One of the myths surrounding charter schools free public schools that exchange a pledge of accountability in some area of achievement for relief from some district regulations and guidelines is that such schools are inevitably opposed by teachers unions. The fact is that the idea of charter schools was pioneered by a national teachers union in the late 1980s as a way to get teachers, parents and the wider community to collaborate to create schools that were both high-achieving and staff-friendly.
In New York, a charter high school run by the local teachers union is so popular that parents compete for classroom seats in a lottery and more than 800 teachers applied for its 18 staff spots when it opened. A charter elementary school run by the union is also wildly popular.
For the last twenty years or so, we’ve heard officials from the local teachers union complain about working conditions, salaries, professional development opportunities, disinterested parents, and overbearing administrators and school board members.
Why not start a charter school, then, to demonstrate some “best practices”?