School Board Speech June 28, 2017

Good evening President Rothman, Vice President Perlman, School Board Members, Superintendent Martinez, Cabinet Members, APT and CSEA brothers and sisters, and members of the community. As you can see I am not Dorothy Kim. Dorothy, along with Lisa Garnett, Gloria Moreno, and Trya Weis, is flying to Boston to attend the NEA Representative Assembly to which they’ve been elected to represent APT members at the national level. My name is Chester Tadeja, I am APT’s 2nd  vice President, and Dorothy has asked me to present this message tonight.

At the last School Board meeting, there was an agenda item which was pulled. This item was regarding the transfer of an administrator from one school site to another. APT leadership has worked with district leadership on this issue for multiple years and we felt very proud and positive about the result which should have been solidified at the last PUSD board meeting. Unfortunately, that decision was not solidified, but reversed. Needless to say, APT leaders do not agree with the reversal of the decision that was made about this administrator and we are here this evening to let our affected members know that they are not alone, and that despite this decision, APT is committed to strengthening the impact of teacher voices in this district. We will not abandon our beliefs in collaboration and shared leadership. Therefore, moving forward, it is vital that district and site-level administration have teacher voice, teacher input, and teacher perspective, some of the most important aspects of its decision-making process.

We would like also to speak briefly on two other related topics. First, we need to revisit ideas expressed by our president at the last school board meeting concerning Vejar school. Middle school teachers, teachers of other grade levels, students, and parents of Vejar have asked APT leaders to reach out once again to PUSD district administration to implore you to revisit the decision to change the 8th grade class schedule from a 6 period day, to interdisciplinary team teaching with block schedule classes. As you know, we share the concerns of these stakeholder groups, not only in the impact of your decision, but also in the process of how this decision was made.  The decision was made for them, but without them. We also share their concern that making decisions like this – decisions which greatly and immediately affect teaching and learning – in a manner reminiscent of an old and ineffective top-down style, is in stark contrast to your own stated goals of deliberate and positive collaboration and shared leadership.

Again, we see this as a missed opportunity to imprint into our collective memory, instances where we worked together on important decisions and came to positive conclusions. We need these type of memories. We need to be able to look back on our work together and see how much better off we are because we endeavored to be inclusive in our decision-making. Surely in this ever increasingly challenging work of education, there will soon come a time when this idea of collaboration will no longer be just an option for us; it will simply become a necessity.

With that, we once again put forth the challenge to you to revisit the schedule change at Vejar. We invite you to enter into a process of decision making which includes teacher perspective as a vital component in reaching best outcomes.

Second and finally, at the last board meeting, an APT member addressed the board with what we deem unprofessional and disrespectful words and tone regarding a fellow member. We want the board and everyone present here this evening to know that this is not in line with our Union Code of Conduct and that this does not exemplify how our members resolve disagreements that may arise between one another. We strive to work in unity and in solidarity in all things, recognizing that we are APT and we are stronger together.

Thank you to those here in attendance, and thank you for listening.