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Chatting about Charters

August 6, 2008 pm31 8:43 pm

The topic of charter schools has been coming up a lot. The majority of schools in New Orleans are charters, and that is where the United Teachers of New Orleans (UTNO) has had the least success to this point in organizing, where much of their effort is currently directed.

(As an aside, UTNO is the AFT affiliate here, and the “United” comes from their history – the teachers unions in New Orleans were segregated until UTNO joined Black teachers and white teachers into a single union, and I’ll double check the dates, but I seem to recall, less than 40 years ago.)

Anyhow, charters are a constant topic. Also, the volunteers, from New York, Philly, Chicago – all places where charters are issues.

But get this: the active people outside of New York think that charters are a problem, are used to break or weaken the union, etc, except, they keep saying, in New York, where you guys have good relations with charters, have organized the charters, etc.

Now, I know the UFT has two charter schools, and has organized several more. But aren’t the majority of charter schools in New York non-union? Didn’t the UFT’s (director? coordinator? I don’t know his title) of charter schools, Jonathan Gyurko, indicate support of the right rather than the need to organize charter schools in NYC?

Somehow AFT members out of New York have been given some awfully funny impressions. That should be fixed.

There are over 60 charter schools in NYC, including the UFT charter schools in Brooklyn, and the new Green Dot/Bronx charter school in the Bronx. Of those, about 50 are non-union.

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