Stamford High School Teachers Warn of Limited Student Services Amid Proposed Increase in Workload

In Stamford, high school teachers are raising concerns about a proposed increase in their workload, which they believe will limit the support they can provide to students. Teachers have already begun showing what this could look like, with some no longer offering extra academic help or writing letters of recommendation for students. These are just a few examples of the services that could be cut if the plan to add an extra class to their schedule is implemented in the coming school year.

Superintendent Tamu Lucero criticized the actions taken by some teachers, stating that they violate existing labor laws. However, Stamford Education Association (SEA) teachers union president John Corcoran argued that a teacher’s free time is not regulated, describing Lucero’s letter as an attempt to bully teachers into accepting the schedule change. Lucero listed various actions allegedly taken by teachers, such as no longer sponsoring student clubs or activities, as well as refusing to allow students into their classrooms before the start of school.

The dispute between the Board of Education and the SEA is expected to formally begin later this month. The SEA filed a request to negotiate after the district proposed having high school teachers teach six classes per semester instead of the current requirement of five. School officials claim this change aims to make teaching time more consistent across all schools in the district.

High school teachers, who have engaged in protests such as the “red-out” and “walk-in,” have expressed their strong opposition to the proposal. They argue that adding a sixth class would result in increased workloads, larger class sizes, burnout, and teacher attrition. The work done outside of classroom hours, including grading papers, preparing lessons, and providing direct support to students, would be greatly affected.

Lucero, in her letter, ordered teachers to continue offering support and services to students regardless of the pending labor dispute. She emphasized that teachers refusing to provide services due to the dispute is unacceptable and goes against their professional responsibilities. Lucero also claimed that it is illegal for SEA members to seek support from students regarding the schedule change.

Union leadership has instructed teachers not to discuss the dispute with students and to only perform activities required by their contracts during work hours. However, English teacher Ruth-Terry Walden refuted Lucero’s claim that the union contract requires educators to take on extra activities. Walden highlighted the unpaid hours she has dedicated to providing additional support, such as hosting a dance club. She emphasized that such activities would diminish if teachers were required to teach a sixth class.

As the labor dispute continues, teachers find themselves in a state of uncertainty. They are committed to following the contract but are also determined not to be taken advantage of. The resolution of the dispute will determine the future of the workload for Stamford high school teachers.

In conclusion, high school teachers in Stamford are concerned about a proposed increase in their workload and the impact it will have on the services they can provide to students. While the superintendent claims that certain actions taken by teachers violate labor laws, the teachers’ union argues against these allegations. The proposed change to the schedule has led to protests and concerns about teacher burnout and attrition. The resolution of the labor dispute will have significant implications for the teachers and their ability to support their students.