The Coast News Group
Online teacher on laptop computer. Colorful flat design vector illustration. E-learning, Distance education.

Letter: Please stop bashing teachers, partner with us

We would like to respond to statements blaming teacher associations for decisions made by public health departments and school district administrations. We would like you to know that recent legal action by the San Dieguito Faculty Association (SDFA) against The San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) was taken as a last resort: we have tried for months to voice concerns, supported by infectious disease experts, with the reopening plan that was slated to begin at the peak of COVID infection rates. Though board members have publicly said that remote-working  accommodations will be made for teachers with medical or other concerns, we still have nothing in writing to that effect.

Teachers in San Dieguito Union High School District are dedicated to educating students. We did this before the pandemic, and with summer-long planning and many extra hours of work, we pivoted to do this with distance learning. Of course we all want a return to normal, but claims that most students are “falling through the cracks” are just not supported by data. Currently, data from our district released at the December 15 regular meeting of the board of trustees show:

  • the majority of students are demonstrating healthy social and emotional competencies,
  • our students’ test scores are similar to past years,
  • the same percentage of students are on track to graduate as past years,
  • 99% of students are logging on to their classrooms and attendance rates are 93% or higher every week, and
  • 300 more students are planning to take AP exams than last year which indicates that through the distance learning model, students are well prepared and confident in their ability to do well on these high stakes exams.

Opposing voices assert that teachers’ unions aren’t allowing students to return to campuses. This misinformation is dangerous — especially in the current political climate evidenced by the events of January 6 in our nation’s Capitol. Because of these false statements blaming unions, teachers and school administrators are receiving hate mail as well as harassment and cyberbullying on social media. This is not helpful for productive dialogue or collaboration toward a solution.

We are pleading with our community to please understand that our San Dieguito Faculty Association is comprised of local teachers, counselors, school psychologists, student support specialists, speech and language pathologists, teachers on special assignment and school nurses — your neighbors — and that membership is voluntary.  The decisions SDFA makes are made by us and we have worked in our schools for decades. Characterizations to the contrary are false. We expect school district administrators and the board of trustees to follow the law and public health orders, just as we know all SDUHSD stakeholders would expect. As we, the undersigned represent every community and school served by our district, we hope parents and families will come together and work with and support us as we work to help our students get to the other side of this difficult time for all.

Rob Ross, Encinitas

Victoria Sanchez, Carmel Valley

Lars Trupe, Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Hedieh Naraghi, Solana Beach

Kathryn Stevens, Carlsbad

Tracy McCabe, Oceanside

Amy Carlin, Encinitas

Lori Meyer, Carmel Valley

Hannah Reed, Carlsbad

Marsha Rushing, Encinitas

Ryan Guista, Encinitas

Thea Chadwick, Vista