We are unionized and non-unionized charter school employees who stand in solidarity with our colleagues in district schools. We share an interest in all New York City schools opening safely, and we support a fully remote beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. Sign on to the statement below to connect with other charter school employees from all over the city.
As charter school employees, we are concerned by the NYCDOE’s rush to reopen public school buildings before it is safe. We, the undersigned, stand with our DOE colleagues who are demanding a fully remote reopening this fall. The DOE’s slightly delayed school reopening will only postpone the public health crisis certain to ensue if hundreds of thousands of students and staff return to crowded, underfunded, and poorly ventilated buildings while the coronavirus continues to sicken and kill New Yorkers.
Last spring, we watched in horror as the pandemic took hold in New York City. Day after day, district and charter educators reported to school, even as other cities and countries around the world were shutting down to prevent suffering and death. When Mayor de Blasio finally closed school buildings in mid-March, the virus had already spiraled out of control, and by the end of the pandemic’s first wave, our city lost more than 23,000 people. Tragically, at least 74 of those who died were UFT members employed by the Department of Education. We do not know how many non-UFT represented DOE employees or charter employees perished. To this day, there has been no accountability for the missteps of the city: missteps which led to many avoidable deaths and an extreme crisis of trust.
In the charter school world, the phrase “freedom and flexibility” often means longer work days and work years, as well as inferior pay, benefits, and health care for charter employees. Unlike our peers in public schools, we have no hope for a pension, even if we join the union. This same “freedom and flexibility” is also deployed to attract families away from DOE schools with promises of better resources and innovation in education.
At this time, the “freedom and flexibility” available to charters has made it possible for some of them, like many private schools, to pre-emptively announce a fully remote start to the school year. We agree with this decision and believe that all schools should follow suit until a comprehensive plan for a safe return can be developed in collaboration with school communities.
Some charters have been able to provide adequate technology, books, school supplies as well as groceries and other needed assistance to families to support them through the crisis. District schools should be adequately funded so they too can improve distance learning and respond to the needs of their communities in such ways.
As long as the DOE continues to act as an unaccountable entity that mistreats and excludes the communities it is supposed to serve, we will see the further splintering of the education system. As charter school employees, we stand in solidarity in the fight to defend public education, and for a system that protects the rights and safety of all public workers, children, and families.
List in formation, click here to sign. School affiliations listed for identification purposes only.
Angela DiGiulio, Amber Charter School
Anna von Muehlen, Compass Charter School
Bonnie Massey, Bronx Community Charter School
Connie Munguia, Amber Charter School
David Sanchez, Explore Schools
Deborah McGinnis, Compass Charter School
Jenny Poole, Compass Charter School
Jessica Higgins, Bronx Community Charter School
Kim McLeveighm, Bronx Community Charter School
Kelsey Corter, Compass Charter School
Khalid Hill, Bronx Community Charter School
Luke Lee, Compass Charter School
Maureen Mathias, Compass Charter School
Monique Dols, Bronx Community Charter School
Paula McMillan-Perez, Bronx Community Charter School
Sara Scott, Compass Charter School
Sharon Paige, Bronx Community Charter School
Shawn McGibeny, Compass Charter School
Tameka Maragh, Compass Charter School
Tori Leventhal, Compass Charter School
Warren Tanner, Amber Charter School