Word on the street is that unless today the administration of Mundo Verde Bilinqual PCS voluntarily accepts union representation of its teachers by the District of Columbia Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff, the employees will walk off the job. This follows the claim last Thursday on Twitter by DCACTS that school leadership blocked the school’s doorway as parents supporting the union tried to enter the building to urge the charter’s board of directors to work collaboratively toward recognition of the union.
Of course, if the teachers at Mundo Verde desert their students then they are forfeiting their positions. The action by Mundo Verde’s instructors is similar to the tactics utilized by the American Federation of Teachers-associated union at Cesar Chavez PCS’s Prep Middle School campus. There, DCACTS took to organizing a march in order to protest the failure of the charter to finalize a collective bargaining agreement. The move did not work, and the exercise came across as childish and silly. It also demonstrated for all to see the lack of concern by teachers regarding their students’ education.
Unions do not belong in charter schools. They are antithetical to the nature of these institutions. As Jeanne Allen, the founder and chief executive officer of the Center for Education Reform, pointed out last week, “But the value of charters now seems to be lost even on some who are considered part of the charter school sector. Some parents at Mundo Verde Bilingual Public Charter School are inviting unions to take over their staffing, convinced by an ideological belief that the success of their exceptional charter school is unrelated to autonomy and freedom to hire and contract with nonunion teachers.
They will soon see that once a union is inside the walls and structures of an autonomous public school, it will lose its freedom, its edge, and its relentless focus on student-centered education. The record is clear: Every time a charter school unionizes, it eventually fails. Even if the school survives for a time, it will fall in demand and lose clarity of purpose.”
Since Mundo Verde is now fighting for its survival it should do everything in its power to prevent the union from infiltrating its space. This includes making the decision to close its P Street, N.W. location. As the school’s website states, in 2010, “a group of parents, motivated by the unmet demand for quality, tuition-free, experiential education, teamed up to develop Mundo Verde. Nearly 30 individuals and partners came together to create the school’s vision and concept.”
The unmet demand is still there eight years after this school was opened as evidenced by the fact that there are over 2,000 students on its 2019-to-2020 wait list. Adding a union, and thereby making the school look like a part of DCPS, will ensure that no child is being served at this charter.