Chicago charter schools are having a big shakeup.
Teachers on 13 campuses run by the United Neighborhood Organization, UNO, have voted to switch from being non-union to union.
Advocates of charters often tout non-union teachers as a major advantage. Now, there's debate about what the change will mean for students.
A conservative-leaning think-tank says it'll hurt Chicago's public education even beyond the charters.
One of the newly unionized teachers says she thinks her classroom will be better.
"We're hoping that this leads to increased teacher retention in our schools which is good for the kids," John Tillman says. "We're hoping that as teachers begin to feel more of an obligation to participate in conversations about our profession and about education at-large that those conversations improve in quality and therefore our kinds have better learning conditions."
"The biggest problem right now in Chicago public education is there's no competition for the people who provide the labor, which is the Chicago Teachers Union. And what we need is competition, not less competition."
That man says up to now, Chicago charter schools operating without unions have outperformed the regular public schools.
In all, about 415 teachers and staff are joining the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers. The union is separate from the Chicago Teachers Union.
In a FOX 32 News Special Report on Education, we explore K-12 education in Illinois -- what's good with it, what's bad with it, what's fixable, and maybe not fixable.
The emotion is real when you start messing with neighborhood schools. Parents are fed up with years of reforming, re-staffing, merging, closing, taking over and turning around with mixed results for students.