Why Do Some Charter School Teachers Try to Unionize?

This qualitative study, conducted in New Orleans and Detroit from 2016 to 2018, delves into the reasons behind charter school teachers' efforts to unionize. Through interviews with teachers, the authors uncover some of the primary drivers for unionization, such as teachers’ preferences for increased job security, manageable workloads, and improved student support services. They note differences between the Detroit for-profit charter school and New Orleans non-profit charter school environments – while salary levels were a key issue mentioned in Detroit, New Orleans teachers were more concerned with pay transparency. The study also discusses school administrations’ resistance to unionization, and the negative consequences some teachers faced following these discussions. The findings offer insight into teacher working conditions and the broader discourse on the role of unions in charter schools. This study was conducted by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans.

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