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AEA condemns absence of educator voice in LRSD


AEA condemns the absence of the educator's voice in LRSD. (Photo: Arkansas Education Association)
AEA condemns the absence of the educator's voice in LRSD. (Photo: Arkansas Education Association)
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Arkansas Education Association reacted to the Board of Education's decision to the negotiating authority of the LRSD teacher’s union, and its decision to return LRSD to local control, by condemning the absence of educators' voices in the district.

After the Board also voted unanimously to revoke the negotiating authority of the LRSD teacher’s union, and its decision to return LRSD to local control, the AEA released the following statement:

"You need to know that in the coming weeks and months, you and your colleagues will likely be contacted by organizations from outside our community with misinformation and empty promises about what they can do for you compared to LREA and AEA. You also need to know that these organizations are front groups for the same monied interests that brought us to this point—that pushed the state takeover five years ago, that wrote the segregation plan for LRSD, and that fought to have your unions recognition withdrawn. They do not respect you and they are not concerned with the success of your students. If you receive communication from these groups, please contact LREA and AEA immediately.

Today, the Arkansas Board of Education voted to return local control of Little Rock schools to the community, however the Board also approved a measure that attempts to silence educators be eliminating the recognition of their union. The Little Rock Education Association and the Arkansas Education Association distributed the following message to Little Rock educators.

“We are awed and inspired by the collective action taken by you--our educators, as well as our students, and the Little Rock community. We are assessing how today’s actions by the Board of Education will impact our students, but we are hopeful that this will result in full, and complete local control of #OneLRSD.

“However, despite overwhelming opposition, the board has decided to use every tool at their disposal to degrade the professionalism of the district’s educators.

“First, you need to know that nothing has changed about your membership in the Little Rock Education Association and the Arkansas Education Association. You are still a member of the largest and most powerful organization fighting for Arkansas students and public schools. For 150 years, our union has fought for students, and as long as children are being educated in our state, that will not change. We have never asked for or needed the blessing of the Governor or the state board to care for our students, and we will continue to fight for them now and going forward.

“You need to know that in the coming weeks and months, you and your colleagues will likely be contacted by organizations from outside our community with misinformation and empty promises about what they can do for you compared to LREA and AEA. You also need to know that these organizations are front groups for the same monied interests that brought us to this point—that pushed the state takeover five years ago, that wrote the segregation plan for LRSD, and that fought to have your unions recognition withdrawn. They do not respect you and they are not concerned with the success of your students. If you receive communication from these groups, please contact LREA and AEA immediately.

“We want to tell you in explicit terms that their efforts will fail. We know that no matter what is thrown at you, you will never stop fighting for your students. Neither will your union. We will still have staff to guide and represent you as you grow in the profession. We will still provide the best professional development opportunities for our educators. We’re still here to represent you and ensure your rights as an educator are respected. Fighting for the respect you deserve as an educator, we intend to continue to be a voice at the table, whatever that table may look like. None of this will change.

“Lastly, we want you to know that this is not over. As an educator, you know the value of your professional expertise. As your union, we will not lie down as that expertise is disrespected. We will continue to fight for a voice for educators in how students are educated, be it in contract negotiations or in whatever forum decision makers choose. Even if that isn’t at the bargaining table, and we will continue to fight to be at the bargaining table, we fully intend to be your voice when decisions are made regardless of whether we have the “permission” of those who would harm our schools and our students.

“The Board’s action to eliminate the voice of educators in how students learn is shameful. To be clear, our community came together and demanded #OneLRSD with the voice of educators at the table. The board’s actions today show that the state still is not listening to the community whose students will learn in these schools."


“We will take collective action. In the coming days and weeks, you’ll hear more from us about our next steps as a union. We’ll be having conversations with you and your colleagues, and planning out where this fight for our students goes next. We want to personally ask you to be involved in this planning and also discuss with your colleagues and union leadership what your needs are and where we should go from here. There is no stronger voice for students than the voice of educators, and we will not allow our voice to be silenced."

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