Thursday, February 23, 2017

Teachers At A D.C. Charter School Want To Try Something New: Unionizing | WAMU

Teachers At A D.C. Charter School Want To Try Something New: Unionizing | WAMU:

Teachers At A D.C. Charter School Want To Try Something New: Unionizing


Advocates for public charter schools often argue they’re a better alternative to traditional public schools because charters aren’t weighed down by a central administration, school boards and a unionized workforce. But teachers at one D.C. charter school are now looking to do something that’s commonplace among their colleagues in D.C. Public Schools: form a union.
Teachers at Paul Public Charter School in the Brightwood neighborhood of Northwest D.C. have submitted a petition to the school’s management asking that they be permitted to create a union, the District of Columbia Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff. It would be associated with the American Federation of Teachers, which represents teachers and staff at 229 charter schools in 15 states.
If they succeed, it would become the first union in D.C.’s charter sector, which educates close to half of the city’s 90,000 students. Paul converted from a traditional public school to a charter school in 1999. It now serves close to 700 students in middle and high school.
“The motivation for all of us is to try to make our school better, because we feel like there’s been way too much instability in our staff, too many good people leaving year after year, and we want people to be happier and have a more stable place to work and have a stronger voice in making the school a good place,” says David Koenig, chair of the social studies department and a high school teacher.
Koenig, who’s in his fourth year at the school and 13th year overall teaching, says that he reached out to AFT late last year, and started sounding out his colleagues at the start of this school year. Of the 80 teachers, instructional aides and counselors that would qualify to join the union, Koenig says 58 signed the petition that was delivered to the school’s chief executive officer today.
But any move towards unionization could face a number of challenges, both political and Teachers At A D.C. Charter School Want To Try Something New: Unionizing | WAMU:


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