If you harbor any doubt that teacher unions are out for themselves, even at the expense of the students they supposedly care about educating, then a hidden provision in the tentative deal to avert a teacher strike in Chicago should disillusion you.
The deal requires the restriction of growth of charter schools, which many parents consider essential to their kids' receiving a decent education. Paul Crookston of National Review explains:
What makes this deal unique is that it includes an item restricting any growth of charter schools in the whole district — both new schools from opening and existing schools from increasing current enrollment. CTU sees the restriction of charters as part and parcel of their unionized teachers’ salary and job security.
Chicago Teachers Union vice president Jesse Sharkey said Tuesday that the problem with charter expansion is that it has not been done democratically. That’s an odd line of attack given that charter schools depend on voluntary enrollment and their growth is in response to unmet demand for adequate public schools. No students are being forced to use charter schools rather than their district schools. The only way that charters “hurt” traditional public schools is when families decide, en masse, that they need to escape their district school and send their children to a charter.
As Crookston points out, the CTU is playing a long game–rather than restricting negotiations to asking for ever more generous salaries and benefits, it uses them to choke the competition.
If public schools were doing their job and if kids were learning and preparing for the future in these schools, the charter movement would never have started.