Yesterday, I wondered what sparked the move by the teachers union to push a second KIPP charter school, KIPP Infinity, into contract negotiations. I said I didn’t know whether the union had taken this initiative on its own or whether it was working in concert with teachers at Infinity, which is considered one of the best KIPP schools in the country.
This morning, Dave Levin, the superintendent of New York City KIPP schools, told me that, as far as he knows, teachers at Infinity did not approach the union to ask for a contract. That goes along with this comment from someone identifying him/herself as a teacher at Infinity on Ezra Klein’s blog. It also suggests that one of the United Federation of Teachers’ most dramatic claims yesterday — that 3 of 4 KIPP charter schools in New York City are now represented by the union — is a little misleading.
KIPP Academy, the original KIPP school in New York City, is unionized only because it was not originally founded as a charter school but as a traditional public school. When it changed to charter status in 2000, it had to keep its unionization, according to the charter school law. KIPP Infinity, as I reported earlier, has also been represented by the union since it opened in 2005, though it doesn’t (yet) have a labor contract. Only KIPP AMP will unionize because teachers organized together and pushed for it.