Like them or not, teachers unions are really good at getting what they want. Case in point: the Chicago Teachers Union, which was threatening to go on strike if all their demands weren’t met, became the first in the country to negotiate a cap on charter schools in its proposed contract.
Like all teachers unions, including the Detroit Federation of Teachers, the one in Chicago can’t stand that charter schools pull students (and the money that follows them) away from traditional public schools. Most charters aren’t unionized.
So why not try to force them to stop spreading? Not a bad strategy, if you support keeping students in sub-par schools at all costs. This is certainly not good news for families in Chicago who have benefited from school choice and charters in the city, but it’s also not a good omen for charter advocates around the country. Because you can bet this is going to be tried elsewhere, too.
This is the latest affront in recent months to charter schools, spurred by the unions. Earlier this month, the NAACP passed a resolution that called for a moratorium on charter expansion. And unions have also swayed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, along with the Democratic National Committee, to embrace their anti-charter rhetoric.
Luckily for kids in Chicago, the Illinois Charter School Commission can overturn Chicago Public Schools (the sole authorizer in the city) if the district turns down quality new charter applications. Of course, the union wants to gut that commission as well.
In a strongly worded editorial, the Chicago Tribune calls out this power grab by the union for what it is: “This deal strangles charter growth. It demolishes the dreams of thousands of students on waiting lists for charters across the city.”