It is incumbent upon us, as union educators, to defend our students, our contractual rights, our district, and our profession. No one else will do it for us. We value schools where all students are accepted, respected, and valued. We know how hard we have fought for fair working conditions and the resources we need to do our jobs. We know that the destruction of APS is nothing short of a union busting plan. We give our all each day and we will fight to preserve our freedom to teach our students in innovative ways and make sure they are informed on matters of science and citizenship. Therefore, we must take action in the current election to ensure that we have an APS Board of Education with whom we can work meaningfully and collaboratively. It’s time to volunteer.
Board members sign your paycheck, vote whether or not to approve contract changes that improve your working conditions, and set the policies of our district. They are our employers.
It has been said that in politics there are no permanent friends or enemies. But, my friends, there are those who wish to destroy our union and hijack our profession. Their pockets are deep. Their intentions are foul.
This week, one perennial enemy reared her head to take snap at our union’s heels again- none other than the anti-public education former governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, who endorsed her minion in District 7, Courtney Jackson, who is running against ATF’s endorsed candidate Julie Brenning. The Albuquerque Journal reported last Saturday that Jackson has broken the all-time record for fund-raising in an APS Board race, raising almost $50,000 from the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, the Bernalillo County Republican Party, NAIOP (the PAC of the investment real estate cabal), and other nefarious entities.
You can counter those corporate dollars by volunteering and/or contributing here.
Do you remember the 8-year reign of terror that was the Martinez Administration? Susana made infamous statements like “Teachers are lazy” and “Teachers don’t deserve a raise.” She installed an evaluation system designed to drive educators from our schools and decimated the state education budget. Is that the APS we want?
Watch and listen to Julie who spoke about the power of educators to change students’ lives and laid out 4 commitments that will guide her work on the Board: 1) Equity of Voice for all stakeholders, 2) Retaining and Attracting educators by supporting them, 3) Transparency in the APS budget and decision-making, and 4) Leveling the playing field by promoting Community Schools and meeting communities’ unique needs.
In yet another race, the opponent of our endorsed candidate, Uche Ohiri in District 7 donated $7,000 to her own campaign in the name of a private school she owns. Does your school have the money to donate politically? Does this sound like an extreme conflict of interest? Crystal Tapia-Romero has raised over $40,000 to run for an unpaid position. She is sponsored by Legacy Church, the puppet masters of none other than Peggy Muller-Aragon, and the Bernalillo County Republican Party which contributed $2,000 to her. Are these the types of people you want to make decisions about what and how you teach in your classroom?
Watch this short video. Uche calls for APS to embrace restorative practices so that students take greater ownership in their behavior and academics. She asserts that we must staff our schools for students needs: more services like additional social workers, counselors, health workers, and others. Only then, can we address the mental and social emotional well-being of our students.
ATF’s endorsed candidate in District 3, Jinx Baskerville, is up against Danielle Gonzales who is actively promoting the charter school lobby. Gonzales has raised $40,000 including $24,000 from out-of-state donors! $5,200 came from “venture capitalist” Arthur Rock. Does that sound like a grass roots campaign that will value public schools? Watch this short video in which Jinx vows to work for students and staff to make our schools great.
ATF’s endorsed candidate in District 6 is Josefina “Josie” Dominguez. She is in a race with an opponent who has been endorsed by both the Chamber and the Journal, two entities that have long desired to disrupt our union’s ability to fight for the rights of our students and staff. Josie spoke at the ATF Meet & Greet about her deep respect for all APS workers. She vowed to expand internships and apprenticeships for our students.
At this writing, there are less than two weeks left until election day. Early voting has begun.
For educators, the election comes down to a simple multiple-choice test about who you want to decide the fate of your career and what you are willing to do about it. Here are your options:
A. You can do nothing to support our endorsed candidates. Big money will win. All our collective energy will be spent fighting the Board.
B. You can do nothing to support our endorsed candidates and we can have a Board that cares more about charter schools and their interests than. they care about you and your students.
C. You can do nothing to support our endorsed candidates. Both A & B will occur.
D. You can get active to support our endorsed candidates over the next two weeks and we can work with a Board that supports public school students and educators’ rights, raises, and professionalism.
It is up to each of us to choose what type of district we want to work in. They have unlimited money, but WE HAVE THE PEOPLE POWER! You can make the difference by spending an hour or two (or more) contacting your fellow ATF members and making sure they vote for our endorsed candidates. Sign up to volunteer here. Time is running out.