March 2, 2010

WE'RE THE DEMOCRATS, AND WE'RE HERE TO HELP....THE AFFLUENT:

Charter Schools Lose in L.A.: The City of Angels lets teachers’ unions keep control of its worst campuses. (Marcus A. Winters, 3/02/10, National Review)

Charter-school operators were an obvious choice to run the struggling schools. Charter schools are public schools that are not subject to the burdensome restrictions imposed by collective-bargaining agreements, which spell out all the tasks that teachers can’t be required to do and make it impossible to remove even the most ineffective instructors. Eager to expand, Los Angeles charter-school operators excitedly applied to run the failing schools.

But the local teachers’ union, the United Teachers of Los Angeles, didn’t relish the prospect of transferring public schools to charter-school operators and their non-unionized teaching staffs. So the union helped groups of teachers submit their own proposals to run the schools, which suggested some changes to the schools’ operations but didn’t change the fact that the teachers would be covered by the city’s union contract. A separate group, led by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, also submitted applications; it too proposed to keep the schools subject to the existing union contract.

In the end, the school board awarded 28 schools to the union-sponsored groups, two schools to the mayor’s group, and one to a nonprofit. Only seven will be run by charters — and they don’t include any of the 13 failing schools. This is a huge missed opportunity. Freedom from the teachers’ unions is precisely what makes charter schools so good.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 2, 2010 7:04 AM
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