Heated debate on charter school organizing punctures routines on second day of American Federation of Teachers convention

A heated and lengthy debate over how to organize the nation's charter schools and on the general approach of the 1.5 member American Federation of Teachers to the proliferation of charter schools interrupted what was otherwise a placid — albeit massive — convention of the American Federation of Teachers in Seattle on July 9, 2010. After learning that their union had surpassed 1.5 million members, witnessing a dance on stage by the union's three national officers, and cheering for a United States Senator, a Special Olympics ambassador, and the head of the National Football Players Association, the more than 3,000 delegates to the bi-annual convention became unusually animated when faced with a resolution regarding the union's organizing of charters schools.

When the debate was over, more than one hour after it had begun, the national union was still in support of charter schools, but the union's official position had shifted measurably.

It was never a question of whether the AFT was going to oppose the expansion of charter schools, despite the view of a growing number of union and education activists that charter schools are the cutting edge of a national campaign of privatization, aimed at both undercutting traditional American public schools and at union busting. Most charter schools in the USA are currently non-union, although a number of delegates from charter schools that have been organized into the AFT showed the delegates that the number of union charter schools is growing.


July 10, 2010 at 7:21 PM

By: Vinicius

Seattle AFT Union

Seems New York AFT group are a bunch of bullies. Folks telling folks NOT to mention anything about charters at the microphone, says that the president of the AFT and who is from NY local, has sold out the AFT to Duncan sell out of education! The president invited Bill Gates, the leader of privatization. She took Gates money for towing the Obama Duncan line. Sad. Seem New York need union reform bad!

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