By Shane Parmely, SDEA Board member
Approval of the minutes was a bit of a flashback: Scott Mullin insisted certain sentences be removed because including a record of their conversation about the election was “divisive” and VP Lindsay Burningham insisted that more “positives” be added to the minutes. Alrighty then…
While Election Results was listed early in the agenda, the results were never announced and as a result, there was no discussion of the election, period. This was problematic as it meant that the fact that SDEA Treasurer Manuel Gomez cussed at SDEA Board Member Nancy Dosick was never discussed. Dosick was going to bring up the issue during that agenda item, but President Bill Freeman skipped it entirely.
Rep. Council’s November resolution to investigate and implement online voting by the Spring Election was a discussion item. Major red flag: Burningham went out of her way to emphasize that the resolution did not guarantee electronic voting for the spring election and that Rep. Council would have to approve electronic voting at the February Rep. Council. If you want our union to join this millennium, please get February 12thon your calendar now, as a significant number of teachers clearly don’t want their colleagues to be able to vote online. During the Rep. Council debate, a few ARs even made comments about how teachers who misplace their ballots or are too lazy to vote by mail don’t deserve to vote. Nice.
Remember the Up for Ed resolution Rep Council unanimously passed back in October regarding holding our School Board Members and Superintendent accountable to their promises to keep corporate reformers (like Up for Ed) out of our schools? Yeah, well it turns out that Freeman never actually delivered that to the School Board. And then Up for Ed wrote this crazypants piece about how our union passed a “resolution against parents.” And in their quest to put us uppity UNIONIZED teachers back in our place they apparently got School Board Member Scott Barnett to write this proclamation about what a super awesome “grassroots” organization they are. (If you are unfamiliar with grassroots vs astroturf, please read this!) And then ALL the other Board members signed it. Every. Single. One. All of whom our union has endorsed. (Read about it HERE.) So basically, because we never delivered our resolution, Up for Ed got to invent its content and then had two months to campaign for a self-congratulating proclamation. Rad.
Our Board’s conversation about Rep. Council’s resolution and the SDUSD Board’s proclamation was baffling at times. It’s really confounding to see self-proclaimed strong unionists make excuses for their employers and openly anti-union special interest groups. I just sat there and wondered if some of our Board members ever experience cognitive dissonance when they speak. This is why it’s extremely important to make sure that the actions of our union leaders actually reflect the will of the membership.
Bizarrely, at the end of this discussion, Freeman asked Peter Burrell and Ramon Espinal if they would meet with him to further discuss the resolution. Jenny Rivera’s jaw literally dropped. Then she asked if she could be included, too, since… you know… SHE was the one who authored the resolution and unanimously passed the motion?! Oh, yes, of course.
I am really looking forward to my first Board meeting.