Teachers protest students

At a Tucson charter school, teachers went on strike demanding students work harder and show respect. From the Tucson Citizen:

Students arriving at Cesar Chavez Middle School and Aztlan Academy yesterday were met with striking teachers in the parking lot carrying signs. The messages on the signs: “We’re tired of excuses,” “I Quit Until You Care,” “Quit Wasting Your Time,” “Quit Stealing Our Time” and “Try, Damn It, Try.”

All 16 teachers and administrators at the charter middle and high school took part in the strike, which prompted some of the older students to go into the school building at 3376 S. Sixth Ave. and take charge of the approximately 200 students.

. . . “If I were a teacher I’d be out here, also,” said Beatrice Baltierrez, 18, a student at the schools for five years. She said some of the students wrote letters of apology.

Fabian Fernandez, 14, a self-proclaimed “smart aleck,” said he knows he has been part of the problem. Yesterday afternoon, he said he planned to be part of the solution to make the school work again.

The teachers’ strike ended with a schoolwide meeting to discuss solutions, including, “Be committed to getting your education instead of complaining and making excuses.” Apparently, the teachers really did get the students attention.

Teachers across the country would love to do this. I wonder if it would work at a non-choice school.

About Joanne


  1. “I wonder if it would work at a non-choice school.”

    I’m surprised this had any impact at all… If you tell a group of apathetic students that they won’t get to go to school any more, it seems like you would have given them what they want…

  2. JimInNoVA says:

    I know that at my former high school there would have been a lot of people observing the “10-minute rule.”

  3. PJ/Maryland says:

    Um, so the kids were alone in the school for 5 hours? I think I have a problem with that.

    The story does show the advantages of being able to send problem kids elsewhere. Public schools frequently cite that as the main reason private schools get better results (in many cases, with less money). It always seemed to me that it would be better if the public schools tried to implement something similar rather than complaining about it.

  4. D. Cooper says:

    Private schools in general get better results because the parent’s pay … those who pay are more likely therefore to care about their children’s education and hence apply the necessary pressure at home. Many private as well as parochral schools have entrance requirements as well. However, be that as it may, I wouldn’t be too overly concerned about the 5 hours … many kids are left home alone for that amount of time already.

    I’m a little suprised that the students reacted as they did … in a large urban or suburban public school I don’t think the results would have been similar. Many a teacher has done this ‘strike’ thing on a classroom basis with mixed results. Interesting to say the least.

  5. Two Tone says:

    So, what the hell is an Aztlan Academy?

  6. Uh, an Aztlan Academy would be a school named after what those in favor of the Reconquista would call most of the southwestern portion of the United States once they took over.

    So we have a school named for a communist and a school with a name that endorses overthrowing the U.S. government in a large part of the United States.


  7. When charter school teachers strike and abandon their students it’s an effective strategy, but when public schools teachers strike and abandon their students it’s a “dangerous tactic”?

  8. So Cesar was a communist, big deal. The capitalist Americans in his day didn’t mind the exploitation of Mexican immigrant laborers. He was also supported by Catholics, Jews, agnostics, Democrats, and Anglos. What does that make him then?

    Aztlan is a stupid, racist image of Mexican-American pride. It hearkens back to an era of feathered snakes, big hats, and blood sacrifice. It’s kind of like Shriners, if Shriners wanted to take prisoners and make them give their skin to burn victims.

    And as for the student reaction: maybe they were scared that they might have been sent to a real school.

  9. In thinking about this little stunt, it occurs to me that at the age of 13 I would have been most impressed, but at the ages of 14-18, I would have smirked and made fun of it.

    But I was a cynical kid. I suppose they aren’t all like that.

  10. Walter Wallis says:

    The support stupid seminarians and dumb prolies gave Caesar Chavez was another case of failure to observe consequences. After Chavez was “elected” by liberation theologists he turned into just another labor goon, in a race with the capitalists to see who could skin more of the farm worker hide. If I lived in San Francisco I would go out once a month and paint over all the Caesar Chavez street signs on Army Street. White guilt – sheesh!!!

  11. Insufficiently Sensitive says:

    Indeed. Chavez would have been small potatoes without the support of the liberal press and the urban lefties – who in those days were financed, surprise surprise, by the Soviets.

