Reprieve for a KIPP school

KIPP Ujima Village Academy, one of the highest performing middle schools in Maryland, will be able to stay open for another year, reports the Baltimore Sun. A year is not enough, the Sun editorializes.

The school’s day runs from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with weekend and summer programs added on.

Teachers at KIPP schools work, on average, about a third more hours each year than those at regular public schools, and they are paid about 20 percent more in salary and benefits.

That, however, is the basis of the union’s complaint. Unlike teachers in many other states, charter school teachers in Maryland must belong to the union and abide by the pay scales in the union contract. Based on the number of hours they work, the union calculated that KIPP teachers should be earning 33 percent more in salary and benefits under the standard contract – even though all the teachers there had volunteered to work for what the school was offering.

This year, KIPP was forced to shorten its school day by an hour, lay off administrative staff and cut art and music programs to meet the union requirement. And officials feared they might have had to cut even deeper next year, raising the question of whether the KIPP model could survive in Baltimore.

Now the union has agreed to let the charter teachers accept a nominal raise in pay, making it possible to restore the longer school day.

To get Ujima Village off the cliff’s edge, the state should let charter teachers decide if they want to join a union or go it alone.

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  1. Because Baltimore schools are so successful, right?

    Government schools have to do these types of things to schools that are successful. Government schools have failed and the teachers’ unions (and the ed schools) don’t want the public to see what’s behind the curtain. Shameful.

  2. Walter_E_Wallis says:

    Civil Servants should be given a choice between Civil Service protection or a Union Contract. In a closed shop you have two managements, neither one beholden to you. Years ago Walter Reuther, President of the Auto Worker’s Union, was asked why, knowing that their contract demands would, in the long run, make US cars unprofitable, responded “In the long run we are dead, Unions are for the short run.”

  3. Are the KIPP teachers against being paid a union wage? It is interesting that the only “good” teacher is one who is self-sacrificing.

    My sister works for a charter school in Denver. The wages are half the rate of local unionized schools. She receives NO health care benefits and NO lunch break. The teachers must eat and supervise the students. A teacher has filed an unfair labor practice regarding the lack of breaks and it is winding its way through the system. This model of compensation is not sustainable, it is harmful to students and to the profession of teaching.

  4. On the evidence Katho, the charter model of compensation seems quite sustainable, isn’t harmful to students or to the profession.

    What the charter model is distinctly unsupportive of is union organization charters being independent and thus rather more expensive to organize and bargain for then a school district. Perhaps you feel there’s a connection between union profitability and the good of the student and profession but the relationship is anything but obvious.

  5. Massachusetts has the highest level of teacher unionization and the highest standardized test scores. Mississippi has the lowest level of unionization and the lowest standardized test scores. I don’t think this proves that unionization causes high test scores, but I believe it shows that unionization is not a negative.

    What is wrong with giving teachers the right to due process and a guaranteed lunch break through a union?

  6. Certainly you cannot generalize what working in a KIPP school is like to the entire country. In fact, charter schools vary widely from state to state. At YES Prep ( in Houston, our teachers get great benefits and very similar salaries to the local traditional districts.


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