Teachers’ unions and charters schools often act like sworn enemies, but productive coexistence could come through fewer assumptions based on the polarized philosophical positions of both camps and more evidence about charter schools’ performance, says a report based on discussions from a symposium.
The May symposium, held under the auspices of the National Charter School Research Project at the University of Washington and the Washington, D.C.-based Progressive Policy Institute, brought together leaders of teachers’ unions and charter schools. Report authors Paul T. Hill, Lydia Rainey, and Andrew J. Rotherham recommend that union and charter leaders produce more examples of effective partnerships, and build trust by having charter school leaders acknowledge abusive labor practices, while union leaders drop campaigns to undermine charter schools.
The report, released by the District of Columbia State Education Office, also found that only 43 percent of Washington’s regular public and charter students graduate from high school within five years of enrolling. According to the report, those numbers are significantly below the national average and are even worse in some parts of the city.