  12. Wacky Hermit says:

    In defense of the word “Aztlan”, I would remind people that long before the word was co-opted by MEChA, it was the Aztecs’ name for their ancestral homeland, the place from which they were led by providence to the land they occupied at the time of the Conquest. Understood in that context “Aztlan Academy” is not political, but mytho-historical, kind of like “Avalon Academy” or “Olympus Academy”.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Kids will respond if it somehow dawns on them that they really are making your life miserable/hurting you in some way. Most of the time, we’re just a safe person to take it all out on because they know how we’ll react (Mrs. C. will put me in the hall; Mr. C. will write me a referral; etc.). Kids with troubled home lives crave that sense of real limits. It’s nothing personal, and many times they’re shocked when they find out you took it personally. If I had a dollar for every kid who absolutely drove me around the bend in class and then came back later to say thank you and how much they appreciated everything I did for them and how I was their favorite teacher (What??? I wrote you up at least twice a week!), I’d be making as much as the engineers on this board.

  14. Anonymous says:

    i disagree with everything that has been said. just because the teachers belive the students dont want to go school doesnt meant that they really dont. deep down, over a long period of time they want to go back.

  15. T.S. Allen says:

    Am I the only one who is wondering why it took until March for the message “Be committed to your school work instead of complaining and making excuses” to get out? It would seem in a successful school that message would be reinforced every day. Thank goodness some older students were mature enough to take care of the other students while the teachers threw a hissy-fit in the parking lot. I must have missed the chapter on effective leadership through whining in all the books I on leadership that I have ever read.

  16. Wacky Hermit says:

    I just read an interesting article yesterday in the Chronicle of Higher Education (probably an old issue) that urged professors who have disrespectful students to look for small ways they are being disrespectful to their students, because (“as we all know”) students are only rude and disrespectful to professors who are rude and disrespectful to them. Personally, I think it’s because nobody ever told these kids that it was rude to do the things they do, or made it clear that certain behavior was unacceptable. When they saw that they could do these things and no one called them on it, they figured it was OK to do. Hence students who show up to class in their pajamas, students who talk on cell phones in class, students who (as the author of the article described) eat an entire roast chicken with side dishes and a two-liter bottle of pop in class, etc.

    So maybe those teachers would get better behavior out of their students if they had a disciplinary mechanism in place whereby unruly students might be sent to the principal’s office and actually made to stay there long enough (and miserable enough) to realize that what they did in class was rude and unacceptable.

  17. D. Cooper says:

    “So maybe those teachers would get better behavior out of their students if they had a disciplinary mechanism in place whereby unruly students might be sent to the principal’s office and actually made to stay there long enough (and miserable enough) to realize that what they did in class was rude and unacceptable.”

    The dream of my dreams!!! If only…if only…if only. Sounds great …. I think the problem is in implementing the … (and miserable enough) .. part!!!

  18. Richard Aubrey says:

    Wacky, you miss a point.
    The kids going to Olympus Consolidated or Avalaon U aren’t part of a movement to bring back Zeus or Arthur, and put them in charge.
    The promoters of Aztlan want to take back the Southwest and either put it under Mexico or make it independent.
    See the difference?
    BTW, one scholar, looking at the language of the Aztecs makes their homeland in Utah. That’s a lot of square miles to be trying to mess with.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I was one of the teachers that did not protest our students. I think the protest and media coverage underminded the integrity of other protests, it perpetuated the negative stereo-types of our predominantly Mexican and south-side community,the students are your average teenagers that test their limits and are very respectful compared to other charter schools, and last but not least the protest was organized and led quickly and without regard to other teachers who disagreed and students performing excellently within our school. I am upset, and humiliated. I feel that the students deserve a reaffirmation of the staffs and teachers committment to the students and their community. Many students, parents, and community express the same concerns.

  20. Mexica Man says:

    Disrespectful, foul-mouthed, and out of control, and that’s just “Sister?” Judy. If the youth are exhibiting the same behavior, and most don’t, then it’s because she’s cultivating it. She teaches the best cuss words and belittles her teachers in front of their classes. The youth treat the staff the same way “sister?” Judy does. They deserve an “A” for what they’ve LEARNED in “Sister?” Judy’s School of Disrespect. Teachers, parents and students have all been victims of her verbal abuse. LEAD BY EXAMPLE, YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW, DO UNTO OTHERS, POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK, POINT YOUR FINGER AND YOU HAVE THREE POINTING BACK, CAST THE FIRST STONE, GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS, ETC, ETC.

  21. Kids these days behave like animals. Heterogenous grouping is a mockery and a failure. Those students that are either unmotivated or who misbehave should be relegated to the nether regions of the educational process and never be allowed to see the light of day.


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