A Parent Urges Union-Parent PeaceBy Ari L. Noonan @ 2:00 PM May 03, 2012
Fourth in a series
Re “More Subtle Qualities in a New Super”
John Cruz, co-leader of the outside superintendent search team, was intrigued at last week’s community meeting when a mother of three said she hoped the next leader of the School District could erase the friction and bring parents and unions into a smooth relationship.
Addressing Jeannine Wisnosky Stehlin, the gentleman from the Education Leadership Services headhunting firm said, “What did you mean by that? You piqued my interest. That is an unusual combination.”
“As the daughter of school teachers, and being a daughter and a parent, there seems to be an adversarial relationship,” Ms. Stehlin said. “That is a shame because we are all here for the students. This is a school district, not a union district or a teachers’ district.”
Has there been tension? Mr. Cruz asked.
“I feel that union leaders look at parents as the Other People. I know the role of unions, and I am a union member myself. But I feel they are not quite remembering or understanding that parents should be part of the process.”
Ms. Stehlin has been a parent organizer in an ongoing three-month-old community-wide debate. It centers on the quarter-century, non-union adjunct program at El Marino Language School that the District’s classified union only learned about at the start of the current school year.
“Parents are stakeholders,” interjected George Laase, also a parent. “They work for the School District, and the parents pay for the School District to teach their kids. On some issues, they have gone beyond their control of ‘this is what we want, and what’s best for the teachers is what is best for the kids.”