Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sylvia Saunders: Banned From the Classroom...

(To my fellow educators from K-12, to the community and technical colleges, to the universities--including grad student teachers--we should make unionization of all workers--teachers and staff--a main priority. Defend yourself from political coercion and intimidation. Unionize!

This is why education fails! Because we drive away the brightest, motivated, and creative teachers.)

Banned From the Classroom ... For a Library Field Trip: Anti-Union Administrators in Greenburgh Are At It Again
by Sylvia Saunders
New York Teacher

Imagine getting thrown out of your classroom for accompanying your students to the public library.

That's what's happened to Greenburgh 11 teacher Jennifer Cole, who awoke to a 6:30 a.m. phone call March 15 telling her not to report to work. An administrator told her she was suspended immediately - exiled to write lesson plans off campus, pending the outcome of a lengthy 3020-a disciplinary hearing. As if that wasn't enough, the administration callously prohibited Cole from dropping off and picking up her two daughters, 4-year-old Kayla and 1-year-old Sophie, from the Little Village Day Care, an on-campus center where they have been since infancy.

"Jennifer's horror story is just the latest in a series of union-busting activities," said Greenburgh 11 Federation of Teachers President John Goetschius, who was one of 17 teachers suspended by the administration in 1994 and 1995 for protesting contract and disciplinary disputes. "When Jen started to shake things up - to try to bring the union back to life on campus - that's when they came at her with the hammer."

Greenburgh 11 is a public school district created by a special act of the state Legislature to serve emotionally disturbed boys who live at a non-profit child care agency, Children's Village. Formerly an orphanage, the 150-acre campus overlooking the Hudson River is a residential treatment center serving mostly inner city kids sent there by the courts.

Union leaders say the administration's decision to file disciplinary charges has nothing to do with Cole's professionalism or educational expertise - she's had seven years of exemplary evaluations and worked magic with a number of hard-core kids. Her real crime? Union activism.

"They've wasted millions of taxpayer dollars trying to crush the union over the last decade," said New York State United Teachers President Dick Iannuzzi. "They should be investing in students' education, not lawyers and litigation."

Entire Essay

Dialogic Supports Jen Cole

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