Charter school teachers and staff in Michigan are joining together to build a network in which we can share ideas, pool professional resources, and speak out on important issues affecting our students, our schools, and our profession. The Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff (Michigan ACTS) is committed to providing quality professional development opportunities, mobilizing the charter school community around important policy issues, and working to secure a voice in school-level decision-making for teachers and staff through collective bargaining.
Welcome to Michigan ACTS!
- CCA Teachers & Staff Stand Up for Fairness
For the last 13 years, Lynne Santoscoy has been a social worker at Cesar Chavez Academy (CCA) Middle School in Southwest Detroit. On Wednesday, October 30 she was informed that her position was going to be eliminated by the end of the week aa charter school locatend on Thursday morning, she was asked to leave the building immediately with no opportunity to say goodbye to students and parents she has worked with for years.Other teachers and staff have also had their hours cut or positions changed in the last few weeks. These staffing changes come in the midst of contract negotiations between The Leona Group—the for-profit management company that runs CCA—and the newly established teacher’s union, the Cesar Chavez Academy Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff (CCA-ACTS). Staff voted overwhelmingly to unionize in February 2013 and join the Michigan Alliance of Charter Teachers & Staff (Michigan ACTS), an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers Michigan.One of the core issues the teachers have been trying to address in this first contract is stabilizing the school community by reducing staff turnover. CCA is the largest charter school district in Michigan, with five campuses located across Detroit, and The Leona Group is one of the largest charter operators in the country. Like many charter schools, CCA has suffered from high staff turnover, prompting concerns from parents and community leaders and leading CCA-ACTS to propose a number of measures aimed at enhancing continuity and stabilizing the school community.
U.S. labor law requires The Leona Group/CCA to bargain any changes to working conditions with the union. The Leona Group’s decision to eliminate social worker positions constitutes a unilateral decision and is a violation of the law. Michigan ACTS has filed multiple Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
On Friday, November 1, at 3:45pm, teachers, staff, and supporters plan to demonstrate outside the CCA administration building at 4100 Martin in Detroit. They are demanding that the Leona Group bargain any reduction of staffing levels, and are also demanding that all employees who were impacted by these recent decisions be reinstated. Sign a petition in support of CCA educators here: http://bit.ly/CCA_Letter
- Michigan Council for Educator Effectiveness (MCEE) Releases Final Report Statewide Evaluation System
The MCEE, which was appointed by Governor Snyder and charged with making recommendations for a statewide teacher evaluation system, released their report this summer. Michigan legislators will draft legislation based on their report. Not only does the MCEE recommend that teachers have input in developing an evaluation system, the law actually requires it.
- Back to School for Labor
The fight for union recognition at Philadelphia’s Olney High School shows the challenges of organizing charter schools.
Most people wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to attend a three-hour meeting after work hours. But on May 29, the board meeting of ASPIRA of Pennsylvania, a non-profit that runs four charters schools in Philadelphia, was packed with teachers, students, and other staff members. Holding signs that read “Let’s Work Together,” a group of 30 from the Olney Charter High School quietly sat through the last board meeting of the academic year, waiting to hear if ASPIRA would continue to resist their efforts to unionize.
The public-comment period didn’t begin until 9:00 p.m., with a strict two-minute limit for every speaker. Olney staffers got around the rule. Instead of rushing through their own remarks, each speaker read a few paragraphs from a co-authored statement. Olney employees emphasized their desire to work with the administration and asked ASPIRA to stop fighting their unionization drive. The speech’s final line: “We look forward to working with you.” Members of ASPIRA’s board sat, looked down at the table or shuffled papers, and avoided eye-contact with the teachers.Read More
- Rethinking Punishment (.3 SB-CEUs)
AFT Michigan Presents:
Rethinking Punishment (.3 FREE SB-CEUs)
REGISTER HERE: http://bit.ly/ACTSrethink13
What: Free P.D. on discipline and classroom management
When: Saturday, June 1, 2013 8:30 am – 12:00 pm
Where: AFT Michigan Office, 2661 East Jefferson Ave, Detroit, MI 48207
This is not only a great learning opportunity, but a fantastic chance to network with other people in education and learn about the exciting things happening in Detroit’s schools. Register here: http://bit.ly/ACTSrethink13Read More