Skip to main content

In February, Agustin Morales spoke out against "data walls" on which students' test scores were publicly displayed at a school committee meeting in Holyoke, Massachusetts, where Morales is a teacher:

In May, he was elected president of his union local. In June, his contract was not renewed. Fellow teachers and parents of his students have spoken out in support of Morales, and close to 2,000 people have signed a petition urging the school committee to investigate what looks a lot like the retaliatory firing of an activist—an activist who happens to be one of the few Puerto Rican teachers in an overwhelmingly Puerto Rican school district.

In New Jersey, another local union president is threatened with firing after he protested against a surveillance system his school district had installed to monitor teachers and students. That teacher, Mike Mignone, is suspended pending a hearing; if he didn't have tenure, he might have just been let go as abruptly as Agustin Morales. Mignone, too, has significant community support.

And more:

  • When it comes to temps, who's the boss?
    Call it the “Who’s the Boss” phenomenon: The business models of many major U.S. companies depend on workers who are legally employed by someone else. Labor groups argue that such sprawling supply chains make it harder to hold companies accountable for abuse, let alone organize the workers involved. Now they’re pushing back: A California bill would put companies on the hook when employees get cheated by their contractors.
  • Women spend nearly an hour per day more on chores than men.
  • A domestic workers bill of rights in Massachusetts:
    The legislation, which passed the House overwhelmingly last week and awaits the governor’s signature, establishes basic rules on working hours, rest breaks and dealing with work-related complaints. Similar to and building upon comparable laws in New York, California and Hawaii, the bill grants domestic workers 24 hours of consecutive rest weekly for 40 hours of work per week, plus overtime for each excess hour worked. Bosses who employ a worker for more than sixteen hours per week must provide the terms of employment, including wages and working conditions, in writing up-front. Workers have formal civil rights protections through the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, giving them recourse against common problems in this sector like sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. Workers are also protected from retaliation for complaining about wage violations.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  "Tenure is antiquated" My. Fat. White. Ass. (10+ / 0-)

    This is what happens when you take away the due process rights of teachers.

    To anyone who supported the ruling in Vergara v Califorina I say

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 03:14:59 PM PDT

  •  Those making these decisions must have no class... (6+ / 0-)

    Those making these decisions must have no classroom experience. I've seen it before.

  •  If this happens... no way I will vote D again... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Don't tell me this is true....

    Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

    by semioticjim on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 09:39:24 PM PDT

    •  ?? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's very R of you.

      No country can be both ignorant and free - Thomas Jefferson

      by fjb on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 07:28:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And we wonder why the educated (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        in America is headed for the bottom rung.
        Education is for the children; not a political football.

        But I guess if the 1% can rule education they can place whomever they wish to rule the country.

        No country can be both ignorant and free - Thomas Jefferson

        by fjb on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 07:37:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •   ALEC is fully engaged in modern day Book Burning (0+ / 0-)

          "Book burning" refers to the ritual destruction by fire of books or other written materials. Usually carried out in a public context, the burning of books represents an element of censorship and usually proceeds from a cultural, religious, or political opposition to the materials in question.

          the little fascist that the truly are:

          Book burning has a long and dark history; and perhaps the most famous of these events, the burning of books under the Nazi regime on May 10, 1933

          source : Holocaust Encyclopedia

        •  That's not very R of me...that's very Green... (0+ / 0-)

          ..the dems are the liberal wing of the corporate party...the rethugs are the conservative wing of the corporate party...both parties represent corporations.

          Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

          by semioticjim on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 09:09:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  ...bottom rung? (0+ / 0-)

          Bottom rung of what? It is a myth that American education is failing in this country. This myth has been perpetrated by corporate mass media and politicians beholden to corporate donors.

          Obama sold out this countries children by enslaving them to corporate control of education policy.

          High stakes testing is immoral and used to enslave the formative minds of children.

          Educational experience based on non-consensual behaviorism is authoritarian mind control.

          by semioticjim on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 09:14:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Striking a balance (0+ / 0-)

    Anti-union people focus on the abuses committed by unionized workers, and those abuses do exist. Pro-union people focus on the abuses committed by employers, and those abuses also exist. Each side would probably garner more public support if they admitted that the other side does, to some extent, have some valid points. At the moment, public opinion apparently is more focused on the difficulty of firing, or even correcting, a ridiculously incompetent teacher, and thus is sympathetic to the anti-union appeal. Teachers' unions would help their own cause if they worked harder on projecting the appearance of being willing to discipline one of their own when appropriate. Otherwise, they come across the same way as do some doctors and lawyers (and many partisan politicians) who defend their own, no matter what.


