Friday, June 20, 2014

Protest Targeting of Holyoke ( Mass) Teacher Union Leader Gus Morales

June 19, 2014


HOLYOKE TEACHERS, PARENTS, AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS PROTEST TARGETING OF UNION PRESIDENT-ELECT AND PRO-STUDENT ACTIVIST

Holyoke, MA – Holyoke teachers, parents, and community members are protesting the School Department’s decision to not renew the teaching contract of Gus Morales, president-elect of the teacher’s union and a leading activist speaking out for students and the schools they deserve.  Teachers and parents will make their views known at the School Committee meeting at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, June 23 at Dean High School, 1045 Main Street, Holyoke, MA.

For two years, Gus Morales was a highly rated teacher. Then on February 3 he spoke out to the School Committee about data walls, many of which listed students by name along with their scores on standardized tests and many of which were posted in areas accessible to the public (illegal under FERPA). Since then, and especially since he was overwhelmingly elected president of the union local, Gus has been targeted.  He was given highly dubious negative evaluations and has now been told his contract will not be renewed.  

Teachers are outraged by the non-renewal of Gus’s contract, as are many parents. Gus grew up in Holyoke and graduated from Holyoke High.  He is a veteran, bilingual, and a teacher who has the support of students and parents.  He is one of the few Puerto Rican teachers in Holyoke even though the student body is over 75 percent Hispanic. Gus is a male role model for many students.  In May, Gus was elected president of the Holyoke Teachers Association with overwhelming support from his fellow teachers.

Chris Butler, President of I.A.F.F. Local #1693, says, “The Holyoke Firefighters Local #1693 stand in solidarity with the Holyoke teachers and we fully support Mr. Morales in this travesty against organized labor.”

A meeting was held Thursday, June 19th, with Gus Morales and MTA’s General Counsel at the request of the Holyoke Teachers Association to prepare for legal action should the district stand firm in its decision to non-renew Gus Morales. Barbara Madeloni, the president-elect of the Massachusetts Teachers Association, said, “Of course the union will fight this, and fight it hard. A union can’t allow someone to be targeted for his leadership in the union and the community.”

“Teachers know that Gus builds warm relationships with his students and has their respect,” said Nick Zyla, a teacher at the Donahue School. Jose Bou was concerned that the School Department would get rid of one of the few Puerto Rican teachers in town: “This is the wrong way to go.  The School Department should be making every effort to keep strong and effective Puerto Rican teachers.”

As of the time of this press release there are over 1,100 signatures on the petition to have Mr. Morales reinstated.
http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/teachers-voices-must-1.fb48?source=s.icn.fb&r_by=9841933
Contact:  
Cheri Cluff 413.335.7568, clcluff@yahoo.com
Jose Bou jbou@acad.umass.edu
Erin DuFresne erin.dufresne@gmail.com
Angela Thatcher thatcherangela@yahoo.com 413-519-4238
Kiely Rigali kielyrigali@gmail.com 413-575-9263

16 comments:

Joanna Viera said...

Please share with all of your facebook friends. Do not let them destroy public education!

Anonymous said...

#takingitback

ALL OF IT!

Anonymous said...

This is a shame...keep fighting and never give up...

Anonymous said...

Search Dennis Durkin New York principal. Gotta love that internet

Anonymous said...

Why are we protecting Mr. Durkin? The way our dedicated teachers have been vilified should make his past fair game.

Anonymous said...

^ is everyone named Durkin related to Pia? I think not. Whoever wrote the previous post should provide some evidence of the relation.

Anonymous said...

It is her husband. Do I need to help you with a search engine? Here is a link that proves they are husband and wife. http://www.questia.com/magazine/1G1-11664231/the-sandwich-generation-feels-the-squeeze "Pia and Dennis Durkin, both employed by the New York City board of education, had a plan when they bought their Brooklyn brownstone nearly 10 years ago. They would occupy the top three floors and rent the bottom floor until Pia's mother became older and had to move in."

Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/21/nyregion/principal-admits-misusing-school-funds.html

Anonymous said...

http://www.fallriverschools.org/10%2015%2013%20web%20agenda(1).pdf

Anonymous said...

http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/attleboro-school-feud-deepens/article_363ee41b-e9d1-5928-b34c-19dc4e74cdc8.html

Anonymous said...

It's a Pia lover!! There aren't very many of you ignorant people out there. :)

Anonymous said...

Yikes! How the hell does he get away with 5 years probation?? Who did he pay off?

Anonymous said...

Wow! I know it was a awhile ago, but that's pretty bad.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the fall river public schools know about his shady past?

Anonymous said...

so he was prosecuted for stealing from his employer and there were questions about conflicts of interest when she was the super in attleboro-
new bedford knows how to pick winners. Does the school committee have GOOGLE?

Anonymous said...

Not sure members of school committee know how to use a computer; otherwise, I would think that even they would have stumbled over something in regard to criminal activities re. the Durkins. (They have a very checkered past!) Money has long been sought for technology updates at high school, and we are still using technology from a prior century! I still get a chuckle from the superintendent's message when you call NBPS. She states that each and every NBPS child is learning each and every day in each and every school........... Really? She needs a reality check!