On May possibly 10, the San Antonio Impartial University District (SAISD) university board voted unanimously to hearth Rachell Tucker, a twin language kindergarten instructor at Highland Park Elementary College in San Antonio, Texas. The firing took place soon after Tucker had advocated for amplified security measures and the halting of in-human being discovering at her school amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Three other lecturers have been fired at the very same university board meeting, and at least 9 other lecturers in SAISD have been pressured to resign, with these other victimizations taking place for unspecified explanations.
The firing of Tucker took position in just the broader context of the bipartisan marketing campaign to thoroughly reopen schools and repudiate security evaluate, pursued by the Biden administration, the corporate media, the teachers’ unions, and Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott.
For much of the portion of the school board assembly which permitted general public remarks (viewable below), colleagues and parents pleaded forcefully with the faculty board not to fire Tucker.
The board started off its deliberations on the firings at 11:21pm on Monday, Could 10, right after around an hour of shut session deliberations. The board unanimously terminated probationary deal academics Elsa Aguilar Cordonejo, kindergarten trainer Rachell Tucker, and Rameshwar Pathak, at the end of 2020-21 university calendar year, “in the finest interest of the district.” Continuing agreement teacher Jose Castro was terminated unanimously for “good induce.” On top of that, associate principal Dr. Mateen Diop’s contract was not renewed at the stop of the 2020-21 school year.
It is truly worth inspecting the backgrounds of the college board customers accountable for unanimously victimizing these educators.
According to the agenda, the pursuing users in which current when the board unanimously voted to terminate the four instructors: Patti Radle, Arthur Valdez, Debra Guerrero, Ed Garza, Steve Lecholop, Christina Martinez and Alicia Sebastian-Perry.
Patti Radle is a longtime board member, initial elected to the SAISD Board of Trustees for District 5 in Might of 2011. Radle was an SAISD elementary school instructor for 12 several years just before becoming a member of the Board. Just before her time on the faculty board she was on the San Antonio City Council from 2003-2007. She was endorsed by then-Mayor Julian Castro prior to she even fully commited to run, in accordance to My San Antonio. Castro is a Democrat who later served as US Secretary of Housing and City Improvement underneath the Obama administration from July 2014 to January 2017, later operating in the 2020 Democratic presidential principal. Castro was also a council member for District 7 from 2001-2005.
According to the information site Walker Report, a “Friends of Patti Radle” bash celebrating her four years as a councilwoman included Texas Democratic massive pictures this sort of as Castro and Charlie Gonzales, a member of the US Household of Reps for Texas’s District 20. Also existing was Jaime Martinez, Texas Condition President of the Labor Council for Latin American Improvement, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO and the Improve to Earn coalition, which involves 5 unions: the Teamsters, United Farm Personnel, SEIU, UFCW and IBT.
Arthur Valdez was endorsed by the San Antonio Categorical-News for the District 4 election in 2013 and 2017. Valdez accepted $1,000 from the regulation firms Escamilla and Poneck, LLP, which is stated as “a entire-provider, minority-owned legislation business symbolizing consumers in equally the community and non-public sectors,” and from Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson LLP, which serves as a single of the nation’s biggest federal government personal debt collectors and was the matter of a CNN Funds investigation in 2015 that uncovered the firm’s practice of threatening debtors with jail and arrest.
Both of those firms were being accused of bribing metropolis council users, with a founding husband or wife of Linebarger even likely to jail, and the SAISD Board contracted with equally corporations to symbolize the district in a number of situations.
Ed Garza, Democrat and previous mayor of San Antonio, also took funds from these same legislation companies. According to his page on SAISD’s site, Garza served 8 a long time as a municipal elected formal before staying elected mayor in 2001 and serving two conditions.
The page states that “Garza has served on a lot of corporate and governing boards such as the Texas A&M University Basis, San Antonio chapter of American Institute of Architects, San Antonio Historic Style and Assessment Board, CPS Power, San Antonio Water Methods, City South Management Authority, National League of Towns, Fannie Mae Advisory Board, NALEO, and Harrah’s Enjoyment Inc.”
It also states that he has “testified right before Congress and given displays and keynote speeches to groups including the Countrywide Safety Agency, U.S. Embassy’s Intercontinental Initiative (Argentina, China and Mexico).”
Alicia Perry was endorsed by the San Antonio Alliance of Lecturers and Assistance Personnel, the union symbolizing instructors and non-administrative staff in SAISD, in the course of her run for business in 2019. She was also endorsed by the Texas American Federation of Lecturers (Texas AFT), with the San Antonio Report noting that the union donated to her marketing campaign as a result of in-variety donations these kinds of as printing products and services.
