Fighting charters

The Detroit Federation of Teachers is threatening to sue if Michigan universities sponsor charter schools, as allowed under a new state law. On what grounds? They’ll come up with something. Central Michigan University is thinking of starting a Detroit charter school. The Detroit News reports:

Janna Garrison, head of the union representing roughly 9,000 teachers in Detroit Public Schools, wouldn’t specify on what legal grounds the union would challenge the law, saying it’s still premature. But she said CMU and other colleges considering authorizing new charters should be “ashamed.”

“What they’re doing is not about educating students,” Garrison said. “What they’re doing is about making money off our children: greed.”

Last year, philanthropist Bob Thompson offered to give $200 million to build 15 small, high-quality charter high schools in Detroit. Legislators changed the charter law to make it possible, but the union fought so hard and the politics got so vicious that Thompson withdrew his offer.

In Santa Rosa, California, the high school district board is considering a novel way to fight charters: Deny charter middle school graduates the right to attend their neighborhood high schools. Instead, all charter grads who want to attend a regular high school would be sent to Elsie Allen High, which has the lowest test scores and the highest poverty rate. This should encourage charter high schools in Santa Rosa.

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  1. Is it just me, or does the union seem more desperate these days?

  2. Steve LaBonne says:

    They must be. Instead of this lawsuit they may as well put up billboards advertising for vouchers; that would have the same effect at less cost…

  3. It’s making me sick. They accuse entities of greed for establishing schools, but what’s their excuse for fighting the establishment of schools? Children are the victims of the teacher’s unions, not of corporate greed. The unions are afraid of competition, which is the single strongest force in economic and social growth. The NEA and its union underlings know that if parents actually had a choice (like consumers have in almost all other service and product industries), the teachers would be out of their cushy, tenured jobs unless they actually compete with their competitors by constantly proving their ability to do their job (just like every other hard working American in a competitive market has to do on a daily basis). The winner, in the end, is always the consumer – in this case, the parents and their children.

  4. Superdestroyer says:

    Two phrases to remember:

    1. Poison Pill: The teachers unions will try to poison pill any charter school plan. In Colorado was to say that parents who voluntarily worked to start a charter school were not gauranteed a spot in the school for their children.

    2. SLAP (strategic litigation against participation). It does not matter what the law suit is about, it is the idea that college wanting to start a charter schools faces legal fees in addition to the normal start up costs.

    It is obvious that the teachers unions also know the term ‘Hardball.”

  5. It wasn’t too long ago when greed meant you counted your gold coins while children starved on your doorstep. Now it means giving away your money to educate those children, or having a public university educate children!

    This is moving the goalposts outside the stadium!

  6. Moreover, most colleges and universities are non-profit organizations! The union really just looks like a laughing stock in this one.

  7. I wonder why you never see stories like this in the mainstream press…

  8. …Detroit News and the Press Democrat excepted, of course.

  9. Yeah, but was the Free Press supporting the charters, or supporting the unions’ position? I would expect the latter, given that rag’s history.