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Nation’s First Charter School Teachers Strike Heads for Day Three

December 5, 2018

Charter school teachers are not supposed to strike.

They are supposed to be at-will employees, able to be fired at the will of their employer, without due process.

Such is the dream of market-based ed reform: Power concentrated at the top, with the average worker discouraged (prevented?) from any collective negotiations.

However, those on the losing end of market ed reform’s doormatism become tired, and, well, if they are teachers– charter school teachers– they might just decide that bowing to the demands of the top dogs presents a final straw and unionize— which is what the teachers at UNO charter schools in Chicago) (now Acero by name, with the name change following such remarkable events as UNO’s defrauding bondholders in 2014).

And as of December 04, 2018, the teachers of Chicago’s Acero charter school chain (15 schools) have been on strike, for the following:

CTU (Chicago Teachers Union) said the network’s 500 teachers are demanding smaller classes, more special education staff, salary increases and guaranteed protections for students and families living in the country without legal permission. …

Acero’s teachers are paid up to $13,000 a year less than their counterparts at Chicago’s traditional public schools, while working 20 percent more hours, according to the Chicago Teachers Union. The union also argues that with only one adult for up to 32 children per class for kindergarten through second grade, Acero’s classes are too large.

The striking teachers are also demanding that Acero agrees to not share information with federal immigration enforcement officials or allow them into the schools without a warrant.

Acero is posting updates about the strike on Twitter:

On Day Two of the strike, negotiations are ongoing.

It looks like Acero management is sitting on millions that it is preventing from traveling to the classroom, according to the December 05, 2018, Chicago Sun Times:

…Jesse Sharkey, CTU’s president, appeared in front of the Chicago Board of Education, to express his dissatisfaction with how Acero has managed its money and why it forced the strike of 550 workers.

“The latest audit of Acero shows that they have $10 million of additional revenue year over year, yet classroom spending in that network has decreased by nearly $1 million, or 6 percent of their budget,” Sharkey said. “In other words, [CPS] is handing over piles of cash and less of it is going into the classroom.”

Sharkey said a recent audit showed Richard Rodriguez, Acero’s CEO, made more than $260,000, a slightly higher salary than CPS CEO Janice Jackson. Rodriguez watches over 15 schools whereas Jackson oversees more than 500.

Rodriguez has not attended any of the 30 bargaining sessions that have been held in the past seven months, according to Baumgarten [an Acero teacher who has been sitting at the bargaining table for seven months.]

Those meddling, collective-bargaining teachers make it more difficult for a charter chain CEO to be paid an oversized salary. (According to Acero’s 2016-17 tax form, CEO Rodriguez was paid $260K plus another $20K in “other compensation” for a total of $280K. That makes for some pretty sweet top-downism.)

The strike continues. Stay tuned.

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Interested in scheduling Mercedes Schneider for a speaking engagement? Click here.

Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

4 Comments
  1. We Know permalink

    NOLA charter schools/market-based ed reform = F U G A Z Y! When they say charter, you say FUGAZY!!!

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  1. Charter School Lobby Silent as Charter Teachers Continue Strike | gadflyonthewallblog

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