Debra Guerrero also serves as Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Governing administration Relations at The NRP Group, a $750 million actual estate progress and management group. She was the Chair of the Susan G. Komen San Antonio Board, and has affiliated with other nonprofit teams these as Texas Lyceum and Management San Antonio.
PRNewswire wrote at the time of her appointment to Senior Vice President in September 2020 that Guerrero had earlier “served as a senior member of NRP’s development team targeted on legislative and regulatory advocacy at the point out and nearby municipality degree in Texas.” The NRP Team has created around 18,000 units of multifamily housing worth above $2 billion.
PRNewswire also stated that “Currently, she serves on the govt boards of various nationwide and Texas housing field corporations like the Texas Association of Affordable Housing Suppliers (TAAHP), Texas Affiliation of Builders and the Nationwide Affiliation of Homebuilders Cost-effective Housing (NAHB). On top of that, she was picked to provide as a Trustee of Make-PAC, NAHB’s Political Motion Committee, which disburses about $3 million yearly to pro-housing, professional-business federal congressional candidates.”
Convey-News stated in an article on the paper’s board recommendations in 2013, which involved recommending Guerrero, that Guerrero “mishandled her career by producing a cozy marriage with the Kell Muñoz architectural company, which conducted business with the metropolis and is now component of a team that is controlling most of SAISD’s bond jobs.”
Christina Martinez is an acolyte of Radle, who is quoted by the San Antonio Report describing her as “a powerful individual who listens really perfectly to other individuals, no matter of what their positions may well be, but she’s a human being who would make up her personal mind about matters.” Radle added that Martinez is “influenced by the commitment to do excellent, not automatically by what others want her to do.” One particular can picture that the commitment to “good” and becoming “strong” implies that she will be similarly ruthless in opposition to instructors.
Steve Lecholop accepted over $23,000 in donations from a Washington, D.C.-dependent team referred to as Management for Instructional Fairness (LEE) and its associated PAC through his operate for the SAISD university board. As of 2017, LEE elevated a lot more than $29 million from donors like billionaire Michael Bloomberg, one particular of the most fervent backers of charter university privatization strategies in the US.
The historical past of the SAISD school board members tends to make crystal clear that the attack on Rachell Tucker and other instructors is not merely a regional combat involving the regional school board, but fairly encompasses the total political establishment and the unions who have backed numerous of the very same college board customers. The unions have cynically held San Antonio educators in the dim about their purpose in electing folks who fired their have users.
This is not the initial time that SAISD has qualified teachers for firing. According to a March 2018 assertion by the San Antonio Alliance, “scores of SAISD lecturers, some with decades of knowledge, ended up informed to resign or be terminated. As they waited in Human Sources to be educated about their potential, they have been greeted with flyers for an SAISD Trainer Position Fair, to be held Could 19.” To incorporate insult to harm, the firings took location in the course of teacher appreciation 7 days. These firings bundled 132 academics and took put soon after the charterization of a university in the district.
In accordance to a area ABC affiliate report at the time, “three assistant principals […] were being provided a checklist of qualified instructors months in advance of the evaluations had been finished.” 1 of the assistant principals verified the existence of “Red lists of academics that in essence campus administrators were being advised that they had to get rid of, even if they went into somebody’s area and did an observation of the teacher and saw beneficial issues.”
A further assistant principal, Lisa Marie Gonzales, mentioned, “In the drop of 2017, all administrators ended up supplied a checklist of teachers that the principal, Ms. Cooper, mentioned we ought to ‘get rid of’ through several kinds of documentation,” and that the list was to be withheld from academics.
The response of the unions in 2017-18 was basically to simply call for an outside investigation and for a nearby rally to permit off steam. The unions’ fecklessness and complicity in the attacks from academics was underscored through the COVID-19 pandemic, when no endeavor was made by the Texas AFT to mobilize any of their a lot more than 50,000 users in other districts across the condition to oppose the attacks on lecturers.
The victimization and firing of educators must be grounds for instant strike motion in San Antonio and the organization of solidarity strikes amid educators and other sections of the workforce to defend careers and demand the reinstatement of the victimized employees.
In buy to carry forward these kinds of a wrestle, educators must type their personal rank-and-file committees independent of the unions and each massive enterprise events, to battle for their employment, security and life. We urge all educators in San Antonio and across Texas to join the Texas Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee, which was fashioned last slide to oppose the reckless reopening of educational facilities, and to build area committees in each individual faculty, district and community to have ahead this fight and the broader defense of community instruction.