Sunday, February 26, 2012

Last call...

Dear Readers-

The time is upon us.  For many of you, this is your moment to decide if you take a stand, or if you let this moment pass.

I have asked teachers to call-in on Wednesday, February 29th to protest our districts continuous downward spiral, and while I have had quite a number of you express your support, I have had fewer who would state that they too will miss the suggested date.  While I am glad to see many of you are considering taking a stand, I have to say that I am disappointed in how many of you are giving in to the fear.

I doubt there is little I can say or do at this point that would change very many minds.  Some of you say you will call in on different days in a "staggered" sick-out.  Others have chose their own personal dates to be out, while a former teacher calling him/herself "The Watchful Eye" has suggested we call-in on STAAR testing days (although I see the point behind this last suggestion, I do not agree as I can foresee the problems our kids will face with testing irregularities.)  In many ways I applaud the fact that many of you are willing to do something.  However, our strength will only come if we speak in one loud voice, instead of many small ones.  I believe if we do not come together as one, we will be much easier to ignore.

It is unfortunate that we have to do this on our own, considering the number of us that shell out some of our hard-earned money to Alliance/AFT.  However, Alliance has proven themselves to be ineffective in our recent struggles. Let us look at the effectiveness of our beloved union.

*On the date I came forward to suggest a sick-out, Alliance/AFT had the courage to step forward and "neither condone nor condemn" my actions.  Although they sent me a nice e-mail saying they wish me well, they have helped the district stoke fear in their members by reminding members that "we don't know what the district will do to you if you participate."  Wow- a union helping the district sow disunity.  Thank you, Alliance!

*Alliance has been happy to claim credit for getting Mr. Drake reinstated, although his decision to come forward and share his story with the media play a substantial role in his victory over the bullying tactics of Edwin Flores.  I am sure if a sick-out produces change, they will be quick to claim some credit as well.

*While Alliance has been "representing" us, we have had our days reduced from ten to eight, our wages frozen, our benefits reduced and our contribution to insurance increased.  The board has extended our work day and bullied teachers.

*Alliance claims to be the voice of the teachers of DISD and, according to their webiste, "Your Official Voice for Change."  Given all they have "accomplished" over the last three years I must ask, "Who's changes?"

Tonight I will send an e-mail to the members of the board, and I will produce its contents on this blog.  If our "official voice of change" cannot produce results, perhaps an unofficial one can.

-Mr. Jones


  1. Hey coward! You're chastizing others for "giving in to fear" if they refuse to join in your illegal sickout, but you're the MOST afraid, or you would identify yourself and stand behind your words here!

  2. Put the kids first instead of yourself. I don't care if you skip work, but I sure as hell wouldn't pay you for it, and if you took more I'd probably fire you.

  3. "Mr. Jones",

    It's pretty clear you are an angry, tired, and bullied teacher within Dallas ISD. You are bright, engaging, and understand what it takes to garner attention. Unfortunately, you are misinformed. There are very real reasons why Alliance AFT has not "condoned or condemned" your proposed sick out. First, Alliance AFT's role is to provide a collective voice to protect members. This sick out takes away any kind of collective voice, removing any power, that Alliance AFT may have within the district. It does this because of what is stated in federal and state law. Texas, an "at-will" state, allows employers to end the employment arbitrarily. Dallas ISD has policies in place that do not allow the simple decision of an administrator to end a person's employment without proper documentation or cause. This sick out is plenty for the district, in their adversarial system, to end an employee's employment. Every teacher or support employee that takes part in your proposed sickout would be accountable for their actions. Alliance AFT can, and will, support any member to the extent necessary, but it cannot condone or condemn this action. Each member understands their situation better than union representatives ever will, so it will not make a stand that will either a) put a member in harm's way, or b) incapacitate a member's right to express their discontent for the malicious actions of the district. Either way, I feel that Alliance AFT has been there to support me through the chaos.

    To teachers and other support staff within Dallas ISD, please think about your actions. There may be more effective channels of action than a disruptive walkout that could not only endanger your employment but will imprint an "acceptable" behavior on the students you interact with daily.

    I am posting anonymously, because I am a current teacher in the district and have family within the district, as well. "Mr. Jones", it is ridiculous for you to call on teachers and support staff to "out" themselves while you are standing behind the front line. By pushing this sick out, you are doing the dirty work for the district. I'm sure they are laughing while they read your posts, and hoping and praying that you help make their job that much easier...

    You should be ashamed of yourself.

    - B

  4. I'm calling in sick and I think those who don't are the true cowards. Those who have commented are expressing anger and I'm not sure I understand why. Are you angry at someone who is taking a risk to make a stand for your working conditions or are you administrators posing as teachers expressing your fear of the chaos you'll face Wednesday?

  5. As a former DISD teacher who fell victim to the district's financial fiasco and Alliance's less than helpful interference, I understand "Mr. Jones'" frustration. I tried several times to gain assistance with and evaluation issue and received nothing more than the advice that requesting a second evaluator really wouldn't do me any good because his/her evaluation would not carry that much weight. My request for assistance in preparing an official appeal went unheeded. Then, I find myself unemployed thanks to Alliance's "helpfullness" in laying out the guidelines by which teachers were chosen for RIF. I was judged solely on ONE bad evaluation which should have been protested. I had years of "acceptable" or "exceeds" evaluations but, at the suggestion from Alliance, the district looked at only the last one. Therefore, I agree that the so-called union (since we really cannot have unions according to state law) is a joke when it comes to true support. Oh, they have had their victories in helping to obtain previous pay raises and such when the district was doing okay financially.However, when it came down to the time when their assistance was truly needed, they stood back and allowed members who had shelled out their hard-earned money to them to be shown the door...forced into signing paperwork stating that we wouldn't sue the district simply to keep the district from blocking our unemployment benefits. Where was the district when we were being told that we had better keep our mouths shut or lose out on the only income many of us would receive for a very long time??? It wasn't with these unfortunate members.

    To come to my point, I agree with "Mr. Jones" that it is up to the teachers themselves to create their own voice and speak out. If not, the district will continue to want more and give less. Good luck!

  6. This blog was written by a teacher? I either hope not, or hope that the teacher is not teaching English or grammar.

    "Who's changes?" Shouldn't that be "Whose changes?" instead of a contracted "Who is changes?"

    "considering the number of us that shell out" should be "considering the number of us WHO shell out" (who is capitalized for emphasis only; and the word "us" refers to people, I assume, in which case the correct word would be "who" instead of "that").

    (although I see the point behind this last suggestion, I do not agree as I can foresee the problems our kids will face with testing irregularities.) This sentence is a complete sentence and can stand on its own with a capital A on although, and a period in the prior sentence.

    Please, Mr. Jones, please take a day off and read a book on grammar and/or proper use of pronouns, proper English, etc. Are grammar and the proper use of words still being taught in schools? I think not.