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  • The Union War on Charter Schools Annotated

    Great op-ed by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Jay Greene on big labor’s war against education reform in the WSJ yesterday. We don’t have much too add, but we did go ahead and provide links to the studies he cites:

    On education policy, appeasement is about as ineffective as it is in foreign affairs. Many proponents of school choice, especially Democrats, have tried to appease teachers unions by limiting their support to charter schools while opposing private school vouchers. They hope that by sacrificing vouchers, the unions will spare charter schools from political destruction.

    But these reformers are starting to learn that appeasement on vouchers only whets unions appetites for eliminating all meaningful types of choice. With voucher programs facing termination in Washington, D.C., and heavy regulation in Milwaukee, the teachers unions have now set their sights on charter schools. Despite their proclamations about supporting charters, the actions of unions and their allies in state and national politics belie their rhetoric.

    In New York, for example, the unions have backed a new budget that effectively cuts $51.5 million from charter-school funding, even as district-school spending can continue to increase thanks to local taxes and stimulus money that the charters lack. New York charters already receive less money per pupil than their district school counterparts; now they will receive even less.

    Unions are also seeking to strangle charter schools with red tape. New York already has the “card check” unionization procedure for teachers that replaces secret ballots with public arm-twisting. And the teachers unions appear to have collected enough cards to unionize the teachers at two highly successful charter schools in New York City. If unions force charters to enter into collective bargaining, one can only imagine how those schools will be able to maintain the flexible work rules that allow them to succeed.

    Matt Ladner, a researcher at Arizona’s Goldwater Institute, envisioned what charters burdened with a lengthy union contract might look like on my blog: “Need to change a light bulb in your classroom? Page 844, paragraph five clearly states that you must call a union electrician. You kids sit quietly with your heads down in the dark until he arrives. It will be any day now.”

    Eva Moskowitz, former chair of the New York City Council education committee and now a charter school operator, has characterized this new push against charters as a “backlash” led by “a union-political-educational complex that is trying to halt progress and put the interests of adults above the interests of children.” She is right. If the union-political-education complex succeeds in depriving charter schools of funding and burdening them with regulations, children really will be harmed.

    The highest quality studies have consistently shown that students learn more in charter schools. In New York City, Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby found that students accepted by lottery to charter schools were significantly outpacing the academic progress of their peers who lost the lottery and were forced to return to district schools.

    Florida State economist Tim Sass and colleagues found that middle-school students at charters in Florida and Chicago who continued into charter high schools were significantly more likely to graduate and go on to college than their peers who returned to district high schools because charter high schools were not available.

    The most telling study is by Harvard economist Tom Kane about charter schools in Boston. It found that students accepted by lottery at independently operated charter schools significantly outperformed students who lost the lottery and returned to district schools. But students accepted by lottery at charters run by the school district with unionized teachers experienced no benefit.

    When charter schools unionize, they become identical to traditional public schools in performance. Unions may say they support charter schools, but they only support charters after they have stripped them of everything that makes charters different from district schools.

    President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan have given speeches promoting charter schools. Despite their talk, charter spending constituted less than one-quarter of 1% of education spending in the stimulus package. And the Obama administration has done union bidding by killing the D.C. voucher program. They did this in the face of solid evidence of academic progress for the voucher students, and despite their stated commitment to do “what works for kids” regardless of ideology.

    Vouchers made the world safe for charters by drawing union fire. But now that the unions have the voucher threat under control, charters are in trouble. It’s time for reformers to increase pressure on politicians bending to the will of the unions and close the new education gap — the one between what Mr. Obama and Mr. Duncan say about education and what they do.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to The Union War on Charter Schools Annotated

    1. Jon DiPietro, Manche says:

      Here is another example of how teachers' unions are a destructive force against quality education. A NH candidate for a "Teacher of the Year" award was given her pink slip as a reward because she lacks union seniority.

      http://www.wmur.com/education/19207512/detail.htm

    2. Tim AZ says:

      Abolish the department of education and declare bankruptcy. Then make no deals with the teachers unions. And encourage home schooling.

    3. HOUSTON says:

      THE GOVERNMENT AND THE GREAT UNION (NEA) NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION. GOVERNMENT AND THE UNIONS SHOULD BE OUT OF EDUCATION. EVERY CHILD AND PARENT SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO ATTEND ANY SCHOOL OF THEIR CHOICE.

