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Organize charters; convert charters

February 17, 2007 pm28 11:30 pm

I am not a charter school advocate. In fact, I wish my union were 1) actively working to organize charter school teachers in NYC into our union, (are we doing this? I think so. Don’t know if there are positive results yet, except for the UFT charter school), and 2) openly advocating that no more charters be opened in NYS, and that charter schools be reconverted to regular public schools.

If we think it’s good practice to form charter schools who can operate free from the regulations governing public schools, then why do we support the regulations governing public schools?

Charter schools are, in fact, public schools, but organized outside of local boards of education. As such, they serve as a way to circumvent local and state regulations. Sounds reasonable, eh? Nope.

(read on, beneath the fold) —>

1. I lifted this from a principal’s blog from a district in Central New York State.

“If we think it’s good practice to form charter schools who can operate free from the regulations governing public schools, then why do we support the regulations governing public schools?
“As a 17 year veteran of public schools, working hard to make a difference every day, I can’t be trusted to make good decisions without regulations, but I could be as a charter school applicant?

2. Charters are a wedge that Bloomberg and his Chancellor are using on the road to privatizing education in New York City. We see it with the restructuring: they cannot go all private, all at once. Vouchers won’t fly, not today, in New York City. But they are decentralizing. Minischools are part of that effort. Transferring individual functions to private companies. Think about the empowerment zone, and now the RFP for Professional Development providers. Charters are another stepping stone to subdivide the school system on the path to taking education out of the public domain.

The newly announced restructuring of the public school system in New York City is an assault on teachers and students. But it is more: it is a major assault on public education. As a teachers union we are being challenged to defend both ourselves and public education as a whole.

Charters are a backdoor attack on public education. We need to say this, clearly.

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