Dear JCEA Members,
The District’s decision to begin phasing middle and high school students back to 100% in-person learning starting March 15 through April 5 has many of us feeling overwhelmed. The truth is, some of our JCEA members are overwhelmingly happy and relieved to return, and some JCEA members are overwhelmingly frustrated and scared.
JCEA is a group of members representing over 5,000 educators; and today, we are divided about whether the District’s decision to return is good news or bad news. COVID is a divisive issue not only within our own membership, but in our nation as a whole. The worst thing we can do right now is fight each other. It’s time for us to unite around the issues that we do agree on and continue to work together to find solutions.
Our membership has been unified in our insistence that learning must be as safe as possible for all involved, that decision making must be transparent, that all stakeholder voices must be heard, and that inequities need to be addressed. We will continue to fight for safety, transparency, equity, and shared decision making.
Right now, we can unite in two ways:
- Let’s continue to communicate with the decision makers – the School Board and Interim Superintendent, Kristopher Schuh. Using our collective voice is something we’re incredibly good at. So let’s keep using our educator voices to let them know that if they want students safely back in the classroom, they’ve got to put health and safety first.
- Let’s win a powerful new negotiated agreement – we started bargaining the new contract this week! When you show up to virtual bargaining sessions, we are stronger. When you talk about the upcoming bargaining sessions with your colleagues, we are stronger. And when you take collective action with our Bargaining and Organizing Action Team (BOAT), we are unstoppable.
In solidarity and unity,
Brooke Williams, Art Teacher & JCEA President
PS – We will always support our members taking collective action. Take action with us by getting involved to put pressure on the decision makers and to win our new contract. If you and your colleagues want to take other actions, we’ll support you, but we want you to be informed before you start planning. Check out this short FAQ below for more information about organizing actions in your schools:
Organizing Actions in Your School FAQ
- Is JCEA organizing walk outs or sick outs?
- No – Many JCEA members are independently organizing actions against returning to 100% in-person as the plan is currently. While JCEA as an organization is not organizing these actions, we support ALL members raising their voices about returning or not returning. Remember that your principal can ask for documentation when you call in a sick day. Actions must be followed through with direct and personal outreach to both colleagues and district leadership.
- What about “working the contract”? Can JCEA participate in or encourage working the contract?
- Yes – We can call for and advocate for educators to work only to the contract hours, which is a very effective protest and does send a very clear message, however it is only strong and effective if a super- majority of teachers participate and adhere to this action over an extended period.
- What is the JCEA Board of Directors doing about the District’s decision to send secondary students back to 100% in-person?
- In an emergency board of directors meeting your elected leaders voted to align with the COVID Monitoring Committee’s recommendations for when and how we would return. The District’s final decision was to return a week earlier on April 5. Read more about the CMC’s discussion and recommendations HERE.
- If I want to organize an action at my school, is there anyone at JCEA that I can call to ask for advice?