Monday, July 30, 2007

An upstart union comes to charter schools in Los Angeles

The new union is AMU, Asociacion de Maestros Unidos, the Animo Teachers' Union

From the New York Times:
By Sam Dillon

Steve Barr, a major organizer of charter schools, has been waging what often seems like a guerrilla war for control of this city’s chronically failing high schools.

In just seven years, Mr. Barr’s Green Dot Public Schools organization has founded 10 charter high schools and has won approval to open 10 more. Now, in his most aggressive challenge to the public school system, he is fighting to seize control of Locke Senior High, a gang-ridden school in Watts known as one of the worst in the city. A 15-year-old girl was killed by gunfire there in 2005.

In the process, Mr. Barr has fomented a teachers revolt against the Los Angeles Unified School District.

He has driven a wedge through the city’s teachers union by welcoming organized labor — in contrast to other charter operators — and signing a contract with an upstart union...

Board of Directors of Green Dot

Steve Barr – Founder & Chairman, Green Dot Public Schools
Charisse Bremond-Weaver – President & CEO, Brotherhood Crusade
Oscar De La Hoya – Professional Boxer, Philanthropist and Businessman
Glenn Dryfoos – Senior Vice President - Business Affairs, Univision Communications
Susan Estrich – Professor, University of Southern California Gould School of Law
Abigail Garcia – President, Asociacion de Maestros Unidos
Mike Garcia – President, Service Employees International Union Local 1877
Kevin Hall – Chief Operating Officer, Broad Foundation
Rich Leib – Executive Vice President, Liquid Environmental Solutions
Noah Mamet – President, Mamet & Associates
Shane Martin – Dean, Loyola Marymount Graduate School of Education
Pam Rector – Director of the Center for Service and Action, Loyola Marymount
Richard Schaefer – Chief Executive Officer, Golden Boy Promotions
Jeff Shell – President, Comcast Programming, Comcast Communications
Timothy Watkins – President and CEO, Watts Labor Community Action Committee
Joanne Weiss – Partner and Chief Operating Officer, NewSchools Venture Fund

Abigail Garcia is the President of Asociacion de Maestros Unidos, the union representing Green Dot’s teachers and an affiliate of CTA/NEA. She has taught English at Animo Leadership Charter High School for two years. She was driven to the field of education after witnessing the discrepancies in the quality of education available to Latinos compared to other ethnicities and the disproportionately low number of Latinos in higher education. She sees teaching as a catalyst to encourage and promote higher learning among Latinos and empower students in underserved communities. Prior to joining Green Dot, she worked at an elementary school in Watts, California as the Parent Coordinator. Ms. Garcia earned her Masters in Secondary Education and received her BCLAD credential from Loyola Marymount University. She earned a double Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Spanish from the University of California at Berkeley.

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