Teaching Profession

NYC KIPP Teachers to Organize

By Vaishali Honawar — January 13, 2009 1 min read

Here’s a fairly big feather in the teachers’ unions’ let’s-organize-charter-schools cap: Leo Casey at EdWize reports that a majority of teachers at a KIPP school in Brooklyn have decided to unionize and signed authorization cards with the United Federation of Teachers.

This is significant news because unions have long struggled to bring charter schools into their fold without much success. New Orleans, where the teachers’ union has been struggling to survive, is one of the more obvious examples of this.

On the other hand, this is the second major piece of news in under two months on big-city charters going the union way: In November, teachers at Boston’s Conservatory Lab Charter School joined up, the first charter to do so in the state of Massachusetts. Read my post about this here.

One of the theories about why unions have not been gung-ho about the charter schools movement is because it is not easy to unionize these schools: Each school has to enter into an agreement separately, and most would require a majority of teachers to agree. Stories abound that administrators at such schools by and large do not look kindly on unionization.

Of course, the AFT has sought to fight the perception that unions are unfriendly to charters by opening their own schools. New York now has two charters started by the UFT.

With more teachers and charter schools entering unions, is the tide turning slowly but surely in favor of the unions?

Time will tell.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.