And even though the SEPs make sure that NY KIPP teachers make $10,000 more per year than regular teachers, this incentive has not kept two KIPP schools from now asking for union protection. The teachers' reasons: stress and burnout over long hours, limited voice in school decisions, unfair evaluation systems, and unfair discipline policies. From the NY Times:
The United Federation of Teachers announced on Tuesday that it had organized teachers at two respected New York City charter schools, making inroads in a movement that has long sold itself as an alternative that is not hamstrung by union contracts and work rules.
Union officials said the teachers’ decision was an important step because the schools are part of the Knowledge Is Power Program, known as KIPP, which has 66 schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia and plays an influential role in national education debates. Advocates for charter schools — which are publicly funded but independently operated — expressed concern that unionization could undermine the schools’ effectiveness.
“A union contract is actually at odds with a charter school,” said Jeanne Allen, executive director of the Center for Education Reform, a Washington group that supports charter schools.
“As long as you have nonessential rules that have more to do with job operations than with student achievement,” she said, “you are going to have a hard time with accomplishing your mission.”
Several teachers at the two schools — KIPP Amp, a middle school in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and KIPP Infinity, a middle school in Harlem — said the union organizing drive came about because they wanted a stronger voice on the job and because the demands on them were so rigorous. They also said that they wanted to insure a fair discipline and evaluation system.
KIPP’s teachers in New York generally earn at least $10,000 more a year than teachers at the city’s traditional public schools, but also typically work from 7:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, as well as one or two Saturdays a month. Many teachers also give students their personal phone numbers.
Those who run the schools say the extra hours and increased availability are exactly what are needed to boost student achievement — KIPP Amp and KIPP Infinity both earned A’s on their report cards and students had high scores on standardized tests. But several teachers at the two schools said some KIPP teachers were getting burned out and quitting, hurting the schools and student-teacher relations.
“It’s a matter of sustainability for teachers,” said Luisa Bonifacio, who teaches sixth-grade reading at KIPP Amp. “There’s a heavy workload, and people have to balance their lives with their work.”. . . .