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

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Chicago Teachers' Union Normalizes Dehumanizing Charter Schools

". . .we recognize that many families have come to depend on charter schools and that many charter school teachers are dedicated professionals who serve their students well. . . .We do not, therefore, call for the immediate closure of all charter schools. . ." Diane Ravitch's NPE Position Statement on Charter Schools, 2017
In a deep bow to the corporate ed reformers who control the DNC's education agenda, as well as NEA and AFT,  Diane Ravitch's NPE last year set out a policy statement on charter schools that would leave in place thousands of charter schools for years to come. 

The NPE statement is clear with regards to the continued support for 7,000+ dehumanizing and unregulated charters, which are bleeding out state and local education budgets wherever they operate.  In an impressive show of non-leadership, the NPE statement refuses to demand or advocate a moratorium on new charters, preferring instead to suggest support for "legislation" that calls for a moratorium on new charters.

NPE's acquiescence to and support for the continuation of the charter industry's paternalistic Broken Windows model of schooling is now being played out in Chicago, where the Chicago Teachers' Union this week voted to merge with the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff

What will this mean for public education, teachers, and CTU?

Most importantly for AFT and CTU, it will mean more money in dues from charter industry "teachers," since the discounted dues that charter employees were paying to ChiACTS will be raised to what real teachers pay AFT/CTU in Chicago.  Never mind that charter industry "teachers" will continue to be exploited, overworked, underpaid, and without the benefit of the collective bargaining process that establishes pay, benefits, working conditions, and student advocacy initiatives for the rest of Chicago teachers.

The merger means, too, that CTU's omnipresent lip service to "social justice" is just more empty rhetoric.  CTU, in fact, will become accessory to the ongoing teacher and child dehumanization practices and cultural sterilization programs that are central to "no excuses" ed reform charter school paternalism.

By normalizing the operations of Chicago's charter industry patriarchy-on-steroids, CTU and AFT become entirely complicit in demeaning practices against a female dominated workforce that, historically, have been anathema to union values.  CTU's and AFT's kowtowing to the charter industry's billionaire patrons represents a truly sad outcome for teachers and children that will have ongoing implications for other union affiliates stupid and greedy enough to follow this very bad precedent.

It is hard to imagine a more destructive action to unionism than to the one taken in Chicago.  By normalizing these deprofessionalized hell schools run by ignorant young non-educators, CTU and AFT have ceded the last remaining moral high ground.  We may regard any further pronouncements by CTU/AFT about saving public education as the purest of bullshit.


  1. All workers deserve the right to be represented by a union, even or especially when they work for exploitative employers, employers who cheat the public and do harm to those they say they serve. In supporting the organizing drives of charter school teachers, the CTU has acted in a way that is principled and even heroic. Allowing these Chicago teachers to join the CTU was very smart encourages solidarity and improves the prospects of effective actions that will mitigate harm to kids, the schools, and our profession. This post is really off-base.

    1. Your talk, Lois, about the "prospects of effective action"reminds me of Diane Ravitch's fanciful notion of charter schools' "eventual absorption into the public school system." While we wait for your "prospects" and Diane's "eventual absorption," kids are being abused and dehumanized on a daily basis, and charter employees (loosely referred to as teachers), suffer the indignities of sweat shop management by a bunch of clueless boys. Meanwhile, money meant for public schools is being siphoned off in stacks of multiple billions each year. Your complacency is astounding.

    2. Anonymous2:58 PM


      How might real Chicago teachers benefit from aligning themselves with imposters who devalue the market by agreeing to work in sweatshop conditions while proclaiming themselves to be "the best and the brightest"?

      Abigail Shure

    3. Beyond disappointing. I'm sick of watching women sell out a mainly female profession while simultaneously placing children in harms way by normalizing charters and teachers without credentials. As soon as anyone who supports this merger decides that six weeks trained doctors, teachers, dentists, chiropractors, physical therapists, speech therapists, counselors, piano instructors, vocal instructors, ski instructors, etc. etc. are good enough for their OWN CHILDREN, their grandchildren, and their nieces and nephews, please come and talk to me. I'd like to know how that worked out for everyone.

  2. Anonymous1:38 PM

    Post Janus, AFT will be fortunate if it can save itself. Public education is dead in the water.

    Abigail Shure

  3. Michael Fiorillo1:54 PM

    I loathe charter schools and look forward to the day when the last one has a stake driven through its heart.

    However, workers deserve the right to unionize, period. And if enough charter schools unionize, they will then cease to be the teacher union-busting panacea the Overclass wishes them to be.

    At that point, should it arrive, there might be hope to integrate some of them into the public school system.

  4. I am very fortunate to be working in a private school, where teachers are free to teach and the resources, programs and overall health of the whole child is a priority. If this country, citizens would rise up and demand that our children are a precious resource and worthy of the funding for their education as a priority rather than accepting ludicrous efforts to spend 25 billion or more on a wall or more nukes, shame on us all! Public education is being dismantled, actually has already been dismantled and the privatizers, on line education companies have free reign and their ads are now everywhere. A dumbed down population leads to Trump and demagogues but few connect the dots to education. Tragic.