Michigan: How Far Will a Charter School Go to Prevent Teachers from Joining a Union?

Diane Ravitch's blog

This is the story of an enthusiastic young teacher who eagerly sought a position in a Michigan charter school, only to be disillusioned by the administration’s indifference to teachers and their views about their work.

When teachers in the charter school became frustrated by their powerlessness, they decided to form a union. Bad idea. The enthusiastic young teacher was out of a job and out of teaching.

The story is bigger than just one person, however. It is the story of how charters began with the sponsorship of the nation’s most important union leader, Albert Shanker, but is now vehemently opposed to unions.

Nationally, 93% of charter schools are non-union. Their teachers are at-will employees.

In Michigan, 79% of the charters operate for profit.

This was not what Shanker had in mind.

When reformers wonder why unions oppose charter schools, it is because the overwhelming majority of charter schools do…

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