Today's New York Post reports that the AFL-CIO, the union umbrella organization, has joined in the anti-charter school fight by working in "solidarity" with its teacher union brethren against more charter school opportunities for the New York's students.
This stark contrast is more glaring than ever: "Union Corporate" against charter schools.
"Are we involved? Yes, that's our job." the AFL-CIO source told the Post. And does this source sleep well at night? The article doesn't say.
The AFL-CIO includes the building trade unions and DC-37, along with NYSUT and UFT, among other labor unions. Clearly the deck is stacked against charter schools.
Welcome to business-as-usual at the Albany statehouse.
'Prevailing' Wage Takes Classroom Resources
You may ask, why do the building trades care about charters? Hint: it's not about some jive about "solidarity." Rather, its about artificially fattening their wallets with a prevailing wage mandate on any deal that involves Dormitory Authority financing to help charters obtain facilities. Just to demonstrate what a selfish, adult-centered debate this has been: DASNY financing is helpful to charters, but it's still borrowed money that charters must pay out of their operating funds. Prevailing wage for the adults in the building trade unions would make it more expensive to finance capital costs, which means charters having to divert more funding from the classroom and personnel - like teachers.
Here again, in the name of "solidarity," NYSUT and UFT support less funding for the classroom and for teachers so someone else outside of education can make more money. Go figure.
Reform Delivered by Executive Leadership
The Race to the Top issues being debated in Albany are front and center in the news and the public will know how this all comes out and why. State legislators and Gov. Paterson have to decide whose side they're on as they negotiate RttT legislation with four days remaining: The adults in the AFL-CIO, NYSUT, et. al., that want more for themselves; or the students and families that want more charter schools in their neighborhoods.
Governor Paterson has thus far been solid in his focus to make New York competitive for Race to the Top. He will need to be in order to make education reform, particularly charter schools, a greater reality for New York, just like his two predecessors. Gov. Pataki held out for a strong charter bill in 1998; Gov. Spitzer held out for a charter cap increase in 2007. Both men stayed focused and would not agree to the predictable union-inspired poison pills that would have shackled charter schools and made a mockery of New York's charter school law.
Governors across the country have led the reform effort for Race to the Top. It's Gov. Paterson's moment to do the same and deliver for New York's children.
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.