Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Opportunity Charter teachers stand up for their fired colleagues | GothamSchools #TCH11

Opportunity Charter teachers stand up for their fired colleagues | GothamSchools

Opportunity Charter teachers stand up for their fired colleagues

A UFT organizer hands out a pro-union flier to Emily Samuels, an Opportunity Charter School administrators. To the left, Ana Patejdl, a teacher at the school.

For the first time since more than a dozen of their colleagues were abruptly fired last month, current teachers at Opportunity Charter School spoke publicly about the administration’s response to their efforts to join the United Federation of Teachers.

A small group of the teachers joined UFT organizers outside of the school in Harlem this afternoon, carried signs and distributed flies to passersby. They said the schools used a draconian lateness policy as cover to terminate teachers who voted to unionize earlier in the year.

Of the 15 staff members whose contracts were terminated last month, all but one voted pro-union.

The firings had a chilling effect on staff morale, said Jennifer Mitchell, a fourth year teacher.

“People don’t feel safe here. They don’t feel appreciated,” she said.

Mitchell, one of the longest-tenured teachers at the school, which opened in 2004, said the school had drifted

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