Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Charters and Unions, revisited (and not for the last time!)

this piece on charters and vouchers in today's nytimes is not the most enlightening thing you will ever read on the subject, but it does end in a thought-provoking way with a quote from the very colorful Tom Mooney of the Ohio Federation of Teachers:
In states like Ohio that permit private companies to govern whole chains of charter schools, the unions have fought them bitterly.

"Charters and vouchers are equal on our agenda," said Tom Mooney, the president of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. "We consider charters more insidious right now, because they've grown larger, but vouchers could grow, too."
Why is the UFT in New York City embracing charters (to some extent) while the OFT sees them as equally evil as vouchers? Maybe it's a public/private thing. It would be hard to call charter schools in NYC an effort at privatization when the schools are so obviously public -- they look like public schools, feel like public schools, and many are even housed inside public schools. In Ohio, however, where you have big companies like White Hat Management that exist to profit off of these schools, charters feel like much more of a threat.

Or maybe it isn't a public/private thing, but an impact thing. New York State is not the kind of stronghold for for-profit management companies that Ohio is, but you still have very vocal protesters in Albany, where the charter schools have simply drawn a very significant number of students away from non-charter public schools.

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