Seven Years Later, UFT Charter School Proves a Point

Mike Antonucci:

The invaluable Gotham Schools brings us the news of the possible closure of the United Federation of Teachers Charter School in New York, which was opened with much fanfare back in 2005. There is no mystery about the reason:
“But seven years into its existence, the nation’s first union-run school is one of the lowest-performing schools in the city. Fewer than a third of students are reading on grade level, and the math proficiency rate among eighth-graders is less than half the city average.”
I have a few thoughts:
1) The Gotham Schools headline strikes directly to the heart of the matter – “Opened to prove a point, UFT’s charter school could be closed.” Proving a point is not a firm foundation to build a successful school, particularly a point that is only indirectly connected to student learning. In 2005, the UFT committee tasked to evaluate the charter idea expected the school to “demonstrate to other charter schools the value of organizing” and to “serve as part of the fight against privatization and union-busting.” At the time I remarked, “Now there’s a mission statement designed to appeal to parents and students!”