Last month, the Ohio Education Association voted to begin organizing charter school teachers and staff. The move was a “teaching and learning” decision, not a strategy to boost the union’s declining membership, union leaders said at the time.
And the unionizing will go forward even though OEA isn’t in favor of charter schools as they exist today in Ohio.
And here’s the other thing that may not seem related at first. There are many public officials who are happy to see OEA become smaller, even though it’s caused layoffs caused in turn by massive school budget cuts. Why? Because they want to bust the unions and silence our collective voice. We learned that with SB 5 and Issue 2.
What does that have to do with organizing charter school employees? Because the smaller an organization we become, the less influence we have to help elect responsible legislators who support a positive agenda that puts students at the center of reform, who want to invest in classroom priorities that build the foundation for student learning and who want to ensure that every student has a qualified, caring, committed teacher — in short, elected officials who support reform for our failing charter schools. Organizing charter school educators is both the right thing to do and necessary to us as an organization.