The Seattle EA Rep Council passed the following resolution on Monday, June 10:
a teacher at the Center School has been served with an administrative
transfer for teaching an anti-racist curriculum that the District deemed
to be inappropriate, on the basis of the complaint of one parent, and
for not 'forbidding' students in his class from organizing in his
Whereas, SPS has unfairly made this a matter of
personnel discipline rather than a question of age appropriateness of
curriculum with the effect of stifling discussion of this very serious
Whereas, any other teacher may now be called to
account for teaching anything controversial, based on a similar
complaint of a single parent, having already sent a chilling effect on
teaching around other controversial topics; and
Whereas, the SEA has already taken a position to defend Jon Greenberg and stand up for Academic Freedom,
be it resolved that the SEA supports Jon Greenberg against arbitrary
actions by the District, and any other teacher when they exercise their
professional judgment as to what and how they teach,
further resolved that the body of the SEA urges the leadership of the
SEA to be more vocal in support of this teacher, and of other teachers,
when they may be targeted for engaging in Academic Freedom to teach as
they judge to be in the best interests of their students,
it further resolved that the SEA demonstrates its support for this
teacher by encouraging all education professionals to attend an awards
ceremony for his class, to be held at City Hall on Thursday, June 13, at
I applaud this public stance by the EA Rep Council.
I also think they are quite right to expect more from their leadership (even during a time of contract negotiation).
I don't think this was handled well at all by the district. This was curriculum and teaching that Mr. Greenberg had used for years, seemingly with support from students/parents and not a peep from the district and yet suddenly, the district decided it was not valid. That is a confusing message to send to educators.
The district's decision also seems to say if you are a powerful parent (probably with a lawyer backing you up), you can get what you want. It is almost Merchant of Venice-like in its pound of flesh extracted from Mr. Greenberg.
I'm sure it's a bit awkward for the district and the Board to realize that as they discipline/punish Mr. Greenberg, the City recognizes his aptitude for teaching and inspiring students. I wonder if there will be a press release from SPS on this particular honor for a Seattle teacher.