The Lusher Teachers Union Defeat: Do as I Say and Not as I Do

According to a Lusher Charter School parent, a teacher took the microwave she bought out of the teacher’s lounge because no one who was for unions was going to have the luxury of using her microwave. Parents heard from pro-union teachers that they have received threats by phone, mail and email because they wanted to form a union. The letter sent to Lusher Charter School parents from its PTSA, proclaimed to want to ensure that all teachers’ voices are heard but opposed the United Teachers of Lusher from forming.The PTSA placed signs around the neighborhood displaying its opposition. The tension, animosity and elitism shown by Lusher’s administration adds on to the problem that the school is perceived by most citizens of New Orleans as not playing fair. Many believe schools such as Lusher make up their own rules by serving handpicked students in a city full of children in poverty.

To see the letter visit: PTSABoardLettertoLusherBoard-2

These problems aren’t isolated. School districts around our nation have had their fair share of walkouts, strikes and labor disputes, but for some parents at Lusher Charter School, the way this panned out at their children’s school was disheartening.

When I spoke with Lusher parents, I found that many are confused about the stance taken by the school’s PTSA. Parents believe the administration is influencing the PTSA. They believe the PTSA, which is supposed to be a voice for parents, teachers and students, is only the administration’s puppet and not a true voice for these groups.

“I feel disenfranchised and my confidence in the PTSA and administration is diminished,” said one Lusher parent. “I feel things were hidden and the whole truth wasn’t presented to parents to decide what path to take.”

Some parents I talked to said that every teacher already had a voice when presented with the opportunity whether to join a union. Parents spoke of scare tactics used by the administration and the PTSA which the administration seemingly won over by using a campaign laced with emotions. One parent spoke of a teacher who said she needed her job because teachers in support of the union expected to get fired. More parents spoke of the situation escalating so fast with the PTSA opposing the union that in their minds, things just weren’t right. Parents who were typically informed about fundraisers and other events weren’t invited to the meetings about whether teacher were going to unionize. Parents were also afraid to speak out because they had more children to go through the system.

“They begin saying things like it wants to be the same and they are trying to change the good system that we have for personal gains,” said one parent. “It was obvious to us that our and the students’ voice have been manipulated.”

I want to make several things clear. I am not for or against teachers unions. I am solely for the voice of families as it relates to education. The  parents who lent me their voices and opinions are concerned that the PTSA has been diluted by outside pressure from the school’s administration. Some parents wonder if the A in PTSA stands for administration instead of association.

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