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June 28, 2006

New York charter school teacher fired for organizing

Nichole Byrne Lau, a New York City charter school teacher, has been fired for trying to organize her colleagues. In May, Ms. Lau received a glowing performance report stating that her students were "lucky to have her as a teacher." Now, says she's been fired for distributing information about pay scale discrepancies between teachers in charter and public schools. [NYT]

Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers, has taken up Ms. Lau's cause.

As president of the UFT, Weingarten offered repeatedly back an increase in school charters for New York on the condition of labor rights for teachers. Her overtures were been rebuffed.

Update: Steve Gilliard has more on the unions and NYC charter schools.


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Main problem I have with teachers unions is they make it really hard for teachers to relocate or move to other districts and maintain their seniority and pay scale. Also makes hiring of teachers extremly difficult in those districts as well. I think it would behove the school unions to re-evaluate their protectionistic approach to hiring/firing/transfering teachers and administrators within school districts.

Why do we shit on our teachers?

There are alot of injustices to teachers and secretarial staff going on in charter schools that is going undiscussed and undisclosed. More often times than not, these charter schools are headed and started by individuals who come with a 'vision' well boxed in their psyche. The thing is that YOU have to fit in that box. I, have in the past 5 years, witnessed everything from subtle discrimination (every minority that has been hired has felt it) to supervisory harassment. Without a union, and a hire letter that you have to sign, that places you as an "at will" employee, no outside mediator or representative, principals and directors can run amock and do. They hide behind the excuse that 'it's for the students' but what I have seen is outright disdain for anyone who disagrees or has an opinion contrary to their 'vision' even though the opinion is coming from highly qualified and experienced professionals with valid, proven methods. The state should come and besides evaluating student success, (which by the way, can be suspicious also because of the testing methods in these schools), should do comprehensive evaluations on the working conditions and hiring and firing practices of these institutions.

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