Bulletin Board
United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) - Information

Dear Alliance Parents and Families,

When Alliance College-Ready Public Schools was founded 11 years ago, we had one purpose in mind: prepare students for success in college and beyond by giving them the absolute best education possible. We are incredibly proud of our students and their success at Alliance schools. 95% of our graduates are accepted to college. We hope you are excited about that future for your child.

One of the ways we have been able to achieve this success is having the ability to hire great teachers, and give them the flexibility they need to serve the individual needs of each and every student. We have prided ourselves on our independence, and the fact that we do things differently from LAUSD and other traditional public schools.

Each of you has actively chosen to send your student to an Alliance school because you felt that this was the right place for your child to succeed academically and be prepared for a great future.

We want to make sure you are aware of a current effort underway that has the potential to significantly impact the independence and flexibility that have historically been the hallmarks of our success.

United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) is the union that represents LAUSD teachers. Almost all aspects of a teacher’s work at LAUSD are governed by a 359-page contract between the LAUSD and the UTLA union. Everything from the hours they work, to how they communicate with their principal, to how they are allowed to interact with students is governed by this contract. For instance, at an LAUSD school, if a teacher is having an issue with their principal, they are not allowed to have a conversation and address the issue directly; they must have that conversation through their union representative.

As you know, Alliance schools are charter schools. Being a charter school is what allows us to operate independently from most of the usual rules of LAUSD and the UTLA union.

UTLA is on record as being openly hostile and opposed to charter schools, including Alliance schools. They have supported laws that would restrict or even eliminate charter schools, including Alliance schools.

Now, UTLA is undertaking an effort to organize our teachers into their union. You may wonder why they would do that, given their opposition to our schools. The honest answer is that we cannot be sure, though we know unions are always looking to increase the number of teachers who are required to pay union membership dues. If UTLA is successful in getting a majority of our teachers to vote to join the union, then all teachers will have to join the UTLA union and follow all their rules, even those who did not want to join.

We do not believe UTLA has the best interest of our students or our teachers at heart. They see the independence and success of our schools as a threat to union power and influence in public education.

In annual Alliance teacher surveys, 90% or more of our teachers routinely say they are very happy with their jobs and feel supported by their school leaders. Teachers have a powerful voice at Alliance. Their input and feedback guides our curriculum, instruction and teacher training. Last year, Alliance teachers received an 8% pay increase, whereas teachers represented by UTLA at LAUSD schools have not had a raise in 8 years.

March 23, 2015

We understand that some teachers have legitimate concerns that may lead them to support the formation of a union. We are absolutely committed to addressing those concerns and, in fact, want to maintain the flexibility we need to address them quickly and creatively instead of being governed by a long, rigid, bureaucratic union contract. We are committed to continuing to make the Alliance the best place to teach in Los Angeles.

We wanted to ensure you are apprised of this situation and have a clear understanding of our point of view. We also want to assure you that our sole focus will always be to provide your child the highest quality education we can.

For more information about this effort and how you can get involved, visit www.ouralliancecommunity.com, talk to your school principal, or email takeaction@laalliance.org.

Sincerely,

Judy Burton Dan Katzir
Founding President & CEO Incoming President & CEO