An unhappy union
Gadfly suffered some serious wing pains when news broke that teachers at New York's KIPP AMP planned to unionize; it would have been the third KIPP school in New York to have union ties (the other two, KIPP Academy and KIPP Infinity, have had union membership from the get-go because of a quirk in state law). Turns out AMP's teachers are having second thoughts--and teachers at Academy and Infinity are seeking to break their union ties, too. Even AMP teacher Kashi Nelson, who led the union charge, withdrew her support. At Academy and Infinity, the UFT had been butting in on teacher-leadership business without being asked to do so. "We were totally caught off guard, and our feeling was that we are happy at our schools and we don't need someone to step in on our behalf," explained Academy teacher Matt Hureau. "You feel like you have two parties who are freely communicating, so why would you want a third person to come in for that?" A valid question, indeed. Both matters are in front of the Public Employee Relations Board; we can only hope they side with the employees.
"Charter Schools Weigh Freedom Against the Protection of a Union," by Jennifer Medina, New York Times, April 20, 2009
"KIPP vs. the Teachers' Union," by Marcus Winters, City Journal, April 16, 2009
"Panel to Rule on Charter-Union Tug-of-War," by Yoav Gonen, New York Post, April 22, 2009