An open letter to our members, PAUSD colleagues, and community
We have been going through an incredibly challenging time as a community. The pandemic is causing tremendous upheaval to our lives and our work. We have experienced profound uncertainty, anxiety, loss, and trauma. This final week of school should be a time of celebration, and even in ordinary circumstances, it can be hectic and stressful as well. We don't know what's ahead, and yet we must start planning for a disruptive future.
And with all of that as a backdrop, we're watching as our country has been thrown into further distress by the recent murder of George Floyd, coming so closely after other examples of racist violence in America. The murder of Ahmaud Arbery while jogging. The police killing of Breonna Taylor in her own home. Protests sparked by Floyd's murder have evolved in recent days, with acts of violence committed by civilians and police, by people known and unknown, for purposes that are not always clear and sometimes unconnected to the original cause.
What can we say in this moment? To begin, Black lives matter. We acknowledge the unique injustices and suffering inflicted on Black Americans, both recently and relentlessly. Our Black students, families, colleagues, and community members have this much more to deal with now. We offer our support and solidarity.
A union exists not only to serve its members, but to advocate for conditions and policies that help our students, schools, and communities to thrive. In the past, in partnership with PAUSD and CTA, we have supported the anti-bias training for district employees. Our representatives to CTA and NEA policy-making bodies have advocated for antiracist unionism. We stand beside our members who are guided by principles of equity in their efforts to improve our schools and district. We have supported local groups and initiatives that improve the education and wellbeing of our students and working people in our community and organized a contingent to participate in the Women's March last year. Moving forward, the PAEA Executive Board commits to act in four areas of concern:
1. improved representation and inclusivity within our own union
2. student and community engagement
3. discussions about curriculum and instruction
4. dialogue with the PAUSD regarding recruitment practices
We have always tried to improve our association, to organize and encourage more participation of our members; now in this unsettling time, we feel it is more important than ever to not only support teaching and learning but to support social justice. If you would like to be involved in this movement we encourage you to contact us at PAEAVP@paeacta.org. We'll be convening some focus groups to get the conversations started and we welcome other suggestions and ideas. Watch for more opportunities to participate, beyond happy hours to meet and socialize (though we still like those!). We will be setting up volunteer opportunities in communities where there is a need. We are open to more suggestions and ideas and need you to join us to help make a difference.
The PAEA Executive Board
PAEA Members: Update on Negotiations
The District gave us their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Secondary Bell Schedule. We pushed over a counter that covers way more than what was in theirs. The District explained that they wanted separate MOUs for the Secondary Bell Schedule and Health and Safety and nothing could be decided about health and safety yet because it is too early and there are many unknowns. That is true but we know we will need social distancing (so smaller class sizes) and PPE.