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Union members protest charter school changes to teaching rules

On Behalf of | Oct 27, 2017 | Union Representation |

Unions are in place to protect workers and help them be compensated fairly and receive all the benefits they are supposed to. New Yorkers who are in a labor union should be aware of all that the union does for them in ensuring that employers adhere to labor law. One aspect that a labor union must remember is maintaining certain criteria for people to be employed in their industry. When changes are made as to the work credentials, the union can file a lawsuit to protest this.

The United Federation of Teachers and the New York State United Teachers have filed a lawsuit protesting new regulations approved by the State University of New York easing the path for charter schools to hire teachers who do not have bachelor’s or master’s degrees. According to the lawsuit, the standards will let charters that have been authorized by SUNY to issue their own certification. The unions state that this will reduce the quality of teachers. Those who support the change point to the lack of teachers and that this would increase their ability to hire. Upper-echelon educators decry this move.

The changes mean that teachers would require 160 hours of classroom instruction to qualify. That is far less than what is currently necessary. Charter schools can have as many as 15 teachers who are not certified if they are working to get a master’s degree. Other teachers must be certified as they are in public schools. Only charter schools that are certified by SUNY would be subjected to the new rules.

When there are structural changes to the way workers are educated and the requirements they must fulfill to be considered for a job, there can be a chain reaction that might negatively influence others even if the job – in this case a school – is not where they are planning to work. For unions, having legal assistance is essential precisely in circumstances such as this when they felt the need to file a lawsuit. Having a legal firm that is experienced in union matters is a must and is the first call that any union should make.

Source:, “Teachers Union Sues To Halt New Rules Letting Charters Certify Own Teachers,” Amy Zimmer, Oct. 13, 2017