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Wed Jan 2, 2013, 10:41 PM

Labor board decides Chicago charter school is really private, subject to private sector laws. [View all]

Last edited Wed Jan 2, 2013, 11:51 PM - Edit history (1)

I am assuming they will still get public taxpayer money. Yet they will not be subject to any regulation by elected school boards or local districts.

Jersey Jazzman caught the implications of the ruling right away. Reformers like Michelle Rhee et al have repeated over and over that charter schools are public schools. Now it has been ruled that these charters in Chicago are not.

There will be many educators waiting on all the implications of this ruling. I don't see how they can claim to be one thing and be ruled to be something else. Is Arne Duncan aware of this? Does he approve?

It's Official: Charters are NOT Public Schools

The National Labor Relations Board gives its verdict: charter schools are NOT public schools!

Teachers at a Chicago charter school are now subject to private-sector labor laws, rather than state laws governing public workers. The move could impact how public schools are run down the road.

The ruling, made by the National Labor Relations Board last month, said the Chicago Math and Science Academy is a “private entity” and therefore covered under the federal law governing the private sector.

The decision overrules a vote taken by teachers last year to form a union in accordance with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. At the time, two-thirds of teachers at the school approved the union and it became official under state law.

...“This case was really about whether you organize via one method or another,” said Andrew Broy, director of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools. “It wasn’t about you can organize at all, whether you can bust unions, or anything like that.”


I believe that is the very same school that last year decided they were private so the teachers could not form a union. Here is what I reported on this last year.

Chicago charter school claims to be private so teachers won't unionize. Got 23 million public money

Another Chicago charter has claimed it's a "private" school in order to stop its teachers from unionizing. The school has received $23 million in public funds since it opened in 2004. But eight months ago, a solid majority of the school's teachers voted to organize. The school's board, with backing from the charter school association and the Civic Committee, decided to spend tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees in hopes of stalling off union certification.


"In papers filed with the National Labor Relations Board, attorneys for the Chicago Math and Science Academy on the city's North Side say the school should be exempt from an Illinois law that grants employees of all public schools the right to form unions for contract negotiations. -- Tribune"

Teachers report threats by principal, Ali Yilmaz as well as the firing of a popular and well-respected teacher who was part of the union organizing drive.

In the same Trib article, University of Chicago's Tim Knowles is sounding more and more like Wisconsin's Gov. Walker, claiming that collective-bargaining rights for teachers are "a risk to those basic freedoms".


Here is more from the article today at WBEZ91.5.

Labor board decision that school is "private entity" may set precedent

In many ways, they are like government contractors, said James Powers, the attorney representing CMSA. A school district signs a contract with a private group, usually a non-profit organization, to run a school and allocates public money based on the number of students served.

But as the charter sector grows in cities across the country, teachers unions and other pro-labor groups have said expanding charters is a “union-busting” tactic.


Charter schools want to be public schools so they can get taxpayer's money. Then they want to be private so teachers can't unionize.

I don't see how charter schools can legitimately have it both ways.

Crossposted at Daily Kos

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