Sacramento Public School students affected by union tactics


Students enter school before the first bell at Caroline Wenzel Elementary School in Sacramento on Thursday, April 8, 2021. Classes EK-3 at the City of Sacramento Unified School District returned to in-person learning on Thursday.

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I am a parent of two in the City of Sacramento Unified School District. My friend who trains teachers taught me that the main ethical oath of all teachers is to “do no harm”. Yet the repeated and confrontational negotiating tactics of the Sacramento City Teachers Association do substantial harm to my children who deserve a quality education in our public schools.

The recent “vote” of no confidence against Superintendent Jorge Aguilar by SCTA was a blast chess game, with chess master and SCTA Executive Director John Borsos sacrificing students as consumable pawns. As you might expect, this “vote” is just another chapter in the same dog-eared SCTA playbook we’ve all seen before.

It is intended to create noise to distract from the good things the district has done – like reopening schools for kids to happily return to campus even in the dying days of this pandemic school year. It is intended to trigger misinformation, internal bickering, name calling, mistrust and cynicism. It is a threat to call for a strike. Finally, he positions the substitutes to put pressure to put an end to the false drama that SCTA has caused by putting pressure on the district to give in to the union demands which hurt the students, just for “labor peace”.

Let me predict this summer. The “vote” of no confidence was step 1. Then SCTA will move on to step 2, pushing the baseless script of “fake numbers” that they have been using for over three years and redefining other talking points. arsonists.

At the end of August, when the SCTA’s retroactive increase request fails, they will open phase 3, calling for a strike to destabilize the “best return to school” 2021-22 and blame the destabilization on the district.

How will step 4 take place? Will the district capitulate to SCTA’s anti-student policy? Or will he exercise pro-student leadership like he did this spring when he reopened schools despite SCTA dragging its feet?

One of the limelight of this “vote” is the ludicrous claim that Aguilar is responsible for the district’s failure to teach students with disabilities. Upon arriving in 2017, Aguilar was given a scathing audit documenting decades of inadequate teaching and inappropriate discipline of students with disabilities who violate their federal civil rights.

The audit referred to part of the SCTA collective agreement in the 1990s, which gave teachers the option of refusing to teach students with disabilities or to plan their education. SCTA vigorously defended this illegal clause until 2017, when Aguilar insisted that it be removed from the teacher’s contract.

In addition, Aguilar and his team:

Recruited a class educator, a school principal and a special education manager to serve as the pedagogical director;

Provide families with translators in multiple languages ​​to help them access information and programs for students with disabilities;

Launch of the dyslexia pilot intervention project for thousands of students with reading difficulties;

Implementing early literacy and math assessments to end the wait-to-fail approach for students with learning disabilities; and

Provide professional learning for teachers to design their lessons for better access to all students.

The SCTA has filed grievances against these and other initiatives. They then blame the district for the poor performance of the students. The district is currently threatened with losing its funding for special education due to unreasonable opposition by the SCTA to teachers and school psychologists providing mandated services throughout the pandemic.

I hope my prediction of a continuing labor drama is wrong. If not, parents and community leaders must speak out against SCTA’s damaging manual that places teachers’ working conditions above the educational needs of SCUSD students. We must push the neighborhood to break with the game and remain resolutely pro-student.

Renee Webster-Hawkins is a parent of two in the Sacramento City Unified School District and appointed to the Parents Advisory Committee of the Local Control Accountability Plan.

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