Letter points to bullying by teachers’ union at Mundo Verde PCS

The following anonymous letter was sent to the Mundo Verde Bilingual PCS parent listserve and was reprinted on the DC Urban Moms and Dad blog.

Dear Mundo Verde Families: 

We want to Save Our School (SOS) Mundo Verde PCS. For years, we have been families of Mundo Verde. The community of teachers, staff, and leaders have been part of our lives, like a second family. We have united with the entire community to watch our children grow, learn a new language, and thrive in a community that honors free play, outdoor time, and sustainability. We’ve shared out voices at Padres meetings; spoken at Coffee with Leadership; or eagerly spoken with prospective families and each other about our school. We support our teachers, our staff, and our leaders. We support our community and we want to unite to Save our School: Mundo Verde. 

But our community has been divided in these past few weeks by efforts to unionize. These efforts to many of us came from hushed meetings, secret agreements, and clandestine operations culminating in an overt condemnation of our entire community. We have not been “united.” Instead, the efforts spearheaded contradict our entire shared values as a school of ESPICA [Habits of Community Stewardship (referred to as ESPICA, the acronym created by the habits themselves)]. and transparency. While we value the open dialogue of all families and diverse input, we equally value our entire community being able to speak our truth, inquire and collaborate to find common solutions for all of our children. 

We sympathize with our teachers and staff and their concerns over individual support for students; increased health care costs, and ability to have a voice in school happenings. We want the same things for our students and our teachers. What we are less clear is how unionizing will accomplish these things. 

Many of us have worked in unions as teachers, service workers, operators, drivers, and federal and DC government employees. We know first-hand the limits that unions place on employers and employees. We also know that unions can’t guarantee any of these things. We want our school dollars going to our kids not union lawyers and bureaucracy. 

Those of us in DCPS, which has the same teacher union who is at our school (AFT) and DC government, pay substantially more than the $48 for health insurance at MV. Our rates for an individual at the lowest HMO are $95 bi-weekly. DCPS class sizes far exceed the class sizes of our school. Instead of being able to directly speak to our school leaders, managers or leadership, unionization has added layers of bureaucracy to our work places supporting the least qualified individuals in our organizations (see here) Teacher turnover at DCPS is among the highest in the country where more than 1 in 4 teachers leave annually. Students in DCPS have among the fewest resources and have academic achievements far below our school. We want our entire community to thrive. 

We want to urge all of our families to be a part of the conversation of how we Re-Unite our Mundo Verde community. How we all work together to foster and build a community that honors all of our teachers, staff, leaders and families. How we rebuild the trust within our school community. The events of the last few weeks contradict this very spirit. We have been asked to interject our kids into an adult debate. Let our children be kids! 

In the past few weeks, many of us have been sickened by the division this has created in our school. The secret meetings, the hushed phone calls, and the division between leadership and select teachers/staff and parents is hurtful.Our school has been mocked on twitter with nasty messages. Local listserves like UrbanMoms have lambasted the division. In just a few days, we are the center stage of the negative press, internal division, and reliance on fear and secret tactics to divide. We want to change the narrative about our school. 

We ask more parents to speak up! We ask more families to support Mundo Verde – our entire community. We have come together collectively to ask – 

– Who is behind the efforts to unionize Mundo Verde? 

– Why are we being targeted on our way to pick up and drop off to sign petitions in secret? 

– Why are we being followed to our kids soccer games, swim lessons, parkour [sic] lessons, choir lessons and being bullied into signing petitions? 

– Why has this entire effort been done in secret? 

– What other ways can we work together for our kids? 

– Why are outsiders speaking at the Board Meeting who have no kids in our school? What are their motivations? 

– How do we reshape the public narrative to share with others what a beautifully diverse community we are so proud to be a part of? 

We want the best for our children. We want a school community that is UNITED among all of our voices. We want to Save our School: Mundo Verde with our voices and collaboration. 

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