Friday, July 22, 2005

Union Starts Charter School

Here is an intriguing article from the New York Daily News

It seems that the teachers union in NewYork has finally decided that "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." They are starting their own charter school.

UFT charts new
course with school


The teachers union's bid to run a charter school in Brooklyn got the final okay from the Board of Regents yesterday as 25 newly hired teachers reported for their first staff meeting.
"Now the real work can begin," said Jonathan Gyurko, the Department of Education's former charter school czar, who shepherded the union's proposal through the state's complicated application process.

The United Federation of Teachers Elementary Charter School will open in September for 150 students in kindergarten and first grade in unused space inside Junior High School 292 in East New York.

There will not be a principal, but instead a school leader who reports to a board.

Union President Randi Weingarten invited reporters to attend the first staff meeting for the school to help show the labor-management relationship the union hopes will become a model.
"It's not going to be a successful school unless the staff owns it," Weingarten said.

Charter schools are public schools that operate independent of the local school district. More than 600 resumes were submitted for the 25 teaching slots, from educators as far away as Atlanta.

Teachers said they were looking forward to breaking away from the bureaucracy of the school system and just doing what they like best: teaching.
"There is a sense of professionalism here that we as teachers don't feel in the Department of Education," said Lisa Olesak, who will teach kindergarten.

Daily News reporter, Joe Williams, commented further about the union sponsored charter school in today's post at Eduwonk.

The Cleveland Teachers Union and CMSD need to take a look at what is happening in New York, and start working together here in Cleveland. I know a whole lot of unemployed CTU members who could make a big difference in the lives of Cleveland's kids. A little more innovation and attention to problem solving could go a long way in getting the taxpaying citizens of this city a reason to support education.


Doug Nagy said...

There was an editorial in today's PD about Ted Ginn Sr starting a non-profit Charter school in Cleveland. I agree with the Plain Dealer Editors and thinks its a great idea. I have met Mr. Ginn on a number occassions through high school track and I have been most impressed. The kids at Glenville looked up to him and respected him. He always challenged them to do well.

My dad and I watched an interview of Ginn Sr during the Alamo Bowl last year. His son, Ted Ginn Jr, had an amazing first year as a football star at Ohio State. The reporter asked Ginn Sr about his son's first year at OSU and Ginn responded: "He's doing well, but they're being too easy on him. He can play defense too."

This goes along with your post about challenging kids. If you want kids to achieve, you have to challenge them and encourage them to do their best. These lessons apply to both the sports world and the classroom.

And as always, MaryBeth, I'd be interested in your thoughts on all of this.

Dale P. said...

I don't know how I feel about charter schools. Hasn't some of the money for the Cleveland Schools gone to some of these charter schools that haven't been proven to be effective yet? Again, I can't state that with confidence but I thought I've been hearing that. In addition, have students from charter schools performed that much better than public school kids? On the other hand, I think it's good that public schools are getting some competition. But I worry that anyone can start a school. I guess I believe in the public schools and fear for a future in which the education of our citizenry is rooted in...what? Or am I missing something?

marybeth said...

Doug and Dale,

I always appreciate your comments and questions. You guys get me thinking.

The concern about money from the public school funding pot going to charters is well-founded.
One doesn't mind as much if kids are getting an optimum education. But when the well-meaning but inept, or charlatans, open up charter schools, with no real accountability, kids suffer.

Accountability is key.

The legislation needs to be changed to insure that our education tax money is not wasted at the expense of our children

bill said...

As I recall, way back when vouchers were still being debated in Columbus (the early '90s), the charter school model was proposed specifically as a method to let independent experiments happen within the public school framework. The charter school vision wasn't White Hat... it was a handful of CMSD teachers and parents getting together to try something outside the normal framework. I can't believe it's taken so long for teachers' unions to think about taking leadership to retrieve this vision. (Wasn't Michael Charney talking about some kind of CFT initiative recently?)

marybeth said...

Here is an interesting article written by Alexander Russo about 'Charters In Ohio' (PPI) It comes with a link to a PDF.Lots of good information there.