(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, two KIPP schools in New York have had a majority of their teachers vote to unionize under a card check type provision. New York Times story here.
Andy Rotherham attempts to downplay the whole incident. Nice try Andy, but forget about it. KIPP should pull the plug on these schools at the end of the school year, burn down the buildings and plow salt into the ground upon which they once stood. This would be tragic for the people that no doubt worked very hard to bring these schools to life, but let’s face it, their efforts would be much better rewarded in other states.
The whole idea of running a KIPP academy along with a thousand page union contract is absurd. Half-days on Saturday? Not on your life. On call to help with homework? Are you kidding? KIPP has earned many donors, but can they afford a rubber room? Need to change a light bulb in your classroom? Page 844, paragraph 5 clearly states that you must call a union electrician. You kids sit quietly with your heads down in the dark until he arrives. It will be any day now.
KIPP has a methodology and a hard earned brand to protect, and there are plenty of other kids in other states to help. If Congress is misguided enough to pass a national card check, it will be up to individual states to ban the practice. Those that do may find themselves rewarded by the opening of some very high quality schools.
UPDATE Andy has posted a hopeful reply that the first generation of union agreement with KIPP may be benign due to the threat of closing the school, which he views as a PR nightmare. The unions seems nigh immune to bad PR to me, and the best way to get leverage is to display your willingness to use it. Let’s see how events unfold.