Mice don’t like cats, writes Jay Mathews in the Washington Post. And teachers’ unions don’t like charter schools. But the American Federation of Teachers is taking $2.8 million from charter-funding foundations for an AFT Innovation Fund that will support “bold education innovations,” said president Randi Weingarten. Why?
The Broad Foundation and the Gates Foundation are supplying most of the money. Both have funded charter schools. Both support controversial D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, whose pay-for-performance proposal has riled the union faithful. Mathews writes:
When I asked why she was dealing with foundations whose support for charters is so unpopular with her members, she replied, “The ties that bind us are so much greater than the squabbles that divide us.”
Mathews hopes for a truce.
Younger teachers going into regular and charter schools, and into the AFT, appear more willing than older teachers to give up tenure for more pay and more impact on student achievement. Their friends working for Google and McKinsey and Goldman Sachs don’t have tenure. Why should they? Teachers in the most successful charters are working longer hours but being paid more and having the satisfaction of seeing great improvement in their students. What’s wrong with that?
He speculates that Weingarten “wants to stay ahead of the generational shift.”
Teachers’ unions have tried to embrace reform before without much to show for it, writes EIA Intercepts.