In January, teachers at Summit Public Schools, a group of charter schools in the Bay Area, formed a union, Unite Summit, in order to promote teacher retention, improve student support services, and increase teacher voice in important decisions.
On June 7, the last day of the school year, three Summit teachers and union leaders were fired without cause. We believe this action is unlawful, unethical, and harmful to our students. (To learn more about these teachers, please visit our website www.unitesummitteachers.com/)
In each case, employees were not provided any rationale for their termination beyond “business reasons.” The removal of such outstanding teachers from our school communities not only impacts the quality of education provided to our students, it also shows that Summit is not respecting teachers’ democratic decision to form a union.
Unite Summit has worked to promote the retention of high-quality educators who are invested in our students’ success. Educators have the right to speak out about how to improve their schools without fearing retaliation. The California Educational Employment Relations Act, Section 3543.5.a, states that it is unlawful for an employer to “impose or threaten to impose reprisals on employees, to discriminate or threaten to discriminate against employees, or otherwise to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees because of their exercise of rights guaranteed by this chapter.”
We are therefore calling on SPS leadership to respect Summit teachers’ legal rights to unionize, to own their responsibility to refrain from intimidation, harassment, threats or retaliation, and to immediately reinstate the three fired teachers -- Aaron Calvert, Evelyn DeFelice, and Andrew Stevenson.
We believe it is our collective obligation as a union, as teachers, as peers, as SPS families, and as the larger educational community to protect the Summit Public Schools teaching and learning community. This means demonstrating our shared values by leveraging our collective power to correct this egregious act committed by SPS leadership.
For more context, please visit our website: Unite Summit Teachers