Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NYSUT Prez Claims Support for Charter Schools - Except They're Outnumbered

NYSUT president Richard Iannuzzi today responded here in the Buffalo News to the unionized faculty at the Charter School for Applied Technologies which had previously demanded NYSUT's the support of its charter teacher members.

Iannuzzi said he "disagree[s] with the accuracy of much of what the local leaders at [CSAT] wrote" about NYSUT. No surprise. Then comes his real message: "I support their advocacy for charter schools within our democratic union" (emphasis mine).

Feel better?

So, not to worry unionized charter teachers: your statewide president "supports" you advocating for your school! And, he supports you doing so "within our democratic union."

Translation: NYSUT charter school teachers lose.

The reason is simple: in a "democratic union" your voice will always been drowned out by being vastly outnumbered by NYSUT's district membership statewide, but also within just Buffalo or any other school district or community school district.

This subtle message from Iannuzzi should be loudly understood by all NYSUT faculty in charter schools. You're outnumbered, which means your interests take a backseat to those of school districts when it comes to education funding and any other competitive issues. Of course, this is what played out this year when NYSUT successfully urged the state legislature to cut charter funding so districts could instead keep that scheduled funding increase for charters.

Iannuzzi's message was only the first paragraph of his Buffalo News op-ed today. Much more can be said about the remainder of his article, but can he have any credibility in light of his opening? What good are his litany of assurances of support to charter faculty when he began by telling you, in effect, you'll be buried by his larger district membership?

Be glad, charter teachers in unionized schools for clarity: Richard Iannuzzi, your president, just telegraphed his reason for not supporting you now, or later when the rubber meets the road. How you react to this is up to you. Teachers at CSAT showed one of the ways.

Peter Murphy
for The Chalkboard

Disclaimer: The Chalkboard is hosted by the New York Charter Schools Association (NYCSA) as a place where members, public education advocates and others can view and respond to informed commentary on timely public education and charter school issues. The views expressed here are not necessarily the official views of the NYCSA, its board, or of any of its individual charter school members. Anyone who claims otherwise is violating the spirit and purpose of this blog. To comment on anything you read here, or to offer tips, advice, comments, or complaints. please contact TheChalkboard.