CHICAGO (Reuters) – After trying for years to stymie the growth of charter schools in Chicago, leaders of its public school teachers’ union are seeking to enlist staff from charter schools in a bid to strengthen the union’s bargaining power and tap a new source of members’ fees.
Union officials in the third-largest U.S. city say their push for a tie-up took on added urgency after U.S. President Donald Trump chose Betsy DeVos, a backer of charter and private schools, as his education secretary.
In cities and suburbs across the country, charters and traditional public schools have been in fierce competition for students and financing. But many are united in their rejection of private schools and voucher programs.
Unions fear Trump and DeVos will slash funding for traditional public schools, and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) wants charter members to boost their ranks in order to help them fight back.
A more unified approach has long been the answer, said Jesse Sharkey, vice president of the CTU.
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