AFT’s Weingarten on Closure of Chavez Schools in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy announced it was closing its middle schools and consolidating its two high schools on one campus. Chavez educators found out their schools were closing via calls from the media:
“Cesar Chavez would be appalled that management at the school that proudly bears his name has treated children, their parents and their educators with such utter contempt. These are children, and their education is not a business to be run on a profit margin. The first priority should always be children and families—but Chavez management, by these actions, has put them dead last.
“Parents were not informed. Teachers were not consulted. The community was not engaged. Many found out via inquiries from reporters—the administration didn’t even have the honor or decency to convey the news directly.
“A perennial problem with under-regulated charter schools is the lack of transparency, accountability and stability. Public schools could never operate in this cavalier and specious manner. Today, Chavez management showed just how damaging that absence of accountability can be.
“Tonight, the educator leaders at Chavez and the AFT have launched an immediate investigation into the administration’s actions and are considering legal action to examine exactly how this breach of good faith—and good governance—occurred.”
The AFT represents 7,500 members at 237 charter schools in 15 states and the District of Columbia. Since summer 2017, educators at 12 charter schools have joined the union.
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.