So let's say that there's a vote of no conficence. Then what?
It's no secret to the ISBE that our union has made the sacrifices necessary to become more progressive and more collaborative; it's no secret at the national level either -- as we hit the national stage with a visit from Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT. Our union continues to be the subject of conversation nationally via TURN conferences. Our union has turned the corner. We're trying to head in the right direction. However, each part of the train must be on the right track and must be headed in the right direction for meaningful changes to be made.
The keys to the district all revolve around the word "respect." If you're talking about respect -- as in someone holding a loaded 9mm to your head -- then I think we're on the right track. We're there. If you're talking about respect as in all of the stakeholders in the district are behind a strategic plan and respect that plan . . . we couldn't be further off.
The command of the board must be for the superintendent to do what is necessary to build a spirit of collaboration amongst all of the stakeholders in the district and to get the stakeholders, collaboratively, behind the strategic plan. To have the building administrators in a constant state of fear wondering "who's next" on the chopping block, to alienate every union in the district, to take the "you're either with me or against me" approach . . . that can be done -- it is being done. What will happen, though, is that the district will splinter, we'll lose millions of dollars in funding when it becomes obvious that we've splintered, and we'll have to spend three to six years rebuilding after the inevitable fallout.
The state knows where our union stands. The people I've met from the ISBE via our SIG grant interviews are down to earth and quite insightful. They know the danger our district is in . . . and I'm sure they're watching our district's every move. The question becomes, "What will you do next?" Are we working together, or are we digging trenches?
If the board can't come together to find a way to rebuild the spirit of collaboration we had when Norm left, then my push is going to be for a vote of no confidence. If we're going to crash, it's better that we do it sooner rather than dragging it out for another year. The sooner we can to rebuild, the better.
It is my hope, however, that we get back what we had.
English Teacher, Pride of the City
Member, Peoria Federation of Teachers
(Parent of four children enrolled in District 150 schools)