NY KIPP teachers break from union

After voting to join the United Federation of Teachers more than a year ago, middle-school teachers at a KIPP charter school in Brooklyn want out of the union, The union plans to fight the decision at KIPP AMP, claiming teachers were “intimidated” by KIPP management.

Sixteen staff members signed the petition, including classroom teachers, social workers, the dean of teaching and learning, an operations manager, and the office manager.

When they first voted to unionize, teachers at KIPP AMP said they wanted to “create a more sustainable culture so that we can better serve our students and reduce teacher turnover.” At least three teachers who had formed the initial organizing committee at the school are now signing the petition to break from the union. One is Kashi Nelson, a classroom teacher who also sends her daughter to KIPP AMP and who explained her reversal to Alexander Russo last year.

Here’s Nelson on why she backed the union and why she changed her mind. Teachers also voted to decertify the union at two other unionized KIPP schools  in New York City, Russo reported last year.

To state the obvious, this is a big loss for the UFT.

Eduwonk broke the story.

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  1. Bravo for them!

    Professionals form associations. Teachers form unions.

  2. Anon-

    Are you implying every field that has unions should not be considered a profession? Or simply that anyone who has a job in a field with unions is unprofessional? Or did you mean something else entirely?

    And how would you define a professional? I would bet that a large number of teachers fit the bill.

  3. Nick, it’s a fairly standard meme by anti-teacher zealots. It’s code for “no public school teacher is worthy of respect.”

  4. Code? Since the purpose of the union is to benefit the teacher without regard to any other considerations, including those that distinguish a professional from a clock-punching assembly line worker, what other outcome is there but the loss of respect accorded the professional?

  5. Most other professions don’t want or need unions. Can you imagaine doctors, accountants, vets, or lawyers subjecting themselves to the “leadership” of a union? Yeah, right. Diminish my earnings so that I can have tenure and support the incompetents within my profession – not in this life time. I prefer the money and personal responsibility – Thank you very much. The union status of public school teachers is a hold over from the industrial day. Teachers can adjust to the new reality of school choice minus unions, or they can go the way of other unionized industries – see steelworkers, auto plant workers, and air traffic controllers.

  6. The unions want – and get – both money and tenure. They don’t get – and don’t deserve – respect. Many individual teacher deserve – and get – respect, but it’s in spite of the union. Unions are firmly wedded to the mindset that teachers are interchangeable widgets, regardless of their knowledge, ability to teach, results, specialty area or even their sanity. Just mention the idea of paying hard-to-find HS math/science teachers more than kindergarten teachers and see what happens. In the union view, a master’s in math from Johns Hopkins is no different than a master’s in el ed from University of Maryland Baltimore County.

  7. Independent George says:

    It’s true that being a professional does not exclude being a union member – electricians, plumbers, and carpenters are unquestionably both union members and professionals. The fundamental difference that distinguishes them from teachers, though, is that their services are sold directly to a client, and can be hired/fired at the client’s discretion. The end result is they are accountable for the job they do – being a union worker won’t help them get hired if they develop a bad reputation from their clients.

    While public sector unions are theoretically accountable to the taxpayers, in reality, they wield disproportionate power with the elected officials whom they are supposed to be accountable for. The employment structure of public school teachers doesn’t allow them to be professionals.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by JoanneLeeJacobs. JoanneLeeJacobs said: New blog post: NY KIPP teachers break from union http://bit.ly/9VcUSV […]

  2. […] Joanne Jacobs reported last week that teachers at Brooklyn’s KIPP charter school — after deciding to join the United Federation of Teachers last year–are planning their exit this year. […]