Pasco school district holds firm in face of union complaint over professional learning communities
Pasco County school district leaders are not backing off their wholehearted endorsement of professional learning community, or PLC, meetings despite a complaint to the state by the United School Employees of Pasco.
"The district’s position is that students will reap the rewards of intentional planning and the work of PLCs and intends to fully defend this charge," employee relations director Betsy Kuhn told principals in a recent memo.
In a separate memo, Kuhn also told the principals that they don't have to allow USEP leaders to attend faculty meetings to discuss the complaint. "You are not required to give USEP time to present during your faculty meetings, and we ask that you deny your USEP building representatives’ request to discuss the PLC Unfair Labor Practice charge at your faculty meetings," Kuhn wrote. "While the District does not have the ability to dictate what is or is not said at USEP’s meetings, we have the ability to decide what is said at our faculty meetings, and it is inappropriate for USEP to present to faculty at our meetings."
Meanwhile, some teachers have taken the time to e-mail superintendent Kurt Browning to say they don't agree with the USEP complaint.
"Our team has tried this year to promote the message of how beneficial PLCs can be, to not only our peers, but also to the union. But it seems that the union is only interested in hearing the complaints and the newspaper is only reporting that as well," wrote Erin Greco, a Denham Oaks Elementary teacher. "So I wanted to let you know first hand, that there are teachers in the district who think PLCs are a necessary part of our success as educators."
Pasco Elementary teacher Lindsay Campbell questioned how any educator could oppose the concept.
"Without teachers and education professionals working together in such a way, we are never going to be able to move students in the way that is necessary for Common Core Standards nor Florida’s adaptation of them," she wrote. "It sickens me that a group of educators would work against this way of work. It also sickens me that teachers, as professionals, would not only not be on board but to go as far as to sabotage such work by refusing to get together with other teachers, joining the group but not participating, or doing whatever it takes to derail the work so that it looks like it is failing. Our work is hard enough."
Pam Saenz of Oakstead Elementary School told Browning she found the PLC time "very helpful and beneficial. The union does not speak for me."