Teachers at two charter schools move to join Boston union
Teachers at two charter schools have voted to join the Boston Teachers Union — marking a potentially significant change in how the schools operate.
Teachers and staff from the City on a Hill Circuit Street School and the City on a Hill Dudley Square School want to use the union to advocate for more teacher leadership and teacher retention, increased budget transparency and equitable pay, the union said.
The teachers presented their demands to the school administrators yesterday, asking school officials to begin collective bargaining negotiations with the teachers by the end of March, union leaders say.
Charter schools typically run without unions, which administrators say gives them more flexibility outside teacher tenure.
The schools are considered “Commonwealth” charter schools whose charters are granted by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The schools are not operated by the Boston Public Schools system.
“I have taught at City on a Hill Dudley Square since the school opened in 2013, and for a year at City on a Hill Circuit Street before that. We need a union at CoaH Dudley Square to help us improve teacher retention,” Neysha Gonzalez, head Spanish teacher at the Dudley Square School, said in a statement provided by the union. “Reduced turnover will help to maintain a supportive environment for both teachers and students.”
History teacher Donald “Max” McCullough III said in the statement, “After years of decisions that affect teachers and students at City on a Hill being made without teachers’ input, we need a union to ensure our voices are heard. Organizing together, through our union, is the best way to advocate first for the needs of our students, and for our own needs as urban educators.”
BTU President Jessica Tang said in a statement, “Our priority is creating exceptional and successful learning experiences for all students. That means improving the working conditions of all educators, including those working at charter schools funded by public taxpayer dollars, to reduce turnover and sustain stable learning environments for students . ... A common bond among all teachers, whether we work in district or charter schools, is that we all want to see our students thrive.”
City on the Hill administrators did not return requests for comment.