NYT’s Sam Dillon takes a look at the state of play on charter schools and teachers’ unions. It’s a useful check-in and overview for those who don’t follow this closely. But two things do jump out.
First, if Sam doesn’t bury the lede he at least shovels some top soil on it:
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, called the gains of the past year “a precursor.” You’re going to see far more union representation in charter schools,” Ms. Weingarten said. “We had a group of schools that were basically unorganized, groups of teachers wanting a voice, a union willing to start organizing them, and now money in our organizing budget to back that up. And all of that has come together in the last 6 to 12 months.”
That’s sort of key to all this, no? The unionization drive that’s going on now isn’t some spontaneous thing, it’s an organized effort! Nothing wrong with that, and kudos to Weingarten for being upfront, but it’s nuance that matters to understanding what’s happening out there. I’m no media critic but isn’t the lede here the unprecedented effort the teachers’ unions are undertaking to do this?
Second, Dillon writes that, “The largest teachers union, the National Education Association, has no national charter organizing campaign. But some of its state affiliates have helped charters unionize.”
That’s true, as far as it goes. But, if you’re keeping score at home the NEA did not so long ago have a big charter initiative, they were going to start some, etc…it was an enormous debacle, that’s why (a) you don’t hear much about it now and (b) Randi Weingarten’s various charter initiatives are significant on a couple of levels.