    •  NO to your myth based thinking (9+ / 0-)

      It is not hard to fire or "correct?" teachers who need that, and before all that, there are few to no "ridiculously incompetent" teachers in classrooms. The folks who are spreading this lie inadvertently proved that themselves with their own evaluation system. Most teachers who might not belong in front of students don't last past their first year let alone get into the classroom in the first place. Teachers unions do in fact discipline their own when needed, because just like other humans, they don't like working with losers and being dragged down by them. They absolutely will defend their own against all the false accusations and toxic policies designed to remove experienced, more expensive teachers from schools. That is what the due process rights of tenure are about, DUE PROCESS! How would you like to invest your money, heart and soul in a career and get fired for doing absolutely nothing wrong? The anti-union people are just in it for ideological reasons and for the profits they can divert from the classroom. They don't  give a dead rats ass about the kids.

      •  This exactly what I'm talking about (0+ / 0-)

        If you assert that "ridiculously incompetent" teachers are rare, and that tales of such teachers are overblown by the media, I will agree with you. But if you are saying that there are none whatsoever, then you are mistaken.

        Each side will latch onto anecdotal evidence that supports its view, and present it as though the given example is commonplace. Thus, there are those who talk as though incompetent teachers are the norm. This is dishonest exaggeration. On the other hand, true tales of employer abuse are somewhat easier to come by, which is why I am sympathetic to labor unions (including teacher unions). But as soon as you say that the concept of union abuse is totally a myth, then your point of view is not entirely in accord with actuality.


      •  Clarification (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kstenbch, ram27

        I should have stated that, provided that the details alleged in the article are true, then I am entirely on the teacher's side in this particular dispute. I was making a more general point.

      •  TEACHERS UNIONS (0+ / 0-)

        CitizensArrest, you are completely and utterly correct.

      •  To the Bastille, my comrades! (0+ / 0-)

        We must stand against the Vergara v. California decision for just this reason!

            -  What? Vergara v. California has no bearing on this Mass. situation? Oh.

        Well, tenured teachers must be protected!

            - What?  Teacher Morales was not tenured?  He was a newer teacher in the District (3rd year)?

        But this was retaliation against Union leadership advocating for the kids!

            - Mr. Morales was not a Union leader when he spoke out against district policies.  He ran for, and won, his Union position later.

        But his teaching prowess is well-documented!

            - Teacher Morales has been in 3 Districts in his 7 years of teaching.  His contract with his previous District (Chicopee) had not been renewed.  So he came to Holyoke.  He may be an excellent Teacher.... or maybe not.  We simply have no information.

        Teacher Morales was singled out here!  That clearly is retribution!

             - the District, due to reduced budget (and I suspect, reduced enrollment) actually let go 14-19 other teachers and school employees.  Under the Union's own work rules, these had to be untenured teachers and other staff.

        Well, this is clearly racism by the District!

            - better be careful or you'll upset the Superintendent, Dr. Sergio Páez (who approved the action)

        Well I'm pissed off about this and think you should watch that John Stewart video a few times!

            - I am pissed off too.  And I did watch it a few times.  Loved it.  But I'm also not going to assume that the District is evil without some facts or discussion.

        Okay, I have my flame retardant underwear on now so what sez you?

    •  Maybe not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Seems like you're assuming the info that's made public is true, complete, and unbiased. Not many news outlets are pro-union.

  •  Teachers speaking out (6+ / 0-)

    Pitiful as this teacher firing is, it is even more pitiful that he is in remarkably good and plentiful company.

    I encourage teachers and concerned parents or citizens to visit  

    And I offer this as a starting story, that I happen to be all too familiar with:

    I, too, am but a drop in the bucket, or should I say large lake, of the ever expanding harassment of the educators of our children.

  •  Family Educational Rights and Privacy act (FERPA) (7+ / 0-)

    I believe the parents of the students whose names were posted would have legal recourse under FERPA to sue the school.

    FERPA website

    My understanding is that schools cannot reveal any personally identifying information regarding students.

    I am also wondering what would happen if teachers called the child abuse hotline for giving a mentally tortuous test to students. Would days wasted on test prep and taking the test qualify as neglect (of the true purpose of education)?

    Life is not a multiple choice test.

  •  Glad I'm working abroad in beautiful Bali, inst... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Glad I'm working abroad in beautiful Bali, instead of the assward back American education system. I'm not paid a whole lot, but enough to live well and have a little fun on the side.

  •  There oughta be a law! Wait, there is. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfinx, QBee59, ram27, smileycreek, JerryNA, ptressel

    Posting test scores violates the Family Education and Rights Privacy Act (statute at 20 USC 1232g; regulations at 34 CFR Part 99). Related state provisions are located in the Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 71, Sections 34D-E, 37L and 87. So, why not fire teachers for calling out a school district for breaking a law that's been in force since 1994? The district's own attorney seem not to have educated them. Maybe the parents of the kids whose records were displayed would like to file compliance complaints with federal and state education authorities at:

    Massachusetts Department of Education
    350 Main Street
    Malden, MA 01248-5023
    (781) 338-3000


    Family Policy Compliance Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
    Washington, D.C. 20202-4605

    For more details on how Holyoke parents can educate their school district about the law, go to

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site