January 13, 2009

Brooklyn KIPP teachers unionizing

As reported in EdWize. What caught my attention was the issue of turnover:

KIPP AMP teachers believe that the high staff turnover at the school has harmed their efforts to build a positive and consistent school culture for their students. "There is a need to make the teacher position more sustainable," says [Luisa] Bonifacio, "so that teachers don't burn out, but are able to make a long-term commitment to the students and the school."

As any labor historian knows, unionization is usually driven by material and also by other considerations that motivate people to sign pledge cards: wanting to be treated decently on the job, having conditions likely to foster success, etc. Having co-chaired a card campaign, I know a touch of what a card campaign involves. If there were an Employee Free Choice Act at the federal level and parallel provisions for public employees in New York state, recognition would be automatic with a supermajority (which apparently UFT has collected from this school's teachers). Then the two sides could sit down immediately and negotiate a contract that meets the needs of teachers and students.

That's possible under current law; it just requires voluntary recognition of the UFT as the collective-bargaining agent for the schools' teachers.

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Tags: charter schools, KIPP, United Federation of Teachers
Posted in Union on January 13, 2009 4:11 PM |