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Open Letter to Our Union

Susan Notes: The union response so far is The way to influence the direction of your union is through our elected representative body--the ATF Federation Representative Council. Any ATF Fed Rep can bring forth a motion that is then debated and voted upon by the council.

Stay tuned. I don't think these very abused Albuquerque teachers will go away.

In Albuquerque

Dear Union Leaders,

It was invigorating to be among hundreds protesting corporate education reform this Tuesday, October 22nd. In just one night, we collected over 200 signatures on the letter below. We didn't need to close schools for a strike and no one went to jail. We are urging you as our union leaders to continue actions which will inform and support our teachers, students, parents, and communities on the issues facing education today.

Thank you for your consideration and thoughtfulness in reading the letter below that was made with input from the following educators. We look forward to your response.

Mary Lee Anderson, Montezuma ES

Clayton Beverly, Wherry ES

Francesca Blueher, Montezuma ES

Cass Clowry-Baillio, Bellehaven ES

Linnea Montoya, Montezuma ES

Michelle Perez, Montezuma ES

Cindy Romero, Georgia O'Keeffe ES

Elaine Romero, Wherry ES

Amanda Short, Montezuma ES

David Wilson, Zia ES

Open Letter to Our Union

We are educators and union members responding to the letter from Ellen Bernstein dated October 14, 2013 which detailed action steps in voicing objections to PED teacher evaluations. We look forward to expressing our deep concerns about school grades, teacher evaluation based on test scores, and increased resources that go to high stakes tests by letters to legislators, as well as to fellow educators, students, and school communities. Our group would also like ATF and NM-AFT to consider actions beyond letter writing which are proposed below. For example, many of us participated in the October 22 protest, initiated by Kathy Korte, because this was our first local opportunity to speak out about corporate education reform. However, we feel strongly that rallies and other actions against education reforms should be initiated and organized by our union.

Some action steps we have discussed are:

  • T-shirts and arm bands to develop community awareness of reform policy impacts on our profession, schools, and children

  • Newsletters to our families about increased mandated testing, resources spent on school and teacher grading, and the effects of testing on our children

  • Organized protests/rallies in our school communities before and after the duty day

  • Training and education to families about opting out of mandated testing as well as test boycotts

  • In addition, we urge our union to be more focused on social justice for our children, schools, and communities. Here are a few ideas from educators about what we as a union can do, or investigate, so that we can attain a more democratic public education.

    Mandated Standardized Assessments

  • Explore and communicate the consequences of high-stakes, standardized assessments on school communities, teacher evaluations, and, most importantly, on our children.

  • Inform parents of the APS, "NM State Assessment Parent Exemption Form 2013-2014" for opting out of high stakes testing.

  • Reevaluate AFT's recommendation of a "One-Year Moratorium" on CCSS testing. This simply delays the inappropriate, destructive, mandated high-stakes assessments.

  • Teacher Evaluation

  • Research the resources spent by New Mexico for teacher evaluation as well as money spent on the contract with Teachscape.

  • Investigate the consequences to complying with ONLY the mandated portions of the Teachscape evaluation system.

  • Organize a committee that researches IF there is a teacher evaluation system based on student test scores that can actually enhance and enrich the profession of teaching.

  • CCSS

  • How can we use our precious resources to have true professional development that enhances teacher learning while promoting a rich, robust, diverse curriculum?

  • What are the possibilities of our state NOT participating in the upcoming PARCC assessments?

  • Can we develop a greater awareness in our state of the organizations and businesses that created, promoted, and are currently benefiting from the CCSS?

  • We urgently ask our union's guidance and leadership to form strong school-based committees in order to effectively reject harmful educational policies, rebuild our schools, and most importantly, pave the way for a robust, rich, democratic education for our children.

    — Albuquerque Teachers


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