When is *disruption* not just a super cool buzz word but something that’s actually, well, *disruptive*?
That would be when teachers at the National Charter Schools Conference in New Orleans ask the CEO of an Ohio charter management organization about firing teachers for trying to organizing a union at his schools—and using taxpayer money to pay the fine when he got caught.
This went about as well as you might expect. And when security arrived, combing through the crowd for disruptors, that’s when things got really disruptive…
The backstory is great and includes that one charter group in Cleveland fired teachers who were organizing unfairly and was found guilty by the feds of:
*interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees.* The order, similar to an indictment in a criminal case, also accused I Can of *discriminating in regard to the hire or tenure or terms or conditions of employment, thereby discouraging membership in a labor organization.* I Can founders Marshall Emerson and Jason Stragand, meanwhile, acknowledged that they’d like their schools to remain union free, then paid the $69,000 in backpay they were ordered to pay the fired teachers with tax-payer money.(I'll note here that Ohio is one of the top poster children for how charters can ruin public education. The stories coming out of there about corrupt charters are legion. This one doesn't surprise me at all.)
So what happened?
Charter school teacher and union member Karla Tobar, raised her hand during a session on Charter School Growth Strategies: Start-Up, Growth, and Expansion, and put to I CAN CEO Marshall Emerson a question that went something like this: *that PowerPoint slide you just had up about hiring, working with and retaining good teachers? Um, how do you square that with firing a bunch of them when they tried to organize a union?*Amazing.
Unions exist because otherwise management is likely to do everything their way. And that leaves a group of workers with almost no rights and no security and no input about their job or job conditions. Apparently some charter teachers are starting to realize this.