Teachers: Chicago A Charter Unionization Hotbed
Late last week the Chicago News Cooperative noted that 12 of Chicago's 85 charters are already unionized (or in process), and more may be on the way --probably the largest group of intentionally unionized charters in the nation. With one exception, these aren't schools that were intended to be unionized from the start, like Green Dot schools, or mandated statewide, like a handful of states. These are schools where teachers sought and -- after a battle -- won recognition in order to have better control over things like workloads, schedules, and other issues. It's still a very small (12 percent) subset of a very small category of schools (5500 charters). There's no research that unionized charters are any better than regular ones when it comes to student achievement (though I'm guessing teacher retention is better). It's a kind of school that has many enemies (unionists, charter operators, and districts among them). But still, there's an undeniable appeal to combining semi-autonomous schools with somewhat-protected teachers. At least, to me. The fact that this is happening in a place where charters have been limited in number and closely monitored by the district, which is also the authorizer, is especially interesting.