Along with providing a non-partisan, pro-charter choice for teachers, AAE is dedicated to providing charter school teachers with the information they need to make professional decisions. The document below outlines the realities of charter school teachers joining a union.
The Realities of Joining a Union as a Charter School Teacher
Click to download the entire guide in PDF form. The first page is pasted below.
With the growth and appeal of public charter schools over the past two decades, the realization for students and teachers of breaking from traditional public school constraints is a reality. The ability of teachers and administrators to work side-by-side to develop their own outside-the-box approach to education has transformed many dynamics of the public education system. As charter schools, in many cases, are immune from collective bargaining agreements, union contracts, and a rubric that traditional public schools must follow, the unions are now turning their attention to aggressive charter school organizing campaigns. Teachers who have chosen to teach in a public charter school are now aggressively courted by unions to bring charter schools under the union label, often through promises to teachers of an employment utopia, salary and job security, as well as a greater voice in their own future as teachers.
But as unions increasingly court charter schools to increase membership, teachers must fully understand the reasons why unions might court them, and also note the fact that union membership is not the panacea for all employment issues. Unionization can, however, become a hindrance to much of what charter schools are there to accomplish, undermining the choices families of the charter school students have made, and also the choices many teachers make to break from the traditional school model. Unionization also can lead to other unintended consequences for an unsuspecting teacher, including loss of choice and influence on curriculum, loss of input in their own contract discussions and negotiations, as well as loss of ability to take advantage of incentives charter school teachers often have that traditional public school teachers don’t.
Click here to read the entire guide (pdf): Policy Backgrounder: The Realities of Joining a Union as a Charter School Teacher