More Teachers’ Unions And Charters

This is preposterous. They’re arguing at Edwize, and elsewhere apparently, that Anglo teachers’ union professionals have more claim on the legacy and name of Cesar Chavez than, just for instance, the daughter of Mexican migrant workers who wants to start a good public school carrying his name in a city that has too few good public schools? I’m certainly not familiar with every school that carries Chavez’s name but do know some that carry on his vision of empowering those who are not empowered in Washington, California, and Colorado. In fact, Oprah, that noted anti-union activist, recently gave the founder* of the school that I am a trustee of, and that carries Chavez’s name, an award recognizing her work. Besides, you’d think folks would just be happy that schools are being named after people at all!

This is especially rich because as Berkeley law professor and long-time school finance equity and school choice advocate Jack Coons reports in an article in The American Journal of Education ($):

Itinerant families have had a very bad deal from public schools. Technology now permits peripatetic schools that could follow the workers from crop to crop and field to field. Choice would permit their organization today as instruments of the families; many mobile schools currently serve immigrant workers in France. The United Farm Workers should be interested in this (Cesar Chavez told me in 1979 that it was a grand idea, but the American Federation of Teachers would cut off his $200,000 yearly subsidy.) Emph. Added.

While you’re at Edwize and related, Leo Casey points out that some conservatives and libertarians don’t like teachers’ unions. Duh. But, I think Joe Williams is right that Leo is seeing more angst than is actually there in terms of Green Dot Public Schools and Steve Barr’s work. Perhaps that will change if it gets more profile though. Inside the charter community and the leading CMO’s the more interesting tension is playing out in conversations among leaders of high performing charters who have a progressive inclination to favor unions but are very concerned about many policies the teachers’ unions champion today. Those issues are the teachers’ unions opportunity and their challenge. In other words, their problem isn’t Clint Bolick.

*She’s also on the ES board.

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