No chance

Cleveland may drop a very successful YMCA-run last-chance program for students who’d otherwise be expelled; the teachers aren’t union members. The Plain Dealer reports:

When teachers at Cleveland’s A.B. Hart Middle School threatened to walk out in February because of serious student behavior problems, the YMCA’s Phoenix program played a part in defusing the situation.

About 20 problem students were taken out of A.B. Hart and sent to various YMCA branches, where they attended classes in a last-chance program for Cleveland students called the Phoenix Alternative Program.

In a Phoenix class, there is one teacher or staff member for every seven students. Part of the day is spent in “group,” a session to teach study skills and good habits. Of the 330 students who went through a Phoenix program last year instead of being expelled, 90 percent will return to regular schools in good standing.

The Cleveland Teachers Union wants unionized teachers, not YMCA employees, to run the program. The Y’s chief says that wouldn’t work because Phoenix teachers often work late or unconventional hours to meet with parents.

Phoenix costs no more than district-run alternative schools, but the district expects to save $60,000 to $100,000 in legal fees by giving in to the union.

Update: Here’s a story about the Y’s last chance program in Seattle. It features a new high school graduate who’d flunked fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and 10th grade before giving the Y a try.

About Joanne


  1. Steve LaBonne says:

    The CTU has a new president who is all about “gimme mine”. Together with financial troubles, this bodes ill for a district that has been catastrophically bad for years but had just started to make small but measurable academic gains, helped by a previous union president who was much more interested than his successor in cooperating with the administration to that end. As usual, the kids will be the losers.

  2. Ken Two says:

    In Los Angeles, the County Supervisors voted to change the official seal in order — they contend — to avoid a legal bill fighting the ACLU. At least four public interest law firms offered to represent the County for free but were ignored.

    Now a school district bows to a union in order to avoid a legal expense. I wonder how many public interest law firms have volunteered to represent the schools?

  3. Mad Scientist says:

    Unions. Gotta Love ’em.


  4. Lou Gots says:

    Years ago, looking at public education from the outside, my thoughts often went to the Ancien Regime–the sheer unreality of it, to think that the State exists for the benefit of the aristocracy and that the system can n~~~~ change.

    Now that I am on the inside, all my worst suspicions have been confirmed. We realy seem to think that the public will keep taking what~~~~ we dish out. Don’t look out the window to see what the hammering and sawing is all about: you don’t want to see what they’re setting up in the courtyard.