Last Friday, Liana Loewus of Education Week reported that on the day her story appeared the teaching staff of Cesar Chavez Public Charter School Prep Campus took to the streets during their lunch break with signs protesting the administration’s failure to negotiate with them as is required now that they are part of a union. Apparently, the school’s leadership has continued to make changes without including them as part of a collective bargaining agreement.
Ms. Loewus quotes Christian Herr, a science instructor who led the initiative to bring in the American Federation of Teachers affiliated union, reacting to the situation:
“By law after our vote, any changes to our working conditions have to be negotiated with us. Our board continues to make significant changes—adding job duties without additional compensation, things like that—without bargaining with us.”
The school’s principal Kourtney Miller disagreed with this assessment in an email:
“These are entirely their accusations, they haven’t been validated by the NLRB, and we disagree with their complaints.”
As author and philosopher Ayn Rand would state, in this situation both sides are acting perfectly consistent with their nature. Charter schools are successful by moving with dexterity to rapidly adapt to fluctuating conditions so that they can provide the absolute best education possible for their students. Unions, alternatively, fail when it comes to adapting to change quickly, instead institutionalizing modifications to work rules through a legal agreement.
This is exactly the reason that unions and charter schools should not be mentioned in the same sentence. Because each side is operating according to their inherent nature, the environment will never improve. As could have been easily anticipated, the Chavez union has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.
Since the reality over there will eternally not get much better, the Chavez board of directors should take a step emulating hero Howard Roark in Ms. Rand’s novel The Fountainhead and shutter the facility. Now.