Why We Are Organizing Our Union

By Xochil Johansen, Resource Teacher, Stern MASS High School

We are organizing for our students, our schools, and our profession. We believe in Alliance’s mission and have made a college-ready promise to our kids. At the Alliance “exceptional is the rule” and we want to truly live up to that. We can fulfill this promise to our students and our school communities by forming our union.
As dedicated and passionate teachers, our priority is serving our students in the best way possible. With the strength of a union, we would be able to advocate for our kids without hesitation or fear of retaliation. Just some of our goals are to negotiate for smaller class sizes, a student-focused curriculum, and to ensure that resources are being allocated directly to our classrooms. As teachers, we spend each and every day with our students and therefore we know what is in their best interests. A union would give us a genuine and respected voice in the decision making process. Furthermore, it would ensure transparency in the school budget and resource allocation.
As a resource teacher at Stern Mass, I personally have seen the benefits that individualized attention in smaller class sizes can bring to our most struggling and vulnerable students. Further, I’ve witnessed an incredible amount of academic and emotional growth in my students when they are properly supported both in and outside the classroom. I am lucky enough to work at a school that fosters the sharing of best practices and collaboration among experienced teachers. Organizing our union means we will have a collective and more effective voice in advocating for the best practices across the Alliance.

Alliance schools were founded with the intention of providing teachers with the space to be creative and innovative. However, too often focusing on test scores and the Alliance’s public image redirects resources that would be better invested in our students’ learning. I want our schools to be run as spaces for collaboration and enrichment, not as businesses. I hope that Alliance schools will continue to be the best choice, not only for our students, but for teachers as well.  With the power of a collective voice, I believe that we can bring stability to our school communities and make the Alliance the best place to teach.