they are free from the regulations and bureaucracies that govern traditional public schools.

The piece downplays the danger this poses to the charter schools' effectiveness, but the trend is important to note. Chicago's union is particularly notorious for its insistence on as few school days and school hours — as little instructional time — as possible.

Although unions have not proven disastrous in charter schools in other locations, the CTU's involvement here is rightly setting off alarm bells.

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