David v. Goliath

Might charter schools begin the downfall of teacher unions? David Kirkpatrick, Senior Education Fellow at the U.S. Freedom Foundation, thinks so. He outlines the difficulty unions have faced organizing charter schools, mainly because it's inefficient for six figure-earning union staff members to target individual schools. Here's why. When unions organize districts, they get all the schools simultaneously. Should those district employees strike, parents and students have precious few alternatives but to meet their demands. But charter schools are managed autonomously, and if teachers at one charter strike, well, the students can attend another school. This, says Kirkpatrick, is a win-win situation. Teachers in most charters enjoy a more professional working environment and fewer bureaucratic hassles. Students and parents are pleased with increased educational choice. And taxpayers benefit because charters receive fewer dollars, "and they must succeed or fail with those dollars since they have no taxing power." Some unions are fighting back (see here), but it's a losing battle. Is that Reg Weaver's résumé on Monster.com? 

"Charter Schools and Teacher Unions: Ultimately Incompatible?," by David W. Kirkpatrick, EducationNews.Org, April 21, 2006

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