Teachers stand up and fight

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DALLAS -- The Dallas Independent School District board is cutting teachers' jobs and closing schools. They also added another 45 minutes of administrative work to every teacher's workday. The Dallas City Council, which has nothing to do with education, has decided to back a private company's plans to open more charter schools in the area.

The Dallas newspaper recently revealed a study showing that almost half the workers in North Texas are only a paycheck or two away from poverty. So it would not be surprising if the public school teachers felt intimidated.

But they aren't. They are crusading for teachers' rights with pickets, press conferences, and a new program to develop more community allies. Teachers with Alliance/AFT (American Federation of Teachers) of Dallas  picketed outside the administration office of the Dallas Independent School district before the board meeting on Feb. 23.

News reporters were all over the union officers and the picketers themselves. A group from Occupy Dallas joined in. People driving by in cars honked their approval.

The teachers recently won a battle to save a teacher's job. Joseph Drake was put on administrative leave in an attempt to intimidate the teachers. The excuse given to the reporters was that Drake had written an email to a school board member criticizing their decisions. "Nonsense!" said the teachers in an emergency press conference that got Drake's job back in just a few hours. Next day, Drake received an apology from the school board member.

Photo: Jim Lane/PW.