Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Chapter Leader Informs Members About Charters

Hey teachers, don't go on the radio to talk about charters if you don't know what you are talking about.

I was listening to the Brian Lehrer show on NPR yesterday where there was talk about charters. Two teachers called up and while they made some good points they also made inaccurate statements and missed the most important points --
  • that the very idea of a lottery is a form of cherry picking 
  • that the advertising for charters to targeted audiences also is cherry picking 
  • that if some child or parent who are "difficult" should get through the lottery they are counseled out 
  • the impact of co-locations which squeezes the public schools and denies them the ability to grow or offer the same options the charter in the same building does
  • that the DOE, the very people running public schools actually favor charters and starve the public schools to make the charters look better.
I could go on.

The UFT has done nothing to educate its members as to the threat of charters. Talk to any teacher in Chicago and they will nail every point. Maybe it takes losing 20-25% of your members before the point gets made.

Here a chapter leader takes the bull by the horns and sends his staff the updated color version of the Grassroots Education Movement pamphlet, "The Truth About Charters," embedded below. I have hard copies if you want a few to share with your colleagues. Or you can download and share with your colleagues here.
Dear All, 

I am sending you a very good flier, made by my friends of the Grassroots Education Movement, NYC teachers and proud union members,  to give you a little more insight into this topic.  We will need to educate ourselves a lot more about this issue as it is no longer far away, affecting other schools or other cities. 

Eva Moskovitz, former NYC Councilwoman, with no background in education, someone who pays herself  a salary close to  400.000 dollars a year to run her growing education empire wants to co-locate one of her Harlem Success Academy schools inside the Washington Irving Campus. 
As proud PULIC school teachers we cannot ignore the implications of what it means to have more and more charter schools replacing public schools in this city, state and nation. 

Do you believe that education should be and should remain a public domain, overseen by democratically elected - the community representing, and accountable to the public - officials or should we hand over the education of our children to privately - many times FOR PROFIT - run hedge fund nourished, corporations to educate our children?

Do you think it's a good thing that unionized teachers have due process rights, spelled out rights and duties that have been fought for hard to achieve in a fair and democratic process we call "collective bargaining"?  
If you do think so, you know that it gives dignity and security to our members. It's not true that the unions want to protect bad and lazy teachers! 

Michael Mulgrew said it just last week when he addressed us at the Chapter Leader meeting on Wednesday:
He said: "Teaching is a challenging profession. Teaching is not for everyone. Not everyone can be a great teacher. We have no interest in protecting the worst teachers, but we have every interest in protecting the dignity, the working conditions and fairness for the vast majority of our teachers all of whom that are dedicated, compassionate and hard working."

Do you think that teaching should remain a profession that a dedicated teacher can expect to practice as a life long career, then you need to fight for public education?
Do you think it's great to transform the profession of teaching into a revolving door, where you hire young idealistic college grads for 2 or three years so they can move on to "real jobs" only to be replaced by a new crop new cheap teachers then you need to oppose the idea of charter schools?

Let's name the Elephant in the room:

The charterization of our public schools on a ideological level has NOTHING to do with improving the education of the children in this country but EVERYTHING to do with the privatization of Public Education

I really believe that. What is going on here is the corporatization of public education, the promise of profits for private corporations from a still largely untapped $600 billion market in this country. 

I hope you have a few minutes to read the flier "The Truth behind Charter Schools" and I hope you join us in educating ourselves and our community about this issue! 

Your United Federation of Teachers Chapter Leader, 

The Truth About Charter Schools in NYC

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