Thursday, January 3, 2013

Anti-union NLRB ruling confirms that charters aren't public schools

Charter school lobbyists are quick to remind critics that they are still public schools in need of public funding and public support. But when it comes to preventing their teachers from unionizing, they have no problem describing themselves as private entities, free from constraints and laws governing public-sector employees.

Pres. Obama's appointed NLRB has ruled that teachers at a Chicago charter school are now subject to private-sector labor laws, rather than state laws governing public workers.

WBEZ reports:
The ruling made by the National Labor Relations Board last month, said the Chicago Math and Science Academy is a “private entity” and therefore covered under the federal law governing the private sector. The decision overrules a vote taken by teachers last year to form a union in accordance with the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. At the time, two-thirds of teachers at the school approved the union and it became official under state law. 
Chicago Math and Science Academy (CMSA) describes itself as a "public charter school". But CMSA, Inc. is actually a private, nonprofit corporation established under the Illinois General Not-for-Profit Corporation Act of 1986 for the purpose of operating a charter school. CMSA's affairs are conducted by a board of directors, which selects its members, and no public officials or government entities are involved in the selection or removal of members of the board of directors.

CMSA is managed by Concept Schools, a private, NFP based in Des Plaines, Illinois connected with something called the Gulen Movement, run and financed by recluse Turkish billionaire guru, Fethullah Gulen.

Illinois charter law already prevents any Chicago teacher from joining the CTU. That's why CMSA teachers weren't allowed to join the strike by their CPS colleagues in September.

The fact is there's nothing public about CMSA other than the funding it gets from Illinois taxpayers. Another good reason for school districts and teachers to oppose that funding and expansion of privately-run charters. 

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