      THE GOVERNMENT DICTATES PAPER WORK AFTER PAPER WORK. WE HAVE THE STUPID LARMAR ALXANDDER, THAT IS SO STUPID , THAT PUSHED NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. IT'S A CROCK! THE T-CAP TEST MORE PAPER WORK. DOES NOTHING TO EDUCATE THE STUDENTS.

      WHAT WE NEED IS PARENTS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN THEIR CHILDREN. WE HAVE SO MANY CHILDREN THAT DON'T KNOW WHO THEIR PARENTS ARE, PARENTS TOO BUSY, PARENTS ON DRUGS. THE SCHOOLS CANNOT DO EVERYTHING. PUT THE RESPONSIBILITY ON THE PARENTS.

      GOVERNMENT CANNOT WIPE THEIR TAILS.

    4. John Clancy, Wyandot says:

      The arrogance of the Teachers Unions in the face of taxpayers seems to grow exponentially, making the education of our children in government schools more and more difficult. The hubris of the AFT and the NFT should motivate all of us to do all we can to close down the Dept. of Education in Washington and return education to the states and the parents where in was envisioned by the founding fathers and, indeed, where it must return if it is to be effective.

    5. Lawrence Calabro Nor says:

      I am old enough to remember part of the communist manifesto to displace a democratic government. The infiltration of the school system was at the top of the list. In the 1950’ a Mr. Albert Shanker created the UFT (United Federation of Teachers) .Mr. Shanker was a wonderful shade of pink. From that moment on education in the USA has been on a down hill slide. It appears Krushev was right when he said “You will bury yourselves”.

    6. Buffoon says:

      You ever find yourself wondering just how people don't "get it?"

    7. Pingback: How teacher’s unions make war on charter schools « Wintery Knight Blog

    8. Ross, Bradenton, Flo says:

      I've never understood why any government employee needs to belong to a trade union, especially teachers. I've been told that they consider themselves professionals, not day laborers or factory workers. Or are they?

      What the teachers unions have done to the American education system is akin to what government welfare has done to the poor black families. Years ago, Dr Williams of the James Mason University, School of Economics stated the the Klu Klux Klan could not have come up with a better plan to destroy the American black family as the the liberals and congress did with welfare legislation. The same template can be affixed to the teachers union's attack on our children's education in government ran schools. These socialist unions cannot survive in the face of competition. Charter Schools work! So the teachers unions have decreed that Charter Schools must be destroyed. Maybe we should make a bumpersticker that reads: IF YOUR CHILD CAN'T DO THE 3R'S, THANK A TEACHER'S UNION!

    9. OPAS says:

      April 20, 2009 Lawrence Calabro Northridge Ca. writes:

      I am old enough to remember part of the communist manifesto to displace a democratic government. The infiltration of the school system was at the top of the list. In the 1950’ a Mr. Albert Shanker created the UFT (United Federation of Teachers) .Mr. Shanker was a wonderful shade of pink. From that moment on education in the USA has been on a down hill slide. It appears Krushev was right when he said “You will bury

      yourselves”.

      Thank you Lawrence, you are the only one that has seen through the smoke screen. Kruschev warned us but no one paid heed then, and no one is paying attention to the great indoctrination of our children, from first grade through the highest college degrees. Now we have a community organizer who is working to destroy America and our Constitution. The children in our schools, they are now the liberal? (how about anti American), teachers and college professors that are indoctrinating your children with hate for America, a few at a time. These children will grow up and teach thousands more in our schools and everyone is blind to what Kruschev told us was then, and still is going on wityh your children. The so called teachers Unions want to stop every effort you make to have your children taught about the forefathers of our country. This also goes back to the infiltration of the PTA, which started with well meaning parents and has evolved to what we have today. The Tea parties are a good start and now is the time to also add a broom as another standard and start "A Clean Sweep" movement to sweep EVERY incumbent out of Washington and clean out State representatives as well. Our so called "enemy" is not Government, Government does nothing to you. Individual people that have names do these deeds, not Government. Stop playing their game, STOP BLAMING "GOVERNMENT" and blame individual people that YOU ELECTED to cut your throat and you keep re-electing them. Start CLEAN SWEEP" mnovements and put names on real people and then VOTE THE PEOPLE OUT of of the office. It is individual living breathing people, that betray you and your country, NOT GOVERNMENT.

    10. FeFe, Balto says:

      Per pupil funding must follow the student.

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