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Teachers' Union Sues Over Charter School

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Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 6:04 AM

click to enlarge garfield_high.png
United Teachers Los Angeles filed suit against the Los Angeles Unified School District over its establishment of a charter campus that would relieve overcrowding at the Eastside's storied Garfield High School. What's wrong with charter schools, you ask? This could be about jobs.

The UTLA argues that the district is not abiding by an agreement that requires teacher approval when a campus is converted to a charter school. In this case, Garfield is not being converted directly, but when nearby Esteban Torres High opens next year it will take over some of Garfield's population. The union argues the effect will be the same.

A UTLA statement argues that half of union teachers at affected schools must approve of a charter "whether involving a partial or total conversion of an existing school." Teachers at other schools -- identified as 28th Street, Foshay, and Pio Pico -- that will shift personnel and students to new campuses have also joined the suit, according to the union.

Charters allow schools to operate without the shackles of a district's and state's normal public-school rules, which could have an impact on union jobs. Many charter school teachers prefer to work sans unions, and national teachers organizations have opposed such campuses.

"We support positive school change, driven by teachers, parents, and other stakeholders at the school sites, but we will stand up against violations of the law and our members' rights," UTLA President A.J. Duffy stated. "Effective school reform can't begin by breaking the law."

Garfield, the school that inspired the 1988 film Stand And Deliver, is notoriously overcrowded.

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