Thursday, May 20, 2021

Transfer of teachers prompts protest march

State legislators Jewell Jones and Kevin Coleman
join the teachers' protest march.
Teachers from the Wayne Westland Community Schools and members of the Michigan Education Association joined in a protest march May 14 outside  both Edison and Elliot schools. 

Union activists are claiming unfair labor practices by the district administration and the protesters claim that teachers are being “strong armed” at  Edison and Elliot into switching  grade levels with little to no preparation and no union conversations.

 State Reps. Kevin Coleman and Jewell Jones both briefly joined the protest demonstration during the afternoon. Coleman said the turnout among teachers was strong and that horns were honking in support from area residents and added, “They made a statement that the administration needs to work with the teachers and not against them.”  

In a prepared statement, the district responded to the protest, stating, “We are aware that members of the teachers' union have engaged in their right to assemble in front of some of our school buildings. It is our understanding that they are not in agreement with the grade-level teaching assignments for a limited number of elementary teachers for the 2021-22 school year.

“Importantly, none of the affected staff have been terminated, demoted, or otherwise impacted, other than receiving a new grade assignment for the upcoming school year. There is no financial harm to any teacher who has been reassigned to a different grade level. All staff will remain in their same buildings and will be assigned to teach a grade they are certified to teach through the Michigan Department of Education,” the statement continued.

“Staffing and grade assignment decisions are made in the best interest of our students using a wide variety of factors, including teacher certification, student enrollment numbers, and student achievement data. The reassigning of teaching staff is something that happens every year. As always, the district's chief priority is cultivating a learning environment that facilitates and fosters student success and growth. The district remains focused on that mission,” the district statement concluded.