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Three Chicago Charter Schools on Strike. Three.

May 2, 2019

Market-based ed reform is likely in shock today.

Teachers at three Chicago-based charter schools went on strike. Not one school (which is bad enough for corporate ed reform True Believers). Three. I could have been five charter schools, but teachers at two schools struck deals prior to striking.

According to idealized market-based ed reform, the CEO is supposed to be the one with the power, and collective bargaining should not exist. The charter school CEO calls the shots, and if the teachers don’t like it, they can either suck it up or leave.

Ahh, but that dastardly unionizing– it threatens the concetration of power with a CEO. If those teachers each take their bits of power and combine those bits, then the poor CEOs will have to do what market-based ed reform promises powerful CEOs what they should never have to do:

Negotiate.

From the May 02, 2019, Chicago Tribune:

Unionized educators halted classes and hit picket lines at three Chicago schools Thursday morning, as part of a coordinated strike that marks the latest phase in a citywide wave of labor unrest at taxpayer-funded campuses.

Workers affiliated with the Chicago Teachers Union called a strike as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, though one negotiating team huddled early into Thursday morning and reached an agreement that kept classrooms open at the Chicago High School for the Arts.

Eleven teachers at the Youth Connection Leadership Academy, which was also targeted by strike threats, reached a last-minute agreement Wednesday.

About 1,000 students at two schools operated by the nonprofit Instituto del Progreso Latino, and the Latino Youth High School, still won’t see regular classes without a deal. …

“Enough is enough,” said Carlene Carpenter, an educator at Latino Youth High School. “Our demands are simple: fair wages, fair contract, better resources for our students, including mental health services and funded after-school programs. We serve students that experience trauma at higher-than-normal rates, and they need these resources.” …

Compensation, benefits and staffing are primary concerns as the CTU tries to standardize working conditions at the city’s independently operated public schools to align more closely with those at traditional Chicago Public Schools.

Oh, this is very bad news for those preferring the market over the people the market is allegedly supposed to serve. Improved wages and working conditions cost money– money that could be taken from charter school boss salaries, board salaries, and pet projects–money that could betray devotion to a fat top and a cheap bottom line.

“Corporate Interests Cheat Students Creating Egregarious Problems in our schools”

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Good for Chicago’s unionized charter schools.

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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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7 Comments
  1. I wonder, with a name like Latino Youth High School, just how segregated this school might be.

  2. Jon Shore permalink

    Wait! What! Charter School “Board” salaries? Are you talking about the EMO’s (Education Management Organization)? Or the astroturf investors, real estate developers, and bankers who sit on these boards as individuals…they get paid in Chicago?

    • It is possible for board members of nonprofits in general to be compensated. As for “in Chicago”: Board membership is not tied to a city, just as charter school EMOs are not tied to the cities in which the schools are located. Decisions about compensation of board members rests with the boards. Based upon my readings of numerous nonprofit tax forms, usually there are uncompensated board members (“directors”) and compensated officers. That noted, I have seen nonprofit board members (“directors”) compensated.

  3. Nice piece, Mercedes!!!

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