New York City recently issued a progress report on the difference between non-union and union charter schools. The 49 non-union charter schools operating in New York City significantly outperform the charter schools whose teachers operate under a contract negotiated by the United Federation of Teachers, which puts a stranglehold on what the school can do. Non-union charter schools earned an overall average score that converts to a B-. The union charter schools' average was nearly 10 points behind the non-union schools, earning these schools an average grade of C-. In each of the three categories in which the schools were graded (attendance, student efficiency rates, academic progress or improvement on New York State English, Language Arts, and Math exams), the non-union charter schools outperformed the UFT-represented charter schools.
We ought to drop-kick the unions out of our schools. The unions are not there to make sure your kids get a good education. The unions are there as a political bully group and money-making apparatus.
I've said it a zillion times and will continue saying it whenever given the opportunity: in addition to non-union schools, our children should also be educated in single-sex classrooms. Simply putting girls in one room and boys in the other is not the point. In fact, there have been public schools which did just that, and had everything happen the same as usual. That gives you a bad outcome. The idea of the single-sex education format is it creates opportunities that don't exist in the co-ed classroom. Teachers can employ strategies in the all-boys classroom and in the all-girls classroom which don't work well or at all in the co-ed classroom. So, the teachers need appropriate training in professional development.
In parts of Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa and Illinois there has been a dramatic improvement in grades and test scores after adopting single-sex classrooms, but that's because they did more than just put the girls in separate rooms. In each of the schools examined, teachers received training in practical gender-specific classroom strategies and the best practices for gender-separate classrooms. Researchers at Stetson University in Florida completed a three-year pilot project comparing the single-sex classrooms with co-ed classrooms at a particular elementary school. Students in the fourth grade were assigned to either single-sex or co-ed classrooms. All other relevant parameters (class size, teacher training, etc.) were matched. Here's how it came out:
Boys in co-ed classes: 37% scored "proficient."
Boys in single sex classes: 86% scored "proficient"
Girls in co-ed classes: 59% scored "proficient"
Girls in single-sex classes: 75% scored "proficient"
What's interesting is, when they do the training, you see a whole difference in how the boys' classrooms and the girls' classrooms look. For example, in the boys' classrooms, you'll see boys all over the room. They often have music on, they're given something to do with their hands and they're given individual projects. In the girls' classrooms, they're all sitting there lined up, sweet, compliant, and listening. Girls and boys are different. Boys bounce off walls and do much better when you don't constrain them to a seat. When some of the boys were in co-ed classrooms, they were labeled as "learning disabled" or with ADHD. Many of the boys who scored "proficient" in the single-sex classroom had previously been labeled as having ADHD.
The proof is there. At minimum, there's no distraction in single-sex classrooms. But you've got the ACLU, the National Organization of "I Don't Know What Kind of" Women, the American Association of University Women and other groups jumping up and down screaming that this is some kind of discrimination. This kind of blind, ignorant hysteria is really annoying because it doesn't speak to the needs of the children.
So, in non-unionized charter schools, kids do better. Single-sex classrooms, where the teachers are specifically trained to deal with how girls and boys learn are superior. If you don't have access to those, then try homeschooling. Notice how you teach your sons and daughters differently, because you know how to get their attention, and it's different with each gender. The little girls are just dying to please, and the little boys are bouncing off the walls. They don't have to be ADHD to bounce off the walls. They just have to be male.