The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers – their “local” of the teachers’ union – having spent a couple of decades fighting charter schools, is now setting up its own
The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers is trying to become the first teachers union in the country to authorize charter schools.
The union hopes it can help create a network of “guild schools” run by unionized teachers and focused on professional development and effective teaching practices.
As we noted in my charter school series last summer, charter schools operate under some tight financial constraints – the kind of thing that would kill most public schools. One of the ways they make it is by hiring non-union teachers.
So it’ll be interesting to see if a “guild school”, with its higher costs and big union pension, can even survive – or if the union extracts some sort of concession from boards and the legislature.
Almost more interesting than the new charter market is the implied strife within the cozy public school racket between administrators and teachers:
“The education system has become very heavy and weighed down, and it sits on the backs of teachers,” said Lynn Nordgren, president of the Minneapolis union. The guild schools will “maybe have enough flexibility [for teachers] to do what they know is the right thing to be doing for kids right now.”
On Saturday, the American Federation of Teachers announced that it is giving the Minneapolis union a one-year, $150,000 “Innovation Fund” grant to help it pursue its goal…As an authorizer, the Minneapolis union couldn’t require schools to be unionized, but Nordgren said, “We’re hoping the teachers will be unionized, because we think a union of professionals makes a stronger school and a stronger profession.”
And from the Union brass?
Tom Dooher, president of Education Minnesota, the statewide teachers union, acknowledges that unions are sometimes skeptical of charters, which in Minnesota have a mixed track record.
“We’re skeptical of poorly run schools, whether they’re charters or not,” Dooher said. “But the idea of having teachers in charge of the schools and running the policy is something that we think should be happening anyway. If [the Minneapolis union] believes they have the capacity to authorize and run one, more power to them. I think it will be good for kids in Minneapolis.”
“Oceania has never been at war with Eurasia, Winston”.
I’ll be following this…