"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

AFT Leads Privatization Efforts

When charter schools first appeared on the educational horizon, Albert Shanker supported the idea.  By the early 1990s, Shanker had awakened to the fact that charter schools were going to be the primary tool in the corporate tool box for privatizing public education and crushing the teaching profession and unions.  See this post for excerpts of Shanker's writing on the subject of charters

Under Randi Weingarten, the AFT has re-written history to leave out Shanker's opposition to charter schools.  This is from AFT's website in 2016, which needs updating--there are now 7,000 charters, rather than the 4,000 claimed on their website. 
AFT and Charter Schools
The American Federation of Teachers strongly supports charter schools that embody the core values of public education and a democratic society: equal access for all students; high academic standards; accountability to parents and the public; a curriculum that promotes good citizenship; a commitment to helping all public schools improve; and a commitment to the employees’ right to freely choose union representation.

Charter schools are publicly funded schools that are granted autonomy from some state and local regulations in exchange for meeting the terms of each school’s charter. State laws, which vary widely, govern who can authorize charters, who can apply for them, and the total number allowed. Today, there are more than 4,000 charter schools across 40 states and the District of Columbia, enrolling more than 1 million children.

Charter Schools Can Empower Teachers

In a landmark address in 1988, former AFT President Albert Shanker became one of the first education leaders to champion the concept of charter schools. Shanker envisioned teacher-led laboratories of reform that would experiment with new instructional practices. These practices would then be subjected to rigorous evaluation and, if successful, serve as models for other public schools.

Shanker also saw charter schools as a way to empower teachers, free them from overly bureaucratic regulations, and strengthen their voice in school and curriculum decision-making. In his view, unions were essential to charter schools, because unions help create the kind of secure work environment that encourages innovation and risk-taking.

The AFT and Charter Schools Today

The AFT believes strongly in Shanker’s vision and the vital connection between charter schools and unions. In fact, the AFT represents charter school teachers and support staff across the country.  In just this past year, nearly a thousand employees at more than a dozen charter schools voted for union representation.  . . .

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