By Victor Skinner
NEW YORK CITY – What a difference a union makes.
While many of New York City’s non-unionized charter schools are making promising strides with students who struggled in traditional schools, a union-run charter school isn’t doing quite as well.
In fact, the New York Post reports “fewer than 10 percent of eighth-graders at the UFT (United Federation of Teachers) Charter School in Brooklyn passed this year’s state English exams – the worst performance among charters citywide.”
“The city teacher union’s bid to show it could run a charter school as well as any non-unionized shop has blown up in its face, the latest school results show,” according to the Post.
The school, which has its charter from the SUNY Charter Schools Institute up for renewal in January, is led by a former Department of Education superintendent who previously faced sexual-harassment charges.
SUNY officials reviewing the union charter school also found “that the school was breaking federal law regarding services to students learning English and that its trustees had violated open-meeting laws numerous times,” the Post reports.
Shelia Evans-Tranumn, director of the union charter school, told the Post she plans to highlight “important signs of progress,” like improved student retention rates, during the charter renewal process.
Progress or not, it’s clear the UFT-run charter school is an utter failure, likely because the teachers union focuses more on what school employees want than what students need . The main reason many charter schools are able to succeed is because they’re not bound by the restrictive language contained in union contracts.
School leaders at non-unionized charter schools have the authority and flexibility to implement the best policies for students, regardless of what it means for adult employees.
So we aren’t surprised to hear the city’s union-run charter school model is falling flat on its face. We do hope, however, that SUNY officials put an end to the program before more students are robbed of